Soldier pimps Gator with radio suite

FORT POLK, La. — They call it the Boar Battle Wagon.

Pfc. Jonathan Bole, a soldier in 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, has pimped out a John Deere Gator all-terrain vehicle with some of the latest communications gear from the U.S. Army for potential use on an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.“I have built a little mobile-command post for the colonel,” he said in an interview.

The brigade, based here at Fort Polk, La., will be the first in the service to deploy with new radios and networking equipment designed to boost mobile connectivity on the battlefield. Soldiers are receiving accelerated training with the technology, which includes smartphone-compatible radios made by General Dynamics Corp., before a planned deployment this spring.

The radios, antennae and laptops came installed on heavy, blast-proof trucks, known as mine-resistant ambush-protected all-terrain vehicles, or M-ATVs, made by Oshkosh. Bole, acting on orders from his commander, Lt. Col. Alan Boyer, assembled the systems on an ATV to see if he could get them working on a smaller vehicle that could fit into a CH-47 Chinook helicopter.

“Something I asked my staff to do, my communications experts, is to create me a mission-command platform that is of medium weight, that I could put onto a CH-47 and fly to an austere, expeditionary environment, that would provide mission-command over my troops and the operations,” Boyer said. “They took my intent and came up with the Boar Battle Wagon.”

The result is a communications suite that can be powered by a small generator and provide everything from analog radio to satellite communications, as well as the ability to send instant messages, download intelligence feeds and digitally observe troop movements, Boyer said.

The unit is known as the Wild Boars, presumably after the animals that roam stretches of the military post,  located about 130 miles south of Shreveport.

About the Author

Brendan McGarry
Brendan McGarry is the managing editor of Military.com. He can be reached at brendan.mcgarry@military.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.
  • BossMcSauce

    BBW. Haha

  • Chimp

    This shows dangerous levels of thinking.

    Still, after it has been goldplated, armored, has a CROWS, V floor pan, RAM coating and so on it will meet our budget goals.

  • A C

    You can alway keeps adding new items to the Gator, but it will cost a lot more. The Army, AF and Marines needs to have a consolidated package which could be moved to a vehilcle as needed then removed when not needed.

    • blight_

      I sense the contractors pushing for every third gator to have this commo fit. More money, more money, more money!

  • UAVGeek

    Despite what perceptions we do pay junior enlisted to think.

  • Mikey

    This shows that we have a thinking Military. The Mother of Invention, as they say. the soldier should get a cash award and a commendation. Go U.S.A.

  • Che chang

    Wasent there a big stink about people riding around in Gators and getting blow up a few years back and now there doing it all over?

    • blight_

      Pretty sure it was Humvees in Iraq.

      I think majr0d is due to arrive for a discussion on sacrificing mission performance for mission survivability. You can waddle around impervious to light IEDs (and vulnerable to double-stacked AT mines), or light enough to actually chase down the enemy, but accept losses to IEDs.

    • crackedlenses

      Mobility, or protection. Take one to the extreme and you can forget the other. Take your pick.

  • USS ENTERPRISE

    Hmm, I wonder if this guy could do all this modifying in the field. That would be even more impressive. In the end, spontaneous ingenuity trumps everything.

  • PolicyWonk

    There’s something to be said for some old-fashioned Yankee ingenuity.

    Not everything has to be gold plated – it needs to be simple, rugged, and work when it needs to. Kinda like the A-10 the Chair Force hates so much…

  • Warfighter

    Another example of what good can come out of letting the troops show a little initiative, imagination and creativity. It doesn’t always result in youtube videos of port-a-potties getting knocked over with someone in them.

    It looks like he even managed to leave some room to pack personal gear and weapons onto the platform.

  • RVN11B

    I like it!

  • AAK

    We can now expect Polaris to sue on the grounds the selection process wasn’t fair.

  • blight_

    Black and Decker protests the choice of Stanley tools.

    Ten years later…

  • Diego

    if it works without to much interference and the capability’s of use are good I feel he should get his 3 stripe. at least cpl.

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  • Zspoiler

    It remind of the “Mule” from back in the 60`s and 70`s

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  • Windows Phone

    This is not at all a new concept in the 10th Mtn Div. I hope their not claiming ownership of this concept or its fielding. 2-87IN 3BCT 10th Mtn Div materialized this idea in their JRTC rotation prior to their OEF 11-12 deployment to RC-South Afghanistan and utilized it multiple times to “air assault” in the cover of nightfall. It came equipped with a 92F system, 2kw Generator, 3 humvee batteries a charge controller, BFT, And occasionally video feed via OSRVT. The S6 NCOIC created this idea and built it unassisted, give respect where its due. 10th Mtn Div cdr supposedly was so impressed he asked for the detailed build plans/schematics this is obviously just a version of that original build imo.