Green Berets skipped fear and loathing in Las Vegas to earn a first place military class trophy in one of the oldest and most prestigious off-road races in America. A special breed of Green Berets from the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), entered this year’s Las Vegas Mint 400 race in March with two variant editions of the Ground Mobility Vehicle 1.1. The annual race offers a unique opportunity for Green Berets to test their test long-range mobility across the treacherous foothills outside of Sin City.
“It really provides the best venue in a short amount of time to really stress the vehicle. Outside of a real deployment, you’re not going to be able to simulate the level of intensity, time crunch, and the whole team working together with support personnel in anything but the Mint 400. I think it’s shocking to a lot of the fans when you tell them, ‘this came straight from training and it’s going back to training. From my perspective it almost felt like we fell off a cliff,” said the Special Forces Major who raced the lead vehicle.
Most fans attend the Mint 400 to see trophy trucks, but just about everyone stopped to see the Green Berets with their GMV 1.1 on display at the Mint 400 festival on Fremont Street. Even more shocking for bystanders was when the Green Berets hit the first jump of the race like the Dukes of Hazzard. The active duty military vehicles also blew past racers in Volkswagen Bugs in their first lap while reaching over 50 mph through rugged terrain. The military vehicles finished together after nine hours through about 200 miles of brutal desert.
The M1288 GMV 1.1 is a U.S. Special Operations Command light utility vehicle based on the General Dynamics Flyer 72. The GMV 1.1 replaces the Humvee-based Ground Mobility Vehicle (USSOCOM). The Flyer Advanced Light Strike Vehicle platform has been developed by General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems (GD-OTS), in partnership with Flyer Defense LLC. It can be internally transported by V-22 Osprey, CH-53E Super Stallion, CH-47D Chinook, C-130 Hercules, Boeing C-17 Globemaster III and C-5 Galaxy, and be externally transported by UH-60L Black Hawk.