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95LX in the Heat of Battle!

95LX in the Heat of Battle!

The Marine Amphibious Assault Vehicle slowly made its way down the featureless terrain of the Kuwait desert. Lieutenant Jansen is the infantry commander in charge. Everywhere he looks there is white, flat sand -- with shimmering waves of heat scintillate up from the parched horizon. It is 120F in the shade.

The seven Marines riding in the back of the track are in a foul mood -- they have traveled thirty kilometers that morning without a rest. The lieutenant's parched throat reminds him that he hasn't had a drink in a long time -- at least twenty minutes. He reaches over the hatch for his fifth water bottle of the day.

Suddenly from the left front, he hears the unmistakable sound of an AT-5 anti-armor missile screaming towards them. The missile impacts just short of the track and showers its occupants with a spray of sand and rocks. "Damn it, hard left!," the lieutenant screams over the intercom. "Enemy BMP's direct front! 3,000 meters! Find us some cover, Smitty -- quick!," he yells at the driver. Lance Corporal Smith turns his track directly towards the enemy fighting vehicles and guns his motor hard. He has spotted a small depression in the flat terrain about 200 meters ahead he thinks he can make it to. After a long ten seconds, the tractor shudders to a sudden, jarring stop. The lieutenant pulls his Palmtop computer from his left flak jacket pocket. Tracers begin to scream across the desert as his gunner opens up with the .50 caliber machine gun.

The lieutenant's well-trained Marines all jump out the back of the tractor and take their positions. Private First Class Miller has broken out his "lensatic" compass to determine the direction of the enemy. He yells back to the lieutenant, "Sir, I see five BMP's -- Magnetic Azimuth is 145 degrees!" Meanwhile, Corporal Johnson reads the Trimble Global Positioning System (GPS) display and screams out their own exact position: "Current position is 457953 -- I say again, 45795- 3!." Almost simultaneously, Lance Corporal Young cries out "Firing Laser!" as his AN/GVS-5 rangefinder shoots its invisible beam of light downrange at the enemy vehicles. Three seconds later he yells, "Sir, range is 1,950 meters to lead BMP!." "Damn it," the lieutenant mutters to himself, "I was off on that range estimation!" Quickly he enters the azimuth, current position and range into a spreadsheet on his Palmtop computer. His 95LX spits out the coordinates of the enemy as another AT-5 round whistles directly overhead and explodes onto the ground less than 100 meters behind them.

"Sergeant Staples, get me some immediate suppression on those BMPs -- grid coordinate 468937!," the lieutenant shouts to his Artillery Forward Observer as he reads the result from his HP's LCD screen. Forty-five seconds later, he hears the 155mm rounds whizzing overhead towards the enemy. "God bless American technology!," the lieutenant thinks aloud, watching through his binoculars as the first salvo impacts with a direct hit on the lead BMP. "Repeat that mission with a fire for effect, Sergeant. Good shooting, Marine!," he cries triumphantly. "This stuff is easy," the lieutenant smirks to himself, "Who needs maps, anyway?" Just another routine day in the life of an HP Palmtop.

iPhone Life magazine


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