Louis Powell knows the meaning of "Built Ford Tough." He and
his Falcon Security Company have witnessed firsthand just how tough the
Ford F-Series pickup is in the heat of battle.
Powell and his crew have spent the past year and a half in Baghdad and
Mosel, Iraq, piloting a fleet of Ford F-350 pickups, escorting military
and civilian convoys along some of the most dangerous stretches of Iraqi
roads. Powell’s warhorses have come under attack many times. For
example, his F-350 has been hit nine times by roadside bombs, escaping
with nothing more than a blown-out windshield and some minor body damage.
"I can say from experience that these trucks have saved my life
and the lives of my friends and comrades several times over," says
Powell. "One way or another, they have managed to bring us home."
Powell has many stories that speak to the F-Series’ dependability
under fire, but one harrowing tale stands out from the rest.
While returning to camp in Baghdad last March, a convoy of six trucks
came under heavy machine-gun fire as they went under an overpass. All
but one of the six trucks sustained heavy damage with bullet holes puncturing
the radiators and blowing out all the tires. One vehicle even took several
hits to the engine block and was losing oil and transmission fluid. Powell’s
truck was littered with bullet holes, blowing out the windshield and ripping
through the body, with one stray shot hitting the wiring harness. Amazingly,
the trucks kept running.
"We had to get out of the kill zone and couldn’t change tires,
so we hauled butt back to the camp on flat tires and blown-out engines,"
says Powell. "We drove five miles, under heavy fire the whole way
back. The Army couldn’t believe it. They cheered as we hit the gates."
Powell lost one truck that day, having to destroy it when it couldn’t
be righted. And sadly, one of Powell’s crew was killed and 12 others
wounded in the ambush.
"If it wasn’t for those trucks, we would have lost a lot more,"
says Powell. "They helped get my wounded back to the camp and saved
their lives. My Ford truck kept running until it reached the Camp Field
Hospital, and then shut off. Just like an old horse fighting to save its
master, it just wouldn’t quit."
Powell holds his Ford F-350s in high esteem and sends a message to the
men and women who build his warhorses: "They have all helped save
lives and have made us all proud to drive their trucks. If they walk around
with their heads held high and their chests puffed out, they damn-well
deserve it in our books."