A U.S. soldier takes cover behind his Humvee
A U.S. soldier takes cover behind his Humvee - 

LISA NAPOLI: Today marks four years since President Bush declared war on Iraq. The U.S. Marine Corps is spending more than $200 million to improve combat vehicles. From Wisconsin Public Radio, Patty Murray has details.


PATTY MURRAY: In military speak, the vehicle is called an "M-RAP," which stands for Mine Resistant, Ambush Protected.

Wisconsin's Oshkosh Truck is one of five companies with contracts to get the vehicles to Iraq. It hopes to have the first of its fleet on the way within three months.

It comes too late for veteran Stephen Castner. His son was a Wisconsin Army National Guard corporal. He was killed in Iraq last year after his armored Humvee was hit by a roadside bomb.

Castner says the MRAPs are much more combat-worthy than Humvees. He says that's because their v-shaped bottoms help deflect blasts.

STEPHEN CASTNER: All-around, these vehicles are much heavier in weight. They're built much more solidly. They offer a substantially greater probability of survival for the soldiers inside. And that's what it's all about.

Castner hopes the Army will also make the switch to MRAPs from Humvees.

In Green Bay, Wisconsin, I'm Patty Murray for Marketplace.