As a ‘Fauji’ when I look back, I find my association with the Army’s one ton truck of old days quite like giving the feel of Second World War. It has been nostalgic. Now days, one does not see them. They vanished more than a decade back or so. Their make and shape, as appeared to me, always gave a feel as if I was visiting the war zone of Second World War. Tarpaulin cover over its body gave a feel of ruggedness, connected to tough conditions that a soldier would undergo in an operational area.
As a young officer, at the most I could think of getting this vehicle was while I was on official duties. Rather, my association with this vehicle like any other ‘Fauji’ of my vintage has been historical. I vividly remember, this is the vehicle, which had picked me from the transit camp at Tenga Valley, when I had reported on my first duty after commissioning from Indian Military Academy (IMA).
Even the interiors stood out in simplicity. It possibly could not have been simpler in contours. Use of tarpaulin in abundance, be it in seats in driver cabin or behind, added to its simplicity to make it further simple. Use of Army blankets over those seats added to warmth and cushion and conveniently could be defined as a luxury to the user.
Being a petrol user vehicle and fitted with carburettor, made a ride on this vehicle quite interesting. It could spring surprises by being venerable to frequent breakdown. This was more pronounced, in case one was riding a vehicle of slightly old vintage.
This vehicle stood out on the parameter of excessive fuel consumption. It hardly could run more than three or four kilometers per litre of petrol. So, a ride on this rugged looking vehicle with ever vintage look, came at a very heavy cost. Since then, we have come a long way, with technology having made strides and advanced at a much faster pace.
In forward areas, with restricted width of roads and motor abled tracks, this vehicle extended its wholehearted support to meet logistic needs of last man in the line of defence. There is an old saying, keep your friends close, your enemies closer and your supplies closest. The last one is the most important where this vehicle defines itself. No leader has won without logistics. When one goes to the war, one needs to have rations and bullets at the right place and at the right time. In other words, one can win only through superior logistics. This vehicle has played a role in that smart logistics.
The line between disorder and order lies in logistics. Every struggle, this vehicle made, defined logistics at the last line of defence. I wish to pay my gratitude to this vehicle for its struggle to make life of each soldier better. There is not a more pleasing exercise of the mind than gratitude. Let me pay it in abundance, as it alone will bring happiness. There is an old saying, the struggle ends when gratitude begins.