A Stryker armored vehicle leads a group of vehicles heading south on I-25 near Pikes Peak International Raceway Wednesday, May 27, 2015. About 650 vehicles, inlcuding 300 Stryker armored vehicles and more than 4,000 soldiers headed from Fort Carson to the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site. Fort Carson's 1st Brigade Combat Team are headed to the site east of Trinidad in what is by some accounts the largest road convoy in Colorado Since World War II. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette

Hundreds of Fort Carson soldiers and dozens of military vehicles may slow traffic on Interstate 25 between Colorado Springs and Trinidad on Thursday and Friday as soldiers head south for training.

About 600 soldiers with the post's 2nd Battalion of the 12th Infantry Regiment, part of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, are deploying to Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site – roughly 30 miles northeast of Trinidad – for training that runs through March 21. The bulk of the troops are departing on Friday.

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“The exercise is necessary to train and certify soldiers as combat-capable crews, so units are prepared for any potential mission they may be called upon to support around the globe,” the post announced Wednesday.

The unit is equipped with armored 18-ton, eight-wheeled Stryker vehicles, which can roll at speeds topping 60 mph.

In the past, when Fort Carson Strykers have headed to the 235,000-acre training area, they have rolled in convoys designed to miss rush-hour traffic.

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The elements of the battalion will leave the post at different times, avoiding long freeway snarls.

Unlike tank units, which have to use trains to head out for training off Fort Carson, the lighter Stryker units are set up to roll to mock battles on their own wheels.

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The vehicles are lighter than tanks, but offer troops a higher degree of armored protection than Humvees. With eight-wheel drive, the Stryker has been described as the ultimate SUV, with a crew cabin that seats up to nine infantry soldiers who dismount to fight. They have a range of 300 miles.

The soldiers in 2nd Brigade had been a ground-pounding light infantry force until a Pentagon decision in 2018 converted the unit to Stryker vehicles.

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It's one of two Stryker units in Fort Carson's 4th Infantry Division, which also has a brigade equipped with 72-ton M-1A2 tanks and tracked Bradley Fighting Vehicles.

"The Army’s top priority is placing people first, and offering tough, realistic training like this helps us get after that priority by mastering the fundamentals, increasing our lethality and survivability, and building cohesive teams that maintain a climate of trust," the post said in a statement.

Fort Carson asked that any noise complaints be directed to its public affairs office at 719-526-9849.

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