SEALY, TX (KTRK) — After seeing expensive military trucks at a Sealy scrap yard, Eyewitness News and US Senator Ted Cruz are asking the same question: What will become of the $300 million worth of military trucks sitting outside a plant in Sealy and how many of them are destined for the scrap yard?
We started asking questions after Tommy Quinton, an Eyewitness News viewer, saw nearly a dozen of the $300,000 trucks sitting at Torres Metal Recycling in Sealy.
They were haphazardly hidden behind a tractor trailer and hard to see from the road, but plainly visible from our SkyEye HD helicopter. As we approached, it appeared a worker was climbing atop one of the MRAPs to cut it to pieces. They stopped work while we were overhead.
Later the Pentagon confirmed the 12 trucks we saw are battle damaged and not worth repairing. A spokesman said they will be scrapped for pennies on the dollar.
“Cut up?” Tommy Quinton told us, “It makes no sense. No sense at all.”
The trucks are what the military calls Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles. The trucks unique V-shaped bottom saved countless lives; the V-shape directed energy from an IED away from the troops inside.
The MRAPs were part of a $45 billion Pentagon program to rush thousands of these trucks into production as insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan attacked our forces with roadside bombs.
It is a monster, monster truck — 18 tons of armor-plated protection America was willing to pay a hefty price for just a few years ago.
Now, the wars are winding down.
The Secretary of Defense’s office tells us, the US military is getting rid of 13,000 of the 24,000 mine resistant trucks made since 2007.
The ones we saw at the scrap yard are part of the ones the Pentagon is disposing of.
The plan is to offer the others to allies or domestic law-enforcement agencies free of charge, but thousands will still likely be scrapped. The Pentagon says it is just way the way programs like this are brought to an end. It is cheaper to dispose of them than maintain thousands of unneeded trucks.
But now what happens to the more than 1,000 MRAPs still sitting at the Sealy plant?
Scott Gossett who lives next door noticed the knee-high grass growing between the tires.
“It’s been 2,3, 4 months since I’ve seen one go out of there,” Gossett said.
BAE, the company that made the trucks says they don’t know nothing about them, that those trucks belong to the Army now. In other words, US taxpayers have paid for them.
It is more than $300 million worth of trucks without a certain future.
“It’s a shame,” Gossett told us. “A lot of people put a lot of work into those.”
The military doesn’t know or won’t say what the plan is for those trucks. But if they can’t give them away, they will be scrapped.
A vehicle that cost $300,000 to $500,000 when it was new will be sold by the pound to recyclers for roughly $3,500, one percent of its original value.
We’re not the only ones asking the Army what will becomes of the Texas made trucks now parked at that soon to be shuttered Sealy plant. When we found out about it, we asked Senator Ted Cruz, who sits on the Armed Services Committee, now he wants to know too.