M151 ‘MUTT’: In the Field

More than a Jeep: Historic photos show the M151 'Mutt' in action
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The M151 was the standard Army utility vehicle when this photo was taken at Fort Bragg in September 1969. This vehicle is equipped with a VRC-46 radio system.

The M151 was the standard Army utility vehicle when this photo was taken at Fort Bragg in September 1969. This vehicle is equipped with a VRC-46 radio system.

After a decade of testing and research, in 1960 the U.S. Army began fielding the 1/4-ton utility truck with independent suspension that it thought it wanted – the Ford M151 Military Utility Tactical Truck (MUTT). By 1964, the vehicle had been redesigned with a heavy duty rear suspension, and re-designated the M151A1. This vehicle would see wide use in Vietnam – and everywhere else in the world U.S. troops were found.

In 1969, a new generation of the vehicle rolled off the assembly line. The M151A2 featured a semi-trailing arm rear suspension rather than the independent A-frame suspension. Production of the M151-series vehicles for the U.S. military ended in 1982 after having been produced by Ford, Kaiser-Jeep and lastly AM General.

A pair of M151s equipped with armored windshields and doors prepare to escort a convoy departing An Khe 10 June 1970. The MUTT, a being designed as a light tactical vehicle, was not well-suited for this type use, a lesson that was forgotten in the 35-years after this photo was taken.

A pair of M151s equipped with armored windshields and doors prepare to escort a convoy departing An Khe 10 June 1970. The MUTT, a being designed as a light tactical vehicle, was not well-suited for this type use, a lesson that was forgotten in the 35-years after this photo was taken.

A 1969 M151 in the foreground, along with a second MUTT in the background, flank loads of rice in the Fish Hook area of Cambodia. The MUTTs, along with the M88 in the left background, were assigned to First Battalion, 27th Infantry in May 1970.

A 1969 M151 in the foreground, along with a second MUTT in the background, flank loads of rice in the Fish Hook area of Cambodia. The MUTTs, along with the M88 in the left background, were assigned to First Battalion, 27th Infantry in May 1970.

A First Infantry Division patrol, utilizing a M151A1, patrols a dusty road in Vietnam during 1969. The rear-down stance of the vehicle is indicative of its light load-carrying capacity and independent suspension.

A First Infantry Division patrol, utilizing a M151A1, patrols a dusty road in Vietnam during 1969. The rear-down stance of the vehicle is indicative of its light load-carrying capacity and independent suspension.

This mired M151 belonging to the 101st Airborne Division, was photographed 12 October 1969 being extricated by a Mechanical Mule. Notice that several GIs are on the Mule – and the MUTT – in an effort to improve traction.

This mired M151 belonging to the 101st Airborne Division, was photographed 12 October 1969 being extricated by a Mechanical Mule. Notice that several GIs are on the Mule – and the MUTT – in an effort to improve traction.

A collector’s dream – a mass of over 40 new M151s photographed in February 1970 at a supply depot at Cam Rahn Bay, Vietnam. This depot was operated under contract by the Vinnell Corporation – one of the many contractors operating U.S. facilities during the war.

A collector’s dream – a mass of over 40 new M151s photographed in February 1970 at a supply depot at Cam Rahn Bay, Vietnam. This depot was operated under contract by the Vinnell Corporation – one of the many contractors operating U.S. facilities during the war.

The MUTT was also produced in an ambulance version – in this case the M718 – which could transport up to four patients, in addition to the driver. This Royal Thai Army Volunteer Force team was photographed in 1969 during training in preparation of deployment to Vietnam.

The MUTT was also produced in an ambulance version – in this case the M718 – which could transport up to four patients, in addition to the driver. This Royal Thai Army Volunteer Force team was photographed in 1969 during training in preparation of deployment to Vietnam.

The MUTT was also adapted to mount the M40A1 106mm Recoilless Rifle. This version, belonging to the Third Battalion, 14th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division, was first known as the M151A1C, shown here, and when based on the M151A2 chassis, the vehicle was designated the M825.

The MUTT was also adapted to mount the M40A1 106mm Recoilless Rifle. This version, belonging to the Third Battalion, 14th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division, was first known as the M151A1C, shown here, and when based on the M151A2 chassis, the vehicle was designated the M825.

A trio of MUTTs lead a convoy along Route 1 in Vietnam in July of 1967. The vehicles were assigned to First Squadron, Ninth Cavalry, First Cavalry Division (Airmobile). The GI riding on the front bumper of the lead vehicle is carrying a mine detector – an indication of an ever-present danger.

A trio of MUTTs lead a convoy along Route 1 in Vietnam in July of 1967. The vehicles were assigned to First Squadron, Ninth Cavalry, First Cavalry Division (Airmobile). The GI riding on the front bumper of the lead vehicle is carrying a mine detector – an indication of an ever-present danger.

The MUTT served wherever the U.S. Army served, not just in the mud and jungles of Vietnam. This 272nd Signal Company vehicle leads a convoy near Fort Richardson Alaska in February 1969 as part of Exercise Acid Test I, Punch Card V. This vehicle is equipped with the arctic hard top cab enclosure.

The MUTT served wherever the U.S. Army served, not just in the mud and jungles of Vietnam. This 272nd Signal Company vehicle leads a convoy near Fort Richardson Alaska in February 1969 as part of Exercise Acid Test I, Punch Card V. This vehicle is equipped with the arctic hard top cab enclosure.

The crew of a 106mm-armed M151A1C drills at Fort Ord in 1970. Notice the stowage arrangement for the 106mm rounds at the rear of the vehicle, and the radio set mounted on the right rear fender.

The crew of a 106mm-armed M151A1C drills at Fort Ord in 1970. Notice the stowage arrangement for the 106mm rounds at the rear of the vehicle, and the radio set mounted on the right rear fender.

he crew of a 106mm-armed M151A1C drills at Fort Ord in 1970. Notice the stowage arrangement for the 106mm rounds at the rear of the vehicle, and the radio set mounted on the right rear fender.

The crew of a 106mm-armed M151A1C drills at Fort Ord in 1970. Notice the stowage arrangement for the 106mm rounds at the rear of the vehicle, and the radio set mounted on the right rear fender.

A straight, plain-Jane M151 of the 101st Airborne Division is used by GIs training with the Little John missile system in this 1962 photo. The Little John could carry a small nuclear warhead 10 miles. It was never used operationally. The MUTT, on the other hand, had an unrefueled range of about 300 miles, and a top speed of 55mph.

A straight, plain-Jane M151 of the 101st Airborne Division is used by GIs training with the Little John missile system in this 1962 photo. The Little John could carry a small nuclear warhead 10 miles. It was never used operationally. The MUTT, on the other hand, had an un-refueled range of about 300 miles, and a top speed of 55mph.

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