Gama Goat

We’re a touch under the weather today, so content is kinda thin.

The 1-1/4 ton M561 Gama Goat was a very high mobility tactical vehicle issued to maneuver units to replace the Korean War era M37 truck. In addition to being used to haul general cargo, it served as an 81mm mortar carrier, an ambulance, and to carry S-250 communications shelters.  Powered by a two-stroke diesel engine, it was astonishingly loud. It was also incredibly uncomfortable to ride in, at least in the back  cargo portion. My first unit in Hawaii had Goats when I arrived, and I spent more time than I care to remember being shuttled around in one. Its replacement, the Humvee, might have slightly less off road mobility, but it was far, far more comfortable, and oh so much quieter to ride in.


Edit- I forgot, the spelling is Gama, not Gamma

9 thoughts on “Gama Goat”

  1. The 11th ACR had these when I got there in 73; I never got to drive one because the ones assigned to the support platoon were always deadlined. Way too complicated and yeah, it was a loud SOB.

  2. When I was in the CALARNG, my section (FDC/ 1/143d FA) had a goat. I hated driving it from the Richmond Armory to the training area at Camp Roberts and was not happy with it until the time when, due to a lot of rain, down-range was so muddy that everything was getting stuck. Tracked or wheeled, it didn’t matter. Service Battery spent days unsticking vehicles, only to have the same vehicle get stuck again, 30 feet from where they just unstuck it.
    Except the Gamma Goat. I loved it. Put it in six-wheel drive and drove past everyone standing around, up to their ankles in mud, trying to get their rides unstuck.


  3. It also carried the 4.2 mortar. In theory they could swim, just put the drain plugs in. When I got to the 25th they still had large white stars on the sides and gloss olive drab. Loved going from six wheel drive to two wheel on the fly on the Big Island at speed. The ride up front was not much better with the engine behind your head. Road in front on the fender outside the cab.

  4. The HHT of 2/278 ACR had a couple of them. One for the Medical section. Hearing the thing on the road going to the range at Arnold AFS made me glad I was in a jeep.

  5. Aahhh The Gama Pig. set the way back machine to 1976, Ft Carson the home of HHC 1/70 Armor. My first unit assignment as a newly minted 11E10R8. Damm if i wernt sent to the Medical Plt and assigned to the evac section. Learn to drive tanks, end up driving an ambulance

  6. To echo Eric of OC…ah the Gamma Scrot (as in scrotum). Heard many tales of its prowess in terms of navigating nasty, rough, and in hospitable terrain because of its 6 wheel drive system. Was it the M-656/M-565 something like that? The thing was also airdrop capable….rigged one at Rigger School in….well the year isn’t important. Drove one a few times and my hearing hasn’t been the same since.

  7. …and that is what I get for looking at the picture and not reading text….M-561, got it.

  8. We had the goats at Ft. Ord hauling around the four-deuce mortars. Most were dead lined at the most inopportune times. I think the adoption of the vehicle was the army’s contribution to bailing the Chrysler Corp. out of bankruptcy. Would have rather had tracks.

  9. When we would load our armored vehicles on trains to go to Graf or Honhenfels and road march our wheels, we ALWAYS loaded the Goats on the train.

    Absolute POS…along with the GOER.

    The best use for them was as targets in an impact area.

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