Have you seen this unique, Vietnam-era vehicle – the Gama Goat – on display at the Armed Forces History Museum in Largo, FL? The Gamma Goat will be used during this year’s Halloween Spooktacular to provide Spooktacular rides military style for those in attendance. For more information on the AFHMs Halloween Spooktacular, click on the Spooktacular link below. To watch a brief video and see the Gama Goat in action, click on the Gama Goat on the Move link.
About the Gama Goat
The Gama Goat is a semi-amphibious vehicle with off-road capabilities. When the need for a better military vehicle surfaced during the Vietnam era, a research project was funded (Project Agile) to develop a better tactical vehicle. While several companies bid for the contract, A-7 Corsair II aircraft developer Ling-Temco-Vought was awarded the contract. Construction for the Gama Goat was handled by Consolidated Diesel Electric Company at their Charlotte, NC facility after their New York facility moved to Waterbury, CT.
In all, over 15,000 Gama Goats were produced. Their price tag – roughly $8,000 each – was considered rather steep for this era, but the vehicle provided exceptional off-road ability. The Gama Goat did not, however, perform well on pavement or in amphibious operations. Its tendency to flounder in the water meant operators had to be specially trained to operate the Gama Goat. These limitations meant the Gama Goat was not a general purpose vehicle the US Army had desired, so they halted production when the original contract expired.
Other disadvantages to the Gama Goat were the intense engine noise (which ultimately lead to warning all operators to wear hearing protection The noise would also signal the enemy to its presence in the area. The complex drive-train was also difficult to maintain. The vehicle was slow and therefore had to be sent out ahead of time in order to arrive at the desired destination at the same time as the other units.
Basic Specs and Options of the Gama Goat
The Gama Goat is roughly 19 ft long and 7 ft wide. It weighs approximately 7,300 lbs and is capable of carrying up to 2,900 lbs. Top speed for this vehicle is 55 mph on a paved surface. The Gama Goat is capable of traversing just about any type of terrain and its large bed can be covered or left open. Some of these vehicles were modified to carry stretchers to transport the wounded.
The limited number produced of this Vietnam era Gama Goat, makes it highly prized among today’s collectors.