There are some things in life which size isn’t experienced until it is seen in person. That is the case with Warfighter Made‘s 1993 AM General, M998 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV or Humvee) nicknamed Beefy.
Warfighter Made is a non-profit organization that provides recreational therapy to ill, injured, and combat wounded service members and veterans. Warfighter Made helps in many different ways, from adapting vehicles, recreational therapy events, and camaraderie therapy.
BEHIND THE MEAT
The idea behind the Humvee build was to create a readily identifiable military vehicle that everyone is familiar with that Warfighter Made could take vets from all branches and eras and introduce them to off-road. This is a form of therapy that Warfighter Made calls “Adrenaline Therapy.”
With more veteran therapy sessions happening nowadays, what sets Warfighter Made’s therapy apart is, they actually let the vets drive. This creates more unique experiences, and it’s something they have been doing for over five years.
Beefy’s name wasn’t given to the Humvee because of its size, it has a deeper meaning.
“Beefy was named after our brother Angus ‘Beefy’ Powers, who passed away in 2020 due to medical malpractice,” Rob Blanton of Warfighter Made explained. “Angus, who was a Marine, became a quadriplegic after an off-duty accident, and we meet him when he bought a Polaris ACE and needed someone to adapt hand controls to it so that he could operate it.”
“Angus then became a part of Warfighter Made as an event coordinator,” Blanton continued. “Beefy was a perfect name for our Humvee, and after winning the Mexican 1000, Beefy also picked up the moniker ‘La Tortuga Verde,’ meaning the green turtle.”
INSIDE THE MEAT
Beefy isn’t a vehicle that was built to sit around and look pretty; it was built to do work and race. The maiden voyage for Beefy was at the 2021 NORRA Mexican 1000.
“We purchased the Humvee through the GovPlanet auction site and was probably the 4th or 5th vehicle we tried to win before winning this one,” Blanton said. “We were planning to race it in the 2020 NORRA, but we all know what happened.”
This Humvee was set to take on another life as a race vehicle after it already had served its country. The vehicle was not going to run the race outfitted with the parts it served with; it would be set up for off-road racing.
The suspension features Rod Hall Fox shocks, valved by Chad Hall. The Warfighter Made team did keep the stock M998 front springs, at all for corners for ride compliance. The stock 16.5-inch, 12 bolt internal bead lock wheels, with the internal run-flats removed, and 37×12.5R16.5 Military Spec, BFGoodrich Baja T/As were used to take on the Baja terrain.
While the factory 6.5-liter General Engine Products (GEP) diesel got the job done during its service time it did get some updates. The “Paradox By Design” cooling update was done to specifically route coolant to the rear cylinders.
The Humvee already had the updated LED taillights and side markers, so the Warfighter Made team added Baja Designs LP6s in the headlight holes which were controlled by the stock switch. Amber LP9s sit on the custom bumper which was built in-house, S1 a-pillar lights, and Baja Designs rear tail light bar was added to be race legal. Also in the rear is two S2s for use as backup lights and each wheel well has a red rock light, all controlled by a four-channel Trigger Controller.
Inside the cab, there is a Baja Designs dome push button light in red at each seat, and each outside “Safari box” has a white push-button Dome light. There are a total of four white light rock lights on a single switch, in case you need to find something at night.
Driver and Co-driver sit in PRP Competition Elite seats, with Marine Pattern (MARPAT) digital camo inserts and the Warfighter Made logo embroidered into the seat. The rear seats are PRP GT/SEs while PRP harnesses, PRP seats, and custom PRP window nets.
Speedhut provided their 24v compatible gauge kit and the Warfighter Made team made two custom enclosures for the driver and passenger side. In the passenger side enclosure, there is the Rugged Radios radio and Intercom unit that integrates with the LeadNav navigation app, but they also have a Lowrance Elite 2 GPS. Two Rugged helmet pumpers supply all four seats and each hose uses a MagLock and the FluidLogic system.
“If there was ever a ‘you didn’t know you needed it until you have it’ product, that was definitely the FluidLogic system,” Blanton explained. “At the push of a button, water is injected into your mouth, effortlessly keeping yourself hydrated and performing at your best”
Due to most all Military vehicles running on 24 volts like Beefy, Erik’s Military Supply set the team up with a heavy-duty 24v to 12v converter, to keep all the 12-volt accessories happy. The two batteries are provided by Odyssey Battery. With all the lights, gauges, and electronics, a ton of connectors, heat shrink, and wire loom were required which were all supplied at WireCare.
“First and foremost we would like to thank our friends at RCP Designs who facilitated the purchase of the vehicle,” Blanton said. “We would also like to thank BFGoodrich, PRP Seats, Baja Designs, Temecula Valley Powder Coat, Fox, Chad Hall, Speed Hut, WireCare, Desert Squadron, Plan B Supply, Lucas Oil, FluidLogic, Erik’s Military Supply, Competitive Metals, Lincoln Electric, Trophy Burro, MagLock, Awthentik Design Group, Rugged Radios, Speed Strap, Squatchboxx Coolers, Trigger Controller, and Odyssey Battery.”
“A big thanks to our shop foreman at Warfighter Made, combat-wounded Marine Danny Novoa,” Blanton continued. “We also want to thank all the vets who’ve put hands on Beefy at some point to help us accomplish this build, with emphasis on Simon, Mitch, Joe, Alex, Nari, Andrew, and Aaron.”
TAKING ON NORRA AND MORE
Warfighter Made went to Baja, Mexico with Beefy and six members. Four combat veterans (two Purple Heart recipients) took turns driving, while two civilians volunteered to be permanent chase support. Beefy started 87th out of 100 vehicles and first out of the three vehicles in the Vintage Military class.
“Each day, we chipped away at the overall standings and continued to increase our lead on the other two military vehicles,” Blanton said. “By the end of the fifth day, Beefy had crossed the line first in class, and 42nd overall.”
“The highlight for me was after finishing the last stage, but still needing to do the ceremonial finish at Horse Power Ranch,” Blanton continued. “We linked up with our team, and the other two vets jumped in the back seats, and we finished the Mexican 1000 as a team for our brother Angus.”
Beefy’s race days aren’t over as it will be racing the Mint 400 this year. Warfighter Made will have a total of four vehicles racing. Those vehicles are Beefy, Flyer 22, which is their vintage Light Strike Vehicle from Flyer Defence, their Chenowth Light Strike Vehicle, and an XP 1000 RZR they built for Tim Hall, a combat-wounded, double leg amputee, Solider.
Any vets who are interested in participating in an event with Warfighter Made can look them up on social media @warfightermade and on the web at www.warfightermade.org.