I saw a fascinating covert DHS convoy Sunday in South Carolina on I-95.
On Sunday, April 27th at 3:30 pm I was driving by myself southbound on I-95 in the middle of South Carolina. The speed limit was 70 so I was going 80. I passed a convoy of DHS vehicles traveling in tight formation in the slow lane moving at about 75. None of the vehicles was marked in any way with any government or law enforcement decals or insignia. However, they all had black and white U.S. government tags on their rear bumpers.
What was really interesting was the fact that the two lead vehicles had radar or satellite equipment on top of them. I was unable to take any photos, but I took some notes so that I could describe them accurately. I looked for some images on the internet and found the exact types of vehicles, minus the radar/satellite/commo gear on top. I’ll post the photos at the end. Keep in mind these are NOT photos of the trucks I saw, but they are exactly the same types that I did see, minus the tech gear on top.
I’ll start at the back of the convoy, the way that I encountered them in passing. All of the trucks were painted with the same shade of blue-gray. All of the vehicles appeared to be very new, with perfect paint jobs, all were very clean, as if they had just come out of a car wash. That clean. At the rear were three new-looking Suburbans, each hauling a Horton trailer like the one I will post at the end. The trailers were also the identical blue-gray color as the other vehicles. Each trailer had a full ramp for the rear access, that is, the rear wall of the trailers were folded-up ramps, so that I suppose ATVs or other vehicles could be driven in and out when the trailers were parked and the ramps were lowered. Each trailer also had a very large white air-conditioning unit on top. The AC units are not shown on the Horton trailer image I’ll post at the end.
Each trailer was being pulled by a shiny new-looking Suburban. All of the vehicles in the convoy had dark tinted windows, but in passing I did see one driver, he appeared to be around 30-40 years old, and FWIW he had a short trimmed beard. (Grooming standards can be a unit “tell.”) Each Suburban, (in fact, all of the vehicles), had a heavy-duty cable winch on the front bumper.
Next in line in front of the Suburbans, there was a big utility vehicles with a basic square body behind the cab, nothing on top other than radio antennas. This utility vehicle was a Ford F-450 with a body like a tool carrier. Next, there was a heavy-duty GMC utility vehicle about the size of the F-450 or a bit larger. On top of the flat body of the truck there was a radar or satellite dish that was folded down to the rear so that it was horizontal. The dish was approximately five feet in diameter, with all of the hinged gear required to erect it to vertical, all of it folded down beneath the dish transformer-style.
The lead vehicle in the convoy was another heavy-duty GMC truck, but this one had a white radar or satellite communication dome on top of the body of the truck. This white dome stood approximately four feet tall above the flat roof of the back of the truck, and it was about three feet in diameter. That is, it was in the shape of a cylinder, but round on top. I will post pictures of similar vehicles at the end of this report. They are, as far as I can remember, identical to the vehicles I saw, including their dark blue-gray paint jobs.
The convoy drivers had terrific route discipline, that is, they kept a very tight spacing while traveling pretty fast in the right lane. If you have ever tried to keep six vehicles together in heavy highway traffic at 75 mph, (including three with trailers), you will understand that this was a highly professional outfit. Cars entering the highway got between the DHS trucks, but the trucks quickly passed them and reestablished their convoy order with no more than 100 feet between them. These guys were pros, let there be no doubt about that. This was first-tier all the way. Top notch. Extremely impressive.
I am just a little curious about why they were totally unmarked, except for the license plates. Not even a DHS sticker the size of a playing card. Nothing. I did copy down the license plate # of the lead vehicle, the one with the four foot tall radar/satellite dome on top. On top, the plate read U.S. Government. On the left side of the plate, aligned vertically, it read 6G71. These small numbers were aligned vertically, not horizontally, with the 6 on top. On the right side of the plate was the number G177L, aligned normally, that is, horizontally. All of the vehicle plates had the interesting vertically aligned numbers on the left side. (One of the trailers had no license plate at all, but I suppose they were not too worried about being pulled over by the SC state troopers!)
Just after I finished passing the convoy, they exited at Interstate 26, but I was unable to see if they headed north or south. They are probably located today (4-28-2015) between Colombia and Charleston, if you happen to spot them. Also, incidentally, there was an unusually heavy presence of law enforcement vehicles all along I-95 in central South Carolina. At one point I passed about a dozen LE vehicles (cruisers and SUVs) parked in the median strip, like they were ready to move out conduct a raid or some other operation. I have no way of knowing if the extremely heavy LE presence was connected to the DHS convoy or not. Anyway, I thought it was interesting enough to take notes and write this report.
I’m guessing that they were part of a VIP protection detail at the POTUS level, or they are some type of technical response team, such as a NEST (Nuclear Emergency Search Team).