North Texas Ties To Toy Truck That Saved Soldiers In Afghanistan

There’s a story that has been gaining momentum about a Plano-based remote controlled toy company whose product actually saved 6 soldiers from a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. Many people donate remote control cars to the USO to send to soldiers to play with, but these soldiers put Traxxas’ Stampede remote controlled truck to a different use that saved their lives.

Ernie Fessenden works at Everything Hobby in Rochester, Minnesota. His brother Chris is an Army staff sargent stationed in Afghanistan.  Ernie recently sent Chris a remote controlled truck that was rigged with a wireless camera to help Chris’ job of searching vehicles for explosives safer and easier. When Chris loaned out the toy truck to another group of soldiers going on patrol, it tripped a roadside bomb ahead of their humvee rigged with an estimated 500lbs of explosives. Six soldiers’ lives were spared as a result.

The remote control truck was a Traxxas Stampede XL-5, and they are made by a family-owned business in Plano.  They can travel at speeds of 30 mph out of the box, and the electronics are water-proof.

Traxxas is no stranger to helping soldiers overseas. Owner Mike Jensen has travelled to Iraq to help build tracks for racing remote controlled vehicles during soldiers’ leisure time. In 2004, Traxxas donated 1000 Stampedes to the USO to give to soldiers for fun & play.  Another RC truck, E-Maxx was used during the Gulf War.

Since the story was featured on WFAA and ABC News, people across the nation have been responding. Kevin Guy, owner of the hobby store that sent the life-saving Stampede to Afghanistan, has taken up the mission of getting as many remote controlled toy vehicles into soldiers’ hands.  He started the organization Trucks To Troops which accepts donations that go towards purchasing and shipping these trucks overseas. Check out their website,

Locally, you can find Traxxas‘ trucks at Hobby Town USA in Dallas and Arlington.


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