Albany Marines save lives in Middle East - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany Marines save lives in Middle East

Close up of the armor plating on the side of a Humvee. The plate is also installed under the vehicles. Close up of the armor plating on the side of a Humvee. The plate is also installed under the vehicles.
Chief Warrant Officer II, Eric Gilmer, explains the plating on an ambulance. Chief Warrant Officer II, Eric Gilmer, explains the plating on an ambulance.
Gunnery Sgt. Johnnie Jones Gunnery Sgt. Johnnie Jones
The Marines inside this blasted Humvee walked away, thanks to MCLB armor and Georgia ingenuity. The Marines inside this blasted Humvee walked away, thanks to MCLB armor and Georgia ingenuity.

June 16, 2004

Dougherty County-- Six Albany Marines returned from Afghanistan last week. They spent five weeks installing armor kits made at the Albany Marine Corps Logistics Base on Marine vehicles.

The Marines came back knowing the base's "Operation: Armor All" is helping protect troops.

This Marine Humvee (below) was hit by a roadside explosive device in Iraq April 21st. The truck was nearly blown apart, but the passenger cab is still intact, because it was protected by armor under plating made at Albany's Marine Base. The Marines inside walked away.

Gunnery Sergeant David Johnson said "That's the most important thing. We can replace a Hummer, but a leg is hard to get back."

Six Albany Marines are back after volunteering to spend five weeks in Afghanistan installing armor kits. Chief Warrant Officer II, Eric Gilmer said "They are experiencing land mines, I.E.D.'s, R.P.G.'s, same thing they are experiencing in Iraq."

Most of the Albany Marines worked in Bagram in Northern Afghanistan. Gilmer also went to Kandahar to instruct other Marines how to install the armor kits.

Gunnery Sgt. Johnnie Jones said "The Marines were very encouraged once the armor was under their vehicles. When they went out on the convoys, they were reassured that their vehicle was going to be able to protect them."

The Georgia contingent put in gruelling 16-hour days installing 200 of the armor kits. Johnson said "Every drop of sweat that we put on there is worth it. I feel it's an honor, a privilege, to get over there and do this for the Marines."

But the Albany Marines were glad to make their contribution to the war. They were well received by the Afghani people, and said the Marines' morale was O.K. "They miss their families and stuff," said Staff Sgt. Michael Wells . "We just reassured them that everybody over here is behind them one hundred percent."

New ideas to use the armor plating are being developed daily, like for ambulances. Gilmer said "The Commander in Iraq wanted to have the litter portion of the ambulance armored up. It's basically now a capsule in there, so he is very well protected if there is a patient inside the ambulance."

The Albany Marine Base armor kits work, as the Marine who was driving this vehicle is still alive to testify.

Chief Warrant Officer Gilmer is scheduled to return to Kuwait later this summer to install even more of the Albany armor kits.

posted at 4:10PM by dave.miller@walb.com