MCLB armor program growth means more jobs - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

MCLB armor program growth means more jobs

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October 18, 2004

Dougherty County -- As the troops in Iraq demand more armor on their vehicles, the Albany Marine Corps Logistics Base is ready to answer the call.

Engineers at the Albany Maintenance Center helped design the latest armor kit, which will go into production the first of November. That means more jobs for the local economy, as well as life saving protection for the troops.

 Master Gunnery Sergeant John Carr said "The doors are double plated steel, so you have the normal door and the sublimate plate there."

This humvee is fitted with the new standard in Marine Armor. Last November, the Albany base received the urgent call to protect the troops. Colonel Pete Underwood said "We were successful on essentially getting some kind of armor protection on every vehicle in Iraq."

The new armor kits will be installed on every Marine vehicle, including tractor trailers like this. Master Gunnery Sgt. John Carr said "We've added the under body protection. There is a plate that goes across the bottom there. And up underneath the wheel wells to protect the driver and passengers from any explosions from underneath. So that's one of the big advantages."

Colonel Underwood said "It provides much more comprehensive protection for the Marines."

Master Gunnery Sergeant John Carr said "We've added the glass. You know the old doors came down, nothing in it. So we've added the glass." The front glass opens up now. So you can get some air or return fire."

Now that the armor kit is approved, the Maintenance Center will produce 2600 in the next eight months. A new building where the armor will be made is almost finished.

 250 more workers will be hired to handle the increased work load caused by the war. Colonel Underwood said "Over the next two years we are going to see a lot of the equipment of all types coming here to Maintenance Center Albany from Iraq. The equipment that has been used is going to need to be refurbished. So we are going to see close to doubling the amount of work we normally do here during the year."

The maintenance center has already increased their work force from 750 to 900 people in the last year, so the armor program is a big boost to South Georgia's economy, while doing life saving work.

Colonel Underwood said "I have personal friends that have been over there that said they would not be here if it was not for these armor kits."

The expanded work load and growth at the Albany Marine Corps Logistics Base has South Georgia leaders more confident the base will not fall in the next round of BRAC closings.

posted at 4:39 PM by jimw@walb.com