Albany employees save lives in Iraq - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany employees save lives in Iraq

Armor plating on the side of a Humvee. The plate is also installed under the vehicles. Armor plating on the side of a Humvee. The plate is also installed under the vehicles.
Armor on this vehicle kept Americans alive. Armor on this vehicle kept Americans alive.
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June 28, 2005

Dougherty County-- Almost two years ago Albany's Marine Base Maintenance Center pioneered the armor program to protect vehicles in the War on Terror. Now stock Marine humvees are sent directly to Albany, where the armor is fully installed.

Every day, workers at Albany's Marine Base Maintenance Center produces at least eight completely armored Humvee vehicles, but more are needed.

That's about 3,300 pounds of steel armor plate installed on each Humvee, as well as air conditioners and gun turrets.

Program Manager Chief Warrant Officer Bobby Sisai said, "The steel has gotten better out there. As it progresses, we've added more armor giving more protection. It's just a better product for everyone now."

When the armor program started, armor kits were made and shipped to Afghanistan, where they were installed on Humvees there. But now an assembly line approach, doing the entire job in Albany, is more productive.

Sisai said "We're continually changing things. It's evolving, it's getting better, it's getting faster. " The demand for these vehicles is still high, because they work.

Sisai said "Saved a lot of lives, we get progress reports out there every week of things that have occured." By the end of July, a new 24,000 square foot structure will be erected at the Albany base, just for this vehicle armor assembly line.

Maintenance Ctr. Commander Colonel Peter Underwood said, "That will give us more room and more space to install more kits more quickly."

Currently more than 100 employees are working two shifts a day armoring vehicles. That could increase to 200 employees when the new assembly line building is open, because the Marines' demand more of these armored Humvees to protect troops across the world.

Albany's Marine Base is still producing armor kits, that are sent to the Middle East to be installed on vehicles already there. Since the armor program started, more than 10 million pounds of steel armor has been produced in Albany, with another five million pounds expected to be made by October.

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