Iraq combat changes affect MCLB production line - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Iraq combat changes affect MCLB production line

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November 30, 2005

Dougherty County -- Changes in the war effort in Iraq are being seen on the production line at the Albany Marine Base Maintenance Center.

Fewer fighting Humvees are needed for the troops. Now they are armoring up more heavy trucks and bulldozers.

The cab of a Marine seven ton truck is removed. Workers at the Albany Marine Base will install armor in that cab and throughout the truck, making it ready for duty in Iraq. "The mission over there has somewhat changed. These are getting the big use," said Project Leader Blase Goodman.

For the last three years Albany's base has been one of the leaders in armoring Humvees to protect Marines in Iraq from improvised explosive devices.

Now the Marines are scaling back the Humvees, but need 950 of these trucks armored up. Goodman said "With the armor on it, it's going to protect the Marines as they travel in and around the area over there."

The trucks and armor kits are made by Oshkosh Truck Company in Wisconsin, shipped to Albany, where the base workers install the armor and improved suspension. The Marines also have put in orders for 32 armored bulldozers. Ten will be shipped to Iraq soon, to help in rebuilding.

Deputy Commander Trent Blalock said, "The vehicle is a very good vehicle. It gets good review from the Marines. And with this armor on it will definitely save Marines lives."

Eighty-seven workers at the Maintenance Center will be laid off in January. They are all temporary workers whose job will not be needed now, as the Albany's bases production changes to meet the demands of the commanders in Iraq.

In the last three years, the Albany Base's Maintenance Center has installed more than 20 million pounds of steel, and 30,000 armor kits on Marine Vehicles.

The seven ton truck production is expected to continue through spring 2008.

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