MCLB project will help protect U. S. troops in Iraq - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

MCLB project will help protect U. S. troops in Iraq

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September 12, 2006

Dougherty County -- A new project is underway at the Marine Corps Logistics Base.   Workers at the base have gotten orders to produce additional armor for 85 Light Armored Vehicles, and the base says it's their most challenging project to date.      

The Marine Light Armored Vehicle is equipped with the new A-Two armor upgrade. It has heavier armor inside and out, an improved suspension to carry the extra weight, and an automatic fire suppression system to better protect the troops.

Colonel Kevin McCutcheon said, "This will be a tremendous asset in theatre in terms of protection for the war fighter. A more capable asset to of course put that shield of protection that each war fighter so desperately needs."

The vehicle has new armor hung on special holders around the LAV, and then another layer inside. "You can't put armor in certain areas, so there is an inside liner that goes into the crew compartment," McCutcheon said.

So far, seven LAV's have been equipped with the armor upgrade. We went for a test ride, but to get a better feel for the real thing we put on the Marine's suit and flak vest, making it a real challenge to squeeze into the gunner's turret.  

It's a tight fit inside this light armored vehicle, but you can tell once you get inside just how much protection it does offer. The LAV will run about 55 miles per hour, as the test ride goes around the Base's perimeter road.

This vehicle will hold nine Marines, and with the new armor it will keep them safer. Project lead Heidi Roe said, "We pretty much put all around the vehicle, especially near the suspension system where it poses a threat from IED's."

Base workers on this project are working six days a week, twelve hours a day, to rush these vehicles to the war zone. "We are doing a lot of hours like you said, but it's well worth it, because we support our troops out in the field," Heavy equipment mechanic Scott Fowler said.

"A lot of them have sons, relatives, and grandchildren over there, and that just makes them put that extra effort into it, knowing that their relatives are going to be safe, and doing all that they can do," Roe said.

"The main focus for us is the troops. We want to make sure they have what they need when they need it," Welder Larry Benson said.

A dozen expert welders have been brought to Albany from other bases to speed up work on this project, and close to 100 new workers will be hired. Turning out high tech armor kits which Marines say will save lives.  

Albany's Marine Base is the only facility building these upgraded armored vehicles now.

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