Lives saved by Albany armor - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Lives saved by Albany armor

By Jim Wallace - bio | email

June 24, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -  The commander of the Multi National Corps in Iraq gives credit to better armored vehicles for helping reduce death and violence in Iraq.

Lt. General Lloyd Austin says the number of attacks in Iraq has been reduced by more than 80 percent since last summer, and credited vehicle armor as one reason. 

The workers at Albany's  Marine Corps Logistics Base helped lead that armor program from the start, and say they are glad their work is saving lives. 

Maintenance Center mechanics at the Albany Marine Base repair vehicles that have been in Iraq, re-fitting them with the newest armor before they are shipped back to the War on Terrorism. 

The Commander of the Multi National Corps in Iraq says one reason is better armored vehicles-- like those designed and built in Albany.

 "It makes me feel good to know we can play a part in that on a daily basis," said Maintenance Center Engineering Supervisor Chris Tipper. 

In January 2004 the Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan sent a call for help, to protect them from road side bombs and ambushes. Maintenance Center workers like Tipper quickly designed steel armor plates to replace canvas doors on Humvees.  Since then they have continued to upgrade and improve the armor and protection, to the latest models that surround troops.

"Oh, this is significantly better," Tipper said.  "It provides protection against blasts as well as small arms fire."

The Maintenance Center workers say they know their armor is working. They get examples like Humvee doors, returned after being hit by a road side bomb, to study. And they get first hand reports from the Marines in those vehicles.

"It feels good when you get to talk to the Marines that have come back, actually been in a blast or ambush situation, and come back and tell you the stories that the armor we built here helped save their lives," Tipper said.

Quite a reward, for the men and women working everyday to build safer vehicles for the troops.  The Maintenance Center armor program still works six days a week, turning out about 200 vehicles a month. 

The Center has grown from 700 workers to more than 1,700 currently.    

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