MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga -- Every day American and coalition soldiers face deadly attacks by guerrilla forces in Iraq.
These tactics make deadly use of improvised explosive devices, remote-controlled mines, rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire.
As Marines prepare for a possible return to theater, Marine Corps planners at all levels are working solutions to better protect our forces from these types of attacks.
One key answer is "hardening" or armoring vulnerable wheeled vehicles such as trucks and humvees.
Marine Corps Maintenance Centers in Albany, Ga., and Barstow, Calif., are taking the lead by designing and building armored kits to protect much of the Corps' rolling stock.
These kits, built here and shipped to the field for installation, are designed to protect the Marines in the vehicles from explosive blasts and fragments and small arms fire.
"If and when Marines redeploy we want them to have the best protection possible," said Col. B.G. Lee, Marine Corps Logistics Command's Plans, Policies, and Operations director. "The Program Managers at Marine Corps Systems Command have certified the safety of the additional vehicle armor and validated it will not degrade the vehicle's performance."
Hardening vehicles is a prime example of the important new role set by the Commandant of the Marine Corps for Logistics Command, according to R. Ken Trammell, LogCom deputy commander.
"This is operational relevance at its finest," Trammell emphasized.
"If anyone was ever confused by that term, this type of effort should certainly clear that up. Marine Corps Logistics Command personnel are committed to being a more involved part of in-theater operations," Trammell went on to explain.
According to Col. Peter Underwood, commander at Maintenance Center Albany, maintenance center personnel are working around the clock, seven days a week, to have the armored kits ready when Marines need them.
"Our people have a reputation for getting the job done when time is critical," Underwood said.
"We plan to have completed kits ready for the Marines as scheduled," Underwood pointed out.
Underwood added that the response from maintenance center volunteers was "overwhelming" when the call for support came down.
"Their eagerness," he said, "is a testament of the dedication and loyalty they have for our Marines in the field. Everyone of us realize the lives of a lot of young Marines depend on the work we do."
Personnel from LogCom's Maintenance Centers; Contracts Department; Supply Chain Management Center; Plans, Policies, and Operations Department; along with members from Systems Command and private industry, team to work the project.
All armored kits will be fully tested prior to shipment.
Many details of what is being done to bolster the vehicle's defenses will still remain classified, according to the PP&O director.
"As we are hardening our rolling stock, we want the details of the armor's capability from getting to the enemy so they can't come up with a way to defeat it," Lee said.
"The special blend of steel armor will simply provide a greater degree of safety for our Marines in the field," Lee concluded.