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Marine Armor Installation Site fully operational

Marine Corps News

Story Identification #: 200541813573
Story by Staff Sgt. Michael Reed

AL TAQADDUM, Iraq (April 18, 2005) -- Brigadier General William D. Catto, commanding general, Marine Corps Systems Command and Col. Jeff Krongaard, officer in charge, Marine Armor Installation Site (MAIS), here, cut a ribbon April 17, signifying the site’s full operational capabilities for the installation of Marine Armor Kits (MAK) on the HMMWVA2.

The MAIS site is a culmination of a 13 month effort to bring the HMMWV armor program to its most mature capability – consisting of perimeter, overhead, and mine protection; with a suspension and air conditioning package to enhance performance.

“The MAIS is a forward deployed installation site that is responsible to armor the HMMWVA2s with the MAK;” said Capt. Andrew Rodgers, Project Officer, Marine Corps Systems Command (MarCorSysCom).

The evolution of the MAK began thirteen months ago with the Marine Resource Oversight Council (MROC) generated requirement to create an integrated armor system for the HMMWVA2. An immediate partnering with Tank-armament, Automotive Command (TACOM) and Maintenance Center Albany (MCA), Marine Corps Logistics Base (MCLB), Albany, Ga., with SysCom created a knowledge bridge in which the Marine Corps took lessons learned from the Army, and OIF to create a working prototype within six months of the levied requirement. In addition to the Research and Development effort for the MAK, LogCom and SysCom were actively fielding level II armor for use in OIF II. Immediate feedback from the level II fielding was applied to the MAK design to produce an optimal configuration for functionality, operation, and most importantly – survivability. In the summer of 2004, after rapid testing at Aberdeen Test Center, Aberdeen, Md., for destructive testing, and durability testing (driving) at the Nevada Automotive Test Center, Carson City, Nev., the Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) was ready for installation. In December 2004, the 26th MEU installed 150 MAKs on their HMMWVA2s and provided valuable feedback for minor design changes before beginning full production.

With MCA in full production with 500 kits a month and the MAIS staffed for installation, the ribbon cutting ceremony marks the beginning of a 200 kit per month capability. In the following weeks the MTVR Armor System (MAS) kits along with the personnel will begin arriving here to begin installation, and is expected to be at a full installation rate this summer.

“While looking for IEDs – knowing we have the protection (MAK) just in case, gives me piece of mind,” said Sgt. John Whitney, quick reaction force team member, Marine Wing Support Squadron 371, 3rd Marine Aircraft Group (FWD).

The Mayo, Fla., native and his team took receipt of the very first MAK installed HMMWVA2 produced at the MAIS.

To date, 138 MAKs have been installed at the MAIS. For Marines like Lance Cpl. Jeremy Bulger, a Houston, Texas native, and member of Whitney’s team, he admits feeling more comfortable having the MAK.

“As a driver I feel tremendously safer,” said Bulger.

For Marines like Whitney and Bulger, who scour the desert looking for Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), and providing security for the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams while they dismantle the IEDs, the MAK provides them the same level of security, they provide.

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