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Army Strykers return to combat zones

By Army Forward Support Brigade, South West Asia News Release

CAMP AS SAYLIYAH, Iraq (Army News Service, July 29, 2005) – The Army’s Stryker combat vehicles are back in fight now that the first Stryker repair facility is operating in Qatar.

The Stryker forward repair activity, run by General Dynamics Land Systems under direction of the Army Materiel Command’s Army Field Support Battalion-Qatar, presented the first two refurbished Strykers to Army inspectors recently.

“Based on the vehicles coming across the assembly line they are all pretty much designated to go to future battalions . . . the vehicles have to be produced from somewhere,” said Mike Manzara, General Dynamics acting site supervisor. “So these battle-damaged vehicles provide an essential service by maintaining the vehicle requirements in theater.”

Manzara said repairing the Stryker is a challenge because each vehicle has unique battle damage. Engineers must first assess structural damage to determine if the vehicle is repairable at all, or to be used for parts. Specific parts must be ordered from North America. During transit time, damaged parts are removed and the vehicle is prepped to receive whatever is necessary for full mission capability. Strykers cost more than $1 million each.

“The positive aspect about this program is that you’ve got 25 vehicles that were basically written off and the Reports of Survey have been done. It’s almost like they don’t exist,” said Lt. Col. Jon Buonerba, commander of the AFSB-Qatar. “If we can repair these and get them back in the fight, we’ll save the Army lots of money and help sustain the operational readiness of the Stryker force.”

Qatar was chosen for the site because of its close proximity to air and sea ports, a large industrial base near Camp As Sayliyah and state-of-the-art equipment in place at the field support battalion.

Buonerba said he’s made the trip north to Mosul and Balad, and seen the damaged vehicles there.

“At night I often reflect on what I did that day and how I contributed to the war effort. I know that we have the facilities and a great work force to make Strykers new again,” Buonerba said. “It’s a good feeling to be able to say that we fixed it, got it to standard and shipped it north - as long as it saves one Soldiers life, it’s worth it.”

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