August 21, 2009
JOINT BASE BALAD - A steady flow of vehicles arrive daily at the 402nd Army Field Support Battalion to receive upgrades to the M1151 Humvee through ITT, a civilian contractor.
The upgrades help ensure the vehicles are safe for everyday use. The vehicles are brought in from all units assigned to Joint Base Balad and Baghdad via a transportation movement request.
David J. Peters, Frag Kit 7 maintenance manager, said the process starts with an initial inspection of the vehicle, then the team performs any minor repairs at the shop.
The maintenance teams also install a new FK 7 upgrade on the M1151 called the vehicle escape enhancement window system, which allows Soldiers to push out the front windows and egress the vehicle in case of a rollover.
Daniel Andrade, senior leader of the FK 7 team at JBB said the VEE windows are an upgrade not many soldiers know about and he is happy they can make these vehicles safer for all Soldiers in Iraq.
Peters said the additional upgrades to the M1151 include an enhanced suspension system, a new fire suppression system, additional armor and an overhead cover on the turret.
Andrade said ITT employees work six days a week on 24-hour shifts to get the vehicles through the FK 7 process. They require an average of 65 hours of manpower per vehicle.
After the process is complete, members of the maintenance team move the vehicles to the central receiving/shipping point for staging until their respective units pick them up with a transportation movement request.
Peters said they upgraded most of the vehicles from the 3d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), which came primarily from the 25th Infantry division based out of Hawaii, and hope to service vehicles from the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) as its subordinate units begin to arrive in theater.
"Knowing that we have a part in protecting the Soldiers is the most enjoyable thing for me here because we believe in what we do and we are happy to do it," said Andrade.