ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. Aca,!" About 85 percent of the M9 Armored Combat Earthmovers in the U.S. Army have been overhauld by Anniston Army Depot, some of them more than once, according to DJ White, production management specialist for the M9ACE program.

The depot inherited the M9ACE program from Red River Army Depot in 1998 as a result of the Base Realignment and Closure CommissionAca,!a,,cs 1995 recommendations.

Since taking over the program, the installation has overhauled as few as 17 and as many as 116 in a yearAca,!a,,cs time.

Aca,!A"We have rebuilt as many as 116 in a 12-month period, but thatAca,!a,,cs really pushing it,Aca,!A? said DJ, adding that it typically takes 58 work days to completely overhaul one vehicle.

A new M9 program is currently underway to overhaul 40 vehicles for the Army during fiscal year 2010.

The area in the Combat Vehicle Repair Facility used in previous years to reassemble M9ACE vehicles is now set up for the Stryker program, so the rebuild duties were accepted by Phillip White, whose team typically perform disassembly functions for M1 Abrams tanks.

PhillipAca,!a,,cs multipurpose line has 90 employees. Two-thirds of the entire team disassemble M1 Abrams turrets or work on the M1A1 Abrams Integrated Management System Enhancement Package program, which prepares Aca,!A"rusties,Aca,!A? stripped down M1 Abrams hulls, for shipment to Lima Army Tank Plant in Ohio. The remaining employees are tasked to reassemble the M9ACE vehicles.

Aca,!A"Normally they donAca,!a,,ct split a line that way,Aca,!A? said Phillip, adding he is enjoying the challenge of supervising both assembly and disassembly processes.

Phillip has never worked with the M9ACE program, so he is relying on depot employees with experience on the vehicle to assist in the reassembly operation.

Aca,!A"This is the first time IAca,!a,,cve ever had any dealings with the M9ACE program,Aca,!A? said Phillip. Aca,!A"But, most of the employees who are over here now have worked on M9ACEs before.Aca,!A?

Mechanic David Womack has worked with the M9ACE program for almost six years. He was on the Stryker line when he was asked to assist with the M9ACE program.

His experience is proving invaluable, not only in maintaining production, but in training the less experienced workers.

Aca,!A"The suspension on the M9ACE is a challenge to anyone who has never worked on it before,Aca,!A? said Womack, referring to the vehicleAca,!a,,cs unique hydraulic suspension. The hydraulic lifts allow it to be raised, lowered or tilted, tailoring the way the vehicleAca,!a,,cs blade digs into the ground.

Some of the employees on the M9ACE line may not have experience with the vehicle in particular, but still have needed expertise.

James Marbury is a mechanic who was working with the Aca,!A"rusties,Aca,!A? reassembling them in preparation for transportation. He moved to the M9ACE program in May.

MarburyAca,!a,,cs experience goes beyond what he has done at the depot. For the last 12 years, he performed vehicle maintenance work for the U. S. Army, four of those years on active duty and the rest as a reservist.

Aca,!A"Once you reassemble vehicles on one line, it becomes second nature,Aca,!A? he said. Aca,!A"IAca,!a,,cm also getting some great training from my co-workers. Everyone helps everyone else here.Aca,!A?

It takes about two weeks to completely reassemble a M9ACE, and, with five bays devoted to the task, the workers are able to complete an average of seven per month.

Aca,!A"Whether they are experienced or not, everyone on this line has jumped in and gotten the job done,Aca,!A? said Phillip.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16