Kuwait team adds armor, keeps road builders safe
December 6, 2011
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait - There is something to be said for those who build roads while dodging mortar fire because it takes a certain amount of courage to do that, even in an armor-plated cab.
The Army opened an add-on armor facility at Camp Arifjan in 2005 and the work has been steady. The facility, managed by the Army Field Support Battalion-Southwest Asia, installs armor kits onto line haul trucks, construction and heavy equipment transport vehicles. They also perform maintenance, repairs and safety enhancements to bulldozers, road graders, excavators and more than a dozen other heavy-engineering vehicles.
Chris Shetzler is the team lead for the add-on armor (AOA), program at Camp Arifjan which is a tight-knit group with highly developed skill sets.
"The knowledge that each of our guys has is irreplaceable and a huge asset to our men and women in the military," said Shetzler.
"Our guys have all seen every type of vehicle, armor kits and the different generations of armor, and that makes us capable to quickly armor up vehicles that have not been done in mass for several years."
Last year the team installed armor and safety enhancement kits on nearly 900 vehicles.
"It makes sense to armor vehicles here in Kuwait since most, if not all, equipment comes through here, either going to Iraq or Afghanistan. Kuwait is logistically like the one-stop shop for all vehicle enhancements before they are issued to the units coming over," Shetzler said.
Since 2005, the team in Kuwait has turned out more than 20,000 vehicles to keep those who work construction projects protected, so they can continue to build even when attacked.