By SGT David J. NunnNovember 7, 2009
MRAP Story / October 11, 2009.
SGT DAVID J NUNN
203RD Public Affairs Detachment
The United States Armed Forces have fielded approximately 11,000 Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected Vehicles through their facility in Kuwait, just 22 months after the vehicle was first introduced into Iraq in 2007.
This facility has been transforming since the announcement of the responsible draw-down in Iraq and the build-up of Afghanistan. Originally established to receive materials used in the construction and equipping of MRAPs to become mission capable and sent into Iraq, now the facility has grown to receive these vehicles from Iraq and prepare them for the new challenges U.S. Forces are facing in Afghanistan.
"That announcement demanded us to transform this facility to offer additional resources for the U.S. Military, becoming a receiving and onward movement facility to support the surge of troops into Afghanistan," said Ben Goodrich, Deputy Manager for the Joint Program Office of MRAP in Kuwait, a native of Nashville, Tenn., and a 21 year veteran of the U.S. Army. "Our facility now repairs, does refurbishment, and makes the MRAPs coming out of Iraq mission capable for future uses."
In addition to the demand for MRAPs in Afghanistan, the facility has been tasked to prepare approximately 700 of these armored fighting vehicles for transportation back to multiple training sites in the United States. This mission is aimed to offer additional hands-on training to servicemembers prior to their deployments in support of the War on Terror, according to Goodrich.
"Many of the troops assigned to units that use MRAPs have their first interaction with these vehicles after they have arrived in their mission areas of operation," said Goodrich. "Getting these vehicles ready for transportation back to the Army's training sites back in the U.S. allows Soldiers and Marines to be better prepared for their missions when they arrive."
The facility is supported by a unique blend of a Department of Defense civilian workforce and contractors from multiple U.S. companies that offer individual expertise and experiences to the JPO to MRAP success.
"Our primary focus is providing good services to our troops, we are all proud to be helping the military and saving lives," said Vernon Eavie, a Mechanic Technician assigned to working on the MRAP engines and suspension systems at the facility and a native of Charlotte, N.C. "We are supporting the draw-down by continuing to maintain a high quality of products, superior performance, and getting these vehicles down range as quickly as possible."
Since this introduction the MRAP family of armored fighting vehicles has been acknowledged by the U.S. Military for its success in protecting thousands of troops from blasts caused primarily by roadside bombs.
"As a combat veteran I have an appreciation for what this facility has done over these last 22 months," said Goodrich. "We are supporting the war-fighter and saving American lives."