Reported as Seabee Monster Garage Turns Marine Force Protection Idea into Reality:
The Seabees of 30th Naval Construction Regiment (NCR) provided the 2nd Marine Tank Battalion with an armor upgrade May 1 to help keep the gunners safe during their operations in the Al Anbar Province of Iraq.You did pretty well, Captain.
On a tank crew, the loader feeds ammunition into the machine gun and is often exposed to small arms fire from opposing forces. To stay safe, the loader has to close to the tankís access hatch. But if he does that, he can no longer do his job.
"ì[The new armor] lets us leave the hatch open," said Marine Staff Sgt. Ceasare Williams, of the 2nd Marine Tank Battalion. "This allows the loader to stay in the fight."
"It will also help [protect us against] IED (Improvised Explosive Device) shrapnel," added Marine Sgt. Brad Nevitt, also of the 2nd Marine Tank Battalion, as he referred to IED often placed in the road by insurgent forces.
The Seabees' heavy machine shop, more commonly referred to as the "Monster Garage," took the battalion's idea of a protective shield, fine-tuned it and built four prototypes for installation.
It was important that no modifications be made to the tanks themselves, as military regulations generally discourage permanent changes to expensive equipment. Instead, the new shield, composed primarily of ballistic-grade glass and steel, is designed to fasten through existing bolt holes in the tank.
"I am amazed at the ingenuity and work ethic of your Sailors," wrote Marine Capt. Timothy Doran, commanding officer of 2nd Marine Tank Battalion, in a letter to 30 NCR. "I honestly can not find an expression of our gratitude that can equal the effort put forth by those folks."
And so did the Seabees.