BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (Army News Service, May 29, 2007) - The 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade (Task Force Pegasus) recently responded to a request for mechanical support during the ongoing installation of nearly 1,800 Frag-5 Armor Field kits, which replace key elements on all up-armored vehicles in Afghanistan.
Four Soldiers, two from 122nd Aviation Support Battalion (TF Atlas) and two from 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion (TF Talon) have been providing assistance to the Army Material Command for the past two months.
Sergeant 1st Class Michael M. Villaroman, noncommissioned officer in charge of the TF Atlas motor pool said, "Getting each unit's vehicles through [the installation] phase will take some time with consideration for the countless ground missions being carried out daily."
The M-1114 up-armored armament carrier, high mobility multi-purpose wheeled vehicles and the M-1151 enhanced armament carrier Humvees are both going through this change-over.
The Frag-5 Armor kits are designed to provide additional protection for the troops while they are out on convoys, said Sgt. 1st Class Villaroman. The extra armor is capable of withstanding fragmentation from the detonation of improvised explosive devices and the impact of small-arms fire.
"Since our initial training, by the civilian contractors our first week at the AMC, we've been able to complete the installation of 30 Frag-5 kits in the past two months," said Pfc. Tyrel MacQuarrie, an all-wheel mechanic for TF Atlas.
Before any of the armor is installed, each team prepares each component of the kit to ensure correct assembly and make any necessary adjustments, said Sgt. Kang Hoon Lee, Frag-5 testing NCO for TF Atlas.
"Learning the electrical systems and installing the updated gunner's mount has been a helpful experience for me," said Spc. Natasha Marshall, an air conditioning technician for TF Talon. "There are skills I've learned during this transition that can be applied to other mechanical projects in the future."
The most challenging part about the kit is the installation of the doors, said Pfc. Joshua Bullard, mechanic for TF Talon. "With each door weighing several hundred pounds, we use a hoist to steady the doors when they are set into place. The equipment we use helps a great deal with the process."
With the continuing installation process of the Frag-5 kits here each day, the team of mechanics has been given the opportunity to travel to other forward operation bases to assist units with the upgrade of their military vehicles.
"We're a good team. Each member provides their suggestions and knowledge on ways to pick up the process and timeliness to get these vehicles back out on missions," said Sgt. Lee. "Knowing we're involved in the improved security of our ground troops is rewarding, I'm proud of what we're doing."