January 17, 2010
Story by Spc. Jason Adolphson
CAMP LSA, Kuwait – Round-the-clock efforts of employees at the Interceptor Body Armor Warehouse here ensure more than 1,000 soldiers coming in and out of country each day can return refreshed and better armored.
Soldiers and civilians working at the Army's one-of-a-kind warehouse, house IBAs for soldiers visiting home. While the troops are away, the team removes and replaces soldiers' small arms protective insert plates from their outer tactical vests and sends the used plates off for inspection.
IBA warehouse supervisor Christopher Truitt said about 35 percent of the plates have some sort of flaw, including ripping of the outer cloth.
A soldier working at the warehouse emphasized the importance of proper care for tactical gear. "You need to treat your gear with the same care as your weapon," Sgt. 1st Class Louis Jimenez, 593rd Special Troops Battalion, said. "[OTVs and SAPIs] have saved a lot of lives and factor in a high ratio for survival on the battle field."
A primary way to detect the condition of a plate is with an X-ray.
Inspection processors scan the SAPIs to determine serviceability and quality. The plates are then sent back to the IBA warehouse, categorized by size and usability. Troops and contractors account for the equipment and ship it back to the U.S. for processing.
Jimenez said there are a lot of rewarding factors about his job.
"Every Soldier has a 100 percent scanned, serviceable plate," Jimenez said. "[Our job is] insuring every mother, father, husband, wife, son and daughter walk onto the battle field feeling better about their gear to continue on with the mission."
An instruction guide comes with each new set of new plates to inform soldiers how to care for the equipment.
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