By Loni Witscheber, Triad Contributor
Refurbishing used and worn equipment for Soldiers nationwide is
an ongoing project at the Installation Materiel Maintenance Activity (IMMA).
The M109 Van Project is one such venture that has been ongoing
since VT Griffin was awarded the Directorate of Support Services
contract in 2003.
Doug Robertson, an IMMA employee,
refurbishes the floor of an old M109 van. (Photo
by Loni Witscheber)
IMMA was contracted by the U.S. Army Reserve (USAR) to
refurbish the vans. Units
contact USAR with their needs and the information is relayed to IMMA.
The project consists of tearing down and refurbishing M109 vans
and remounting them on refurbished trucks.
Start to finish, each van requires about seven weeks to
complete. A total of 60
vans have been refurbished since the contract was awarded. The
government saves about $56,000 per van by refurbishing rather than
Roger Kirkeng, IMMA's Allied Trades lead, said the vans are
used for a variety of things such as electrical shops, chop shops,
machine shops, offices, storage for shop-stock, etc.
"The vans are mobile, so they can go anywhere a convoy can
go," said Kirkeng. "They also work for mobilizing units,
especially for on-site repairs in the field."
Dan Plank, an IMMA employee, said it takes a couple of days to
prep a van.
The project involves a complete tear-down of an old M109 van by
at least four employees. The
interior walls, insulation, and oak floor are removed and then are
water-blasted to remove rust and paint.
The focus then shifts to the bodywork where minor repairs are
made before new oak flooring is laid down.
The IMMA M109 Van Project
refurbishes used and worn vans for various military units
nationwide. (Photo by
"It takes two men and at least eight hours just to
water-blast," said Plank.
After the van is stripped, the rebuilding process begins.
A rust-inhibitor treatment is applied to the metal floor before
the oak floor is inlaid; insulation is added and covered with a sheet
metal wall; the inside is rewired with power cable, and a truck-bed
liner is installed on the roof as a sealant to prevent leaks.
After everything is assembled, the van is painted with
camouflage colors, then mounted and bolted to an M35A3 truck.
The interior includes lights, blackout lamps, a fan, a 115-volt
AC and 24-volt DC, and a setup for air-conditioning and heat.
The units are responsible for adding any extra amenities, such
"The van can
hold a lot of shop-stock in a small space," said Ryan Overhouse,
an IMMA employee.
The finished vans then are shipped to various units nationwide
with priority given to mobilizing units.
(Witscheber is a Public Affairs specialist
for VT Griffin, contractor for Base Augmentation Support Services.)