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Old Windshields Offer New Protection

Staff Sgts. Alan Baker and Phillip Lavor and Tech. Sgt. Jonathon LeMaster hang a used Humvee windshield March 15 at Kirkuk Air Base, Iraq. The windshields are being re-used as added protection for the new security forces towers being built for the base perimeters. The airmen are assigned to the 506th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron structures team. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Bradley Lail
by Senior Airman Bradley Lail
506th Air Expeditionary Group Public Affairs
Kirkuk Air Base, Iraq (AFNS) Apr 04, 2007
The 506th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron structures department team put their heads together to come up with a better way to protect the airmen who guard the base.

By placing 3-inch thick, 260-pound safety glass with a titanium frame in the windows of the newly designed guard towers, the structures team is trying to ensure that those who are protecting the base are protected in return.

"Because of the level of importance and the high degree of difficulty, the tower window project is one of our most rewarding tasks," said Senior Master Sgt. Clarence Super, the 506th structures superintendent.

After ballistic windshields have been slightly penetrated during combat operations outside the wire, they are considered unserviceable for street patrols in Iraq. Although the windshields are not serviceable for convoy standards, the structures team found them to be a serviceable means of protection for servicemembers currently protected by plexiglass.

Not only is the structures team potentially saving lives, they are also saving the military around $37,500 by recycling the windshields, Super said.

Staff Sgt. Alan Baker, a civil engineer structures technician, designed a way to combine two damaged ballistic Humvee windshields so they would be sturdy enough to be mounted in the window openings of the new towers. The new towers are concrete structures designed to withstand blasts from possible mortar attacks as well as rocket and small-arms fire.

Arch welders then welded together the windshields and custom-fabricated a frame with plates and brackets to bolt to the tower.

Once the windshields were hoisted and properly placed in each of the new towers, structures technician Staff Sgt. Phillip Lavor came up with a way to seal off the openings on the sides of the windshields.

Plexiglas was used on each side to enclose the openings and wood gave the windows more support. Having to fasten four separate types of material together (wood, metal, concrete and Plexiglas) was a complicated procedure. The plexiglas had to be affixed with hinges to maintain climate control when closed while allowing tower personnel to open and fire through it as necessary.

"The ECES team is doing a great job," said Maj. Tamara Mayer, 506th ESFS commander. She said the windshield provides an increased amount of protection and also recycles something that would have been tossed.

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