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Mullen Lauds Civilian Efforts in MRAP Production

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

CHARLESTON, S.C., June 3, 2010 – Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Adm. Mike Mullen today cited the significance of mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles in combat, praising the life-saving efforts of civilian scientists and engineers who’ve integrated such capabilities into today’s military.

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U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, thanks factory workers who make mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles and other types of military vehicles in Charleston, S.C., June 3, 2010. Mullen addressed the workers and congratulated them on reaching a milestone: producing the 25,000th vehicle to leave the factory. DoD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad McNeeley
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

“You’ve saved an enormous number of lives,” Mullen told some 500 employees – the majority of whom are defense civilians -- at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic headquarters and MRAP integration facility here, “You realized that we needed to generate MRAPs at a remarkable pace [and] continually adjusted” to meet mission requirements.”

Mullen visited the facility today for the first time and helped the Naval command here celebrate its recent accomplishment of fielding 5,000 all-terrain versions of the MRAP.

The command achieved the milestone May 28. The Defense Department has fielded spent more than $26 billion, fielding some 22,000 MRAPs in the past three years.

“Every single one of these save lives,” Mullen said, referring to the MRAP vehicles they outfit with radios, tracking and counter bomb systems.

“I came here with one single thought in mind, and that’s to express my gratitude for what you’ve accomplished here,” the admiral said. “You are the final outfitters for this capability, and you have continuously improved day by day over the last several years.”

Mullen acknowledged the civilian efforts in MRAP development, calling the workforce here decisive in the Defense Departments efforts to give warfighters the best tools possible.

 “You’re part of the leading edge of technology,” he said. “You’ve made a huge difference, [and] I couldn’t be more proud of being associated with every one of you.”

Mullen said deployed troops almost always express their gratitude for such capabilities when he visits with them in Iraq and Afghanistan. Troops on the ground recognize the need and appreciate the added protection they have with the vehicles, he said.

“There isn’t a trip I’ve taken into [Iraq and Afghanistan] where some young soldier or Marine won’t say to me, ‘keep those MRAPs coming. They save our lives,’” Mullen said. “[MRAPs] saved countless lives, and believe me, there’s not anyone on the ground over there who understands the threat that doesn’t know that’s exactly the case.”

 Mullen also lauded the civilian workforce here for doing their part in service to the nation. They may not wear military uniforms or deploy to war, but their contributions to improving national security is noteworthy in its own way, he said.

“You’re as patriotic and dedicated with focusing on achieving our mission in national defense as any of us who wear the uniform,” he said. “You are no different, in my perspective, in terms of your dedication, you patriotism in support of our country and our mission than anybody in uniform.”

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Related Sites:
Special Report: Travels With Mullen
Photo Essay: Mullen Visits Fort Bragg, Charleston Air Force Base

Click photo for screen-resolution imageU.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, signs a pennant signifying the completion of the integration of electronics into 25,000 vehicles, including mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles, up-armored Humvees and other tactical wheeled vehicles produced in Charleston, S.C., June 3, 2010. DoD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad McNeeley  
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