Arsenal converting Humvees to ambulances

By Mike Colon | mcolon@whbf.com

Published 08/29 2014 03:23PM

Updated 08/29 2014 03:30PM

Wounded or maimed. For a century the military ambulance has carried our nation's heroes from the danger of the battle field. 

But inside the gates we take a look at the next generation of the Army ambulance being made right here at home. 

It's a view no soldier wants to see: the inside of an ambulance.

But the Rock Island Arsenal is working on a 21st century  ambulance to save lives in the line of battle.

 “ We induct them into the line over here, make some modifications especially for the ambulance,” said Scott Young, program manager for ambulance project.   

Those modifications are done to decommissioned Humvees.  The top? Stripped away. The cabin? Expanded. A new paint job marks the vehicle's new mission on the battlefield.

 “There are some bells and whistles that wouldn't be part of a normal ambulance that are a part of these,” said Young.

A conventional ambulance holds one, maybe two patients.  But the creations from building 208 are not your conventional ambulance.

“Four guys laying down plus the two crew members,” said Young. “And it can take eight people who are able to stand.”

While the ambulance conversion is a slice of modern warfare, it's a project half a century in the making. 

 “Fifty years ago, Rock Island Arsenal was producing jeep ambulances,” said Kris Leinicke, director of the Rock Island Arsenal Museum.

At the dawn of the Vietnam War, a thousand ambulances were converted from m151a1 Jeeps.

It's being versatile.  Taking the old, and making it new again. 

“Projects that they've had years ago, sometimes they're resurrected and they do them again,” said Leinicke.

And it's a duty the Rock Island Arsenal will be ready for 50 years from now, when duty calls: again.

The arsenal will make 500 of the ambulances by July 2015

 

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