Jamie Medinger, division chief of Base Operations Division, for the Rock Island Arsenal – Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center, credits the center equipment with saving his life from an improvised explosive device.
More than 12 years ago, Medinger was hit by an improvised explosive device during convoy operations while deployed in Iraq. He was medically discharged with 10 years of service. The Arsenal’s JMTC produced the add-on armor attached to Medinger’s Humvee.
Add-on armor was an armor solution developed during the War on Terror that attached to soft-shelled vehicles, giving them added protection against roadside bombs and other hazards, according to an Army release.
“Had it not been for the (Fragmentary) Kits that Rock Island produced, I would not have survived my explosion,” he said in the release. “It basically blew the whole front of the truck off … The wheels were gone, the hood was gone, the engine was gone. Everyone in the vehicle survived the explosion. We had injuries, we received shrapnel, but we all lived.”
The Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center develops, manufactures and delivers readiness solutions through conventional and advanced manufacturing processes for the U.S. Army and Department of Defense systems globally.
Add-on armor wasn’t the only experience Medinger had with RIA-JMTC equipment while he was deployed.
He said he used every armor solution designed for protection, including the gunner protection kit — an armor kit attached to the top of vehicles on the gunner turret to provide added protection and 360-degree rotation. Additionally, he received small arms parts for his weapon systems and one of the first Forward Repair Systems, which is used to repair vehicles, the Army release said.
However, he had no idea where these items were produced until he started at RIA-JMTC.
“I’m from the Quad Cities originally and I knew of the Rock Island Arsenal,” he said. “I knew they produced artillery, but I figured that was it. I was in awe when I came for my first interview and took my first tour of this place.”
Medinger’s career took him all over the world from Japan, Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Ireland and Germany as well as throughout the U.S. to Georgia, Texas and Kentucky.
Working at the RIA-JMTC, Medinger says is fulfilling and allows him to feel like he’s continuing his service and assisting the warfighter in another way.
“That’s why I’m here: to continue the fight and continue to provide something bigger than myself because I’m no longer able to be a grunt,” he said. “I can at least try to provide (Soldiers) with the best gear we have.”
Despite his injuries and his career being cut short, Medinger said his time in the military was the most rewarding, gratifying and grueling job he ever had, but he has no regrets, the release said. For Medinger the Army is the best thing he’s done and for those interested in pursuing the military, he would encourage it.
“I would highly recommend it to anybody,” he said. “If someone was asking me if it’s a good idea or not, I would say absolutely, yes, it is.”