The Iowa National Guard’s pointing out that while one soldier died this week in a roadside bomb explosion, four others may owe their lives to armor on the Humvee they were riding in. That kind of add-on armor kit being used to reinforce vehicles is made at Iowa’s Rock Island Arsenal, where spokeswoman Gail Smith says they make a long list of items for the military.She says probably the biggest thing they’ve worked on this past year is the armored-door kits for Humvees. They got an order in November 2003, shipped the first kits in December of that year, and at the peak of production were shipping out 225 kits a week. The Arsenal, located on an island in the middle of the Mississippi River, makes both a 2-door and a 4-door kit for beefing-up the protection of the motorized personnel carriers. She says they just completed the order last month, and by this February had created 3,619 of the armor kits. She points out the arsenal began making and shipping the kits long before last year’s outcry over the lack of adequate protection for soldiers in the field of battle. About half the 6,400 workers on the island live in Iowa, half in Illinois, and the economic impact of all the business, contracts, purchasing and payroll is estimated at a million dollars a day in the Quad Cities region.
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