Armor kits used to add-on armor to reinforce military vehicles is made at Iowa’s Rock Island Arsenal, where spokeswoman Gail Smith says they began making the kits in late 2003 and shipped more than 36-hundred of them by the time their contract was done last month. From time to time, they get e-mails and other messages from soldiers on active duty thanking them, and grateful letters from family members. And the arsenal offers installation service, hazardous though that may be. Quite a few employees from the Joint Manufacturing Technology Center and other organizations at the arsenal have volunteered to go over to Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan, and install the armored doors. While the arsenal’s located literally between two states, it’s legally in Illinois, Smith says. The workforce is pretty well split, she says, explaining just about half the 6,400 workers live in Iowa, half in Illinois. The economic impact in the Quad Cities area is an estimated one-point-two-Billion dollars, including 12-thousand other jobs in the community from the money spent there, contracts that are let and supplies purchased by the arsenal’s businesses. The Rock Island Arsenal is the largest government-owned weapons manufacturing arsenal in the western world.
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