JLG Industries Gets Kudos From General
Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Michael Brogan told local news media last week that he was thrilled with how quickly and enthusiastically JLG Industries’ production of blast-resistant all-terrain vehicles for the nation’s armed forces has come together.
“This has been done in an amazing amount of time,” Brogan said.
Commander of the Marine Corps Systems Command and executive officer for the MRAP (mine resistant ambush protected) program, Brogan, and an assortment of other military officials, was in McConnellsburg last Wednesday to tour JLG’s production of the armored vehicles that are so urgently needed in Afghanistan.
“This is an impressive facility,” Brogan said. “It is very well maintained and cared for. The immediate impression is that they care.”
JLG parent company Wisconsin based Oshkosh Corp. was awarded a Department of Defense contract in June to build the armored vehicles. So far Oshkosh has received orders valued at $2.3 billion for 4,296 vehicles through the end of March 2010. Oshkosh officials say that by December JLG’s McConnellsburg plant and Wisconsin plants will produce a combined 1,000 M-ATVs a month.
“After seeing this, I’m very confident we will be able to reach that 500-unit-per-month goal here, plus 500 a month in Wisconsin,” Brogan said.
Brogan said the first M-ATVS headed to Afghanistan should leave early this week. Blast resistant and built to navigate rugged terrain, they will begin replacing the MRAPs that are currently on the ground in Afghanistan.
The DOD has authorized the manufacture of as many as 6,644 M-ATVs to be used in Afghanistan and for testing, according to Brogan. The brigadier general said that once the Oshkosh M-ATVs got into the hands of troops they would like it.
“That will help with the probability that we will build all the way to that higher number,” Brogan said.
For the laid-off JLG workers who are being called back to build M-ATVs for Oshkosh that would likely mean a chance to work a little longer.
Brogan took time during his visit to meet with JLG employees and answer their questions. He said he was appreciative of their sacrifice.
“This is going to be a relatively short duration effort, so we recognize they’re making a sacrifice by coming back to work for a short period of time.”
The construction standstill has forced JLG to cut its workforce by more than half since June 2008. The access equipment manufacturer has said it will call back as many as 650 workers to meet the DOD’s aggressive delivery schedule.
“It means a lot to bring back employees,” said JLG President Craig Paylor. “Some were ready to run out of unemployment.”