“Second To None” Recounts M-ATV Production At JLG
A former teacher with the Central Fulton School District, Cline worked at JLG for 5-1/2 years and is now laid off following completion of his work on the M-ATVs. As the armored truck project approached its June 30 final delivery, he began to think a book might be a good way to preserve the experience for his co-workers and give other readers insight into what it was like to build 1,000s of M-ATVs in record time – 9 a shift, 25 to 27 each day, 500 a month.
In the forward to “Second to None,” a title Cline chose because the second shift was second to none, and because, he says, the MATV is second to none and the American flag on the book’s cover is second to none, Cline writes: “To build the perfect machine, we needed perfection from everyone.” Perfection, hard work and that aforementioned dedication to a project that at peak production required three shifts of workers, many working seven days a week, including holidays, to meet the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DOD) aggressive delivery schedule.
“It was intense,” Cline said, for the men and women that on some occasions were able to build as many as 10 M-ATVs before calling it a day.
Awarded the DOD contract in June 2009, Oshkosh Corp., JLG’s parent company, through March 2010, received seven orders for MATVs totaling 8,079. JLG was brought onboard by Oshkosh at the outset to help build the armored trucks, enabling the company to call back more than 650 workers laid off due to the global recession.
With JLG building 100 percent of the trucks’ cabs and completing 50 percent of the truck assemblies here, and Oshkosh Defense plants in Wisconsin completing the other 50 percent of the truck assemblies, 1,000 M-ATVs a month were rolling off the assembly lines by December 2009.
The rapid ramping up of MATV production was characterized by U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates during a visit to an Oshkosh plant in November 2009 as one of the most dramatic efforts in the defense industry since World War II.
Working about as fast as they built M-ATVs, Cline and quality technician Gary Beatty, photographer for the book, took just a month to get “Second to None” written, printed and into the hands of their co-workers. Cline started by getting permission to go ahead with the project and then distributed a questionnaire to secondshift workers asking for a description of their jobs, comments about the importance of the M-ATV project and their role in it, comments about other people involved in the project and messages for the servicemen and women who would use the M-ATVs in combat.
Fifty-two workers responded to the questions, and it’s their thoughts and feelings that make up the bulk of “Second to None.”
Beatty gets a lot of the credit from Cline for making the book a reality. “I couldn’t have done it without him,” he said. Cline’s brother and sister played a part, too. “Second to None” is dedicated to brother David “Mike” Cline, a Vietnam veteran and JLG employee, and his sister, Jacqueline Perdas, edited the copy and wrote two poems that conclude the book They appear right.
Cline writes in “Second to None” how proud he is to have been part of the team that made the M-ATVs. “I met a lot of great people on the M-ATV project,” Cline concluded.
Readers interested in taking a look at “Second to None” should contact Cline at 717-987-3996.