Soldiers of the Kansas Army National Guard’s 2nd Battalion, 130th Field Artillery and 250th Forward Support Company recently received recognition for developing and producing covers to protect vital equipment screens of a critical computer system known as the Joint Battle Command-Platform in the High Mobility Artillery System. While deployed to the Army Central Command area of responsibility, the 2-130th Soldiers experienced multiple occasions where the screens were damaged during transport, making them inoperable.
“There are no compartments to store large gear or bags on our weapons system, so the crews utilize the cab to transport gear in,” explained Command Sgt. Maj. Douglas Spencer. “There is also no easy way to strap down the gear inside the vehicle.”
Master Sgt. Johnny Roehl, the battalion maintenance noncommissioned officer, and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Kevin Linder, Allied Trades section lead, started brainstorming on a way to protect the screen, designing a sheet metal cover.
““It took me about two days to come up with the initial design,” said Roehl. “I constructed it out of an empty water box, tape, and staples.”
With the help of Spc. Thomas Herriman and Spc. Frank Gilbert, 250th Forward Support Company’s Allied Trades section, they turned their concepts into reality.
“The estimated fabrication process for 16 covers took about two hours per cover once a prototype had been fabricated and resources were collected,” said Linder. “This cover could be mass produced either by metal stamping, CNC plasma cutting and a welding process or 3D printing.”
“The cover can be attached through multiple means, dependent on what the unit has available,” said Roehl. “Here we utilized two methods of attachment in bungee cords and double-sided Velcro straps.
“We have definitely seen a need for this in the HIMARS community, but this cover also fits on the other Army devices such as the Blue Force Tracker, Movement Tracking System, and the Joint Capabilities Release, which all use the same screen set up.”
Upon learning of the innovative resolution, Command Sgt. Maj. John E. Jones, senior enlisted leader, 28th Infantry Division, asked the 2-130th FA to enter this idea in the ARCENT Innovation Oasis, a yearly contest for members of the armed forces to present their ideas to the ARCENT commanding general. Although their idea was named as one of six finalists, the team did not get selected to present this innovation to the CENTCOM commander. However, the innovation was highly praised and has the potential to be used on multiple systems within the Army arsenal, saving the Army hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs annually.
“I’m grateful for this opportunity to show that the Army and Kansas National Guard have Soldiers with the potential to create, build, and present an idea to ARCENT, the Army, and to the business community,” said Roehl.