WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 6, 2009) — The U.S. Army Materiel Command’s top enlisted Soldier spoke about advancements in war technology Monday and their effects on Soldiers.

Command Sgt Maj. Jeffrey Mellinger spoke at the Association of the United States Army’s annual meeting during a “Sergeants Corner” presentation on the exhibit floor.

“If you look back at 2003, 2004, 2007, we’ve come a long way,” said Mellinger.

Mellinger discussed advancements in technology since the beginning of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. He said some new innovations AMC is working on include blood-clotting bandages and improved combat helmets to withstand a higher caliber of weapon.

“If we were a civilian company, we would rival a Fortune 100 company,” the AMC command sergeant major said to the crowd. “You gotta know we are saving lives on the battlefield.”

The AMC takes care of Soldiers, Airmen, Marines, Soldiers and Department of the Army civilians all over the world. Through their advancements in technology, acquisition support and logistics, the AMC is able to provide war-fighting capabilities to the modern warfighter.

Mellinger continued by saying that his people at AMC are not the only ones to attribute advancements in war-fighting equipment and technology. Soldiers provide ideas for new equipment. He said that the gun turret used today and the gunner’s seat belt apparatus can be attributed directly to Soldiers downrange who saw the need for a change and made it known.

Mellinger said AMC works through issues just like any other corporation. The two biggest issues AMC faces with equipment are weight and power. AMC is consistently looking for power advancements, and a lighter way to package equipment. Although a battery may only weigh 2 ounces, it can still add to an already backbreaking rucksack.

“Any infantryman will tell you, there is no such thing as light-weight,” Mellinger said.

Another issue is the growing cost of preparing a Soldier with the suitable equipment. During World War II the cost of equipping a Soldier was around $2,146, and now it is between $28,000 and $60,000, Mellinger said. He added that the high cost comes with a key benefit though. With the advances in technology and cost there has been a decrease in the number of fatal injuries sustained in a wartime environment.

He also discussed the Army’s Soldier as a System concept. This concept is the implementation of a process that focuses on providing trained and ready Soldiers able to outperform any opponent in the full spectrum of Army, joint, and coalition force operations within the Army’s current and objective force.

“In the past, we used to give Soldiers what they needed when they got to where they’re going,” Mellinger said. “Now we are trying to have them fully prepared for any situation.”

AMC is constantly updating their materials and equipment aiming to provide Soldiers with the most advanced tools, he said.

“If I would’ve told you a couple years ago that we had something that detects improvised explosive devices, you would have laughed,” Mellinger said. “Now look at us.”

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