Welding in Iraq

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In Tacoma, Washington, soldiers are learning how to weld in the months before being deployed overseas.  This new skill will give them the ability to modifty their vehicles in order to have “safety or tactical enhancements” should the need arise.

Soldiers warm up to welding

Military: New skills will allow modifications of vehicles while in Iraq

SCOTT FONTAINE; THE NEWS TRIBUNE
Published: 07/22/09

Pvt. Jessica Equihua slipped on a pair of oversized gloves, dropped a mask over her face, fired up a welding torch and let the sparks fly.

JOE BARRENTINE/The News Tribune

JOE BARRENTINE/The News Tribune

While others in her Fort Lewis-based platoon watched Tuesday, she slowly welded two small metal plates together at a 90-degree angle.

In a few months, she could be asked to use her new skills on a Humvee or other military vehicles in Iraq.

“It’s good to learn this stuff now instead of getting over there and not know when we need it,” the 20-year-old automated logistical specialist said. “Plus it’s fun. And maybe with some practice, you know, I could be good at it.”

Equihua is one of about 75 members of Fort Lewis’ 602nd Forward Support Company receiving a crash course in welding this week at Pacific Welding Supplies’ Auburn location. The Tacoma-based company agreed to train the soldiers at no cost after a noncommissioned officer from the unit contacted them, saying more of his company’s members needed basic welding skills ahead of their deployment to Iraq in September.

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Do you have any stories about welding being used in unusual or unexpected situations?  We’d like to know!  You can contact us at carmenelectrode@arc-zone.com.

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