The famous regiment, which was honoured in Tom Clancy’s novel “Executive Orders,” is responsible for ensuring that the United States continues to have the best trained military in the world by serving as the opposing force in simulated conflicts at the Army’s National Training Centre at Fort Irwin.
The 11th ACR’s new Jet Edge Mid Rail Gantry water jet system is operated by the Service & Recovery Section, a support section within the Regiment’s Maintenance Troop, Regimental Support Squadron. The 20-soldier section is responsible for machining and welding fabricated parts as well as providing recovery support to the Regiment. In addition to its water jet, the 11th ACR’s shop has CNC milling capability, lathes and welding machines.
“We decided to purchase this equipment specifically to assist in expediting our work requests,” explained Chief Warrant Officer Two Alphonso L. Ash, Jr., who heads the section. “The decision to incorporate the water jet into our shop operations was based solely on our daily workload as the water jet has helped to expedite our work requests; the water jet also allows our section to fabricate parts that have a long shipping date and/or high cost which has increased our operational readiness.”
The water jet is being used primarily to cut metals ranging from aluminium to armoured steel with a thickness from 1/8 inch to 3 inches, CW2 Ash noted. Previously the soldiers had been cutting these by hand with a plasma torch, oxy-acetylene torches and shear.
“The water jet is unique because parts can be created using the computer-based software (SigmaNEST) and cut out after the part has been built,” CW2 Ash continued. “Also, the part can be handled immediately following the cut without having concern for heat as in the OXY/Acetylene or plasma torch.”
Within the first month of installation, the section had already built numerous parts with its Jet Edge including battery shims, transmission shifting linkages, electrical covers, ornamental fixtures, and
spanner wrenches, he noted.
“I have found that this system has been an excellent and valuable asset to our shop as I have recommended this piece of equipment to many of my peers as part of their shop setup,” CW2 Ash commented.
Jet Edge President Jude Lague expressed Jet Edge’s great pride in being selected as the 11th ACR’s water jet systems manufacturer.
“We are truly honoured that the 11th ACR chose a Jet Edge water jet system,” Lague said. “It is humbling to have our equipment selected by the U.S. Army’s premier regiment. If you look into their history, it’s absolutely amazing because they were involved in so many of the world’s historic events during the past 100+ years. We are so proud to be part of their future.”