4,500 SC-based IED detection vehicles in action in Afghanistan

By Stewart Moore - bio | email

LADSON, SC (WIS) - The battle on the ground in Afghanistan is fought mile-by-mile, slowly combing through areas to prevent explosions from IED attacks.

In the arsenal for US and NATO forces is equipment made in South Carolina.

The armored vehicle production plant located in the Lowcountry of South Carolina ships out between 30 to 45 vehicles a month with 4,500 in the war zone right now.

"They improve the survivability of our forces on the ground and make us more effective," said state Rep. James Smith. "They are worth every ounce and every penny."

Who would know more about the vehicles than Smith, whose vehicle blew up along the roadway to an Afghan village when his driver ran over an IED.

At the Ladson plant, they make armor to protect military personnel inside the vehicle and clear that path for more to come.

Buffalo is perhaps the plant's most signature piece. It goes out and searches for IED's in the roadways of Afghanistan. Not only is it equipped with communication devices for our troops on the battlefield, it's also comfortable inside, which is important in what is a slow and tedious job.

"It goes out, looks for bombs all day and night," said Tommy Pruitt. "Only thing it does."

The vehicles are in harms way, but are built to take it. Weighing around 75,000 pounds, the buffalo can take a heavy punch.

"It's done a very good job out with standing roadside bombs, mines, all sorts of IED's in the Middle East," said Pruitt. "Every employee knows what they do is important to someone in the military or family member of somebody in the military. Most of that is saving lives."

It's that kind of attitude and work ethic that may have saved the lives of people like Rep. Smith and the crew who was inside his armored vehicle.

"Massive explosion lifted our vehicle in the air," said Smith. "I can remember every moment."

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