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    Army veteran credits RIA-JMTC equipment with saving his life

    Army veteran credits RIA-JMTC equipment with saving his life

    Photo By Debralee Lutgen | Jamie Medinger, (center), division chief, Base Operations Division, Rock Island...... read more read more



    Story by Debralee Lutgen 

    Rock Island Arsenal-Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center

    Rock Island Arsenal, Ill. – His only regret is not joining the military sooner, but his passion for football pulled him to attend college on a scholarship. His father wanted him to join due to family tradition, but his mother encouraged him to pursue college.

    Ultimately, after high school, Jamie Medinger chose college, but after years of work, he decided to give the Army a try as an infantryman.

    “Looking back on it now, I wish I would have gone the opposite way. I wish I would have joined the military right after I graduated high school,” he said. “I’m glad I went eventually. In my opinion it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.”

    Medinger believes if he had joined the military sooner, it would have matured him and made him more well-rounded before entering the workforce. He also found a calling in the Army that none of his jobs had provided.

    “For me personally, it was the greatest experience of my life,” he said. “I’ve been a lot of places, I’ve seen a lot of things, I’ve done a lot of things. None of it even scratches the surface, nothing compares to what I got out of the Army, as far as what I feel that I got out of it as a person.”

    Medinger’s career took him all over the world from Japan, Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Ireland and Germany as well as throughout the United States to Georgia, Texas and Kentucky. While he said he enjoyed seeing the world, the people were the most impactful part of his military career.

    “The loyalty and dedication that free volunteers make to serve the country is probably my fondest (memory) – and being a part of that,” said Medinger. “Putting yourself in that position and serving something greater than yourself and having that behind you later in life makes you feel and know that you’ve done something worthwhile.”

    Medinger deployed three times during his career and said he felt like that’s what he was meant to do, that’s what he joined to do, but his career was cut short.

    More than 12 years ago, Medinger was hit by an improvised explosive device during convoy operations while deployed. He was medically discharged with 10 years of service and today works as the Division Chief of Base Operations Division at the organization he credits with saving his life. Rock Island Arsenal – Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center produced the add-on armor attached to Medinger’s Humvee.

    Add-on armor was an armor solution developed during the War on Terror that attached to soft-shelled vehicles, giving them added protection against roadside bombs and other hazards.

    “Had it not been for the (Fragmentary) Kits that Rock Island produced, I would not have survived my explosion,” he said. “It basically blew the whole front of the truck off … The wheels were gone, the hood was gone, the engine was gone. Everyone in the vehicle survived the explosion. We had injuries, we received shrapnel, but we all lived.”

    Add-on armor wasn’t the only experience Medinger had with RIA-JMTC equipment while he was deployed. He said he used every armor solution designed for protection including the gunner protection kit, an armor kit attached to the top of vehicles on the gunner turret to provide added protection and 360-degree rotation. Additionally, he received small arms parts for his weapon systems and one of the first Forward Repair Systems, which is used to repair vehicles. However, he had no idea where these items were produced until he started at RIA-JMTC.

    “I’m from the Quad Cities originally and I knew of the Rock Island Arsenal,” he said. “I knew they produced artillery, but I figured that was it. I was in awe when I came for my first interview and took my first tour of this place.”

    Working at the RIA-JMTC, Medinger says is fulfilling and allows him to feel like he’s continuing his service and assisting the warfighter in another way.

    “That’s why I’m here: to continue the fight and continue to provide something bigger than myself because I’m no longer able to be a grunt,” said Medinger. “I can at least try to provide (Soldiers) with the best gear we have.”

    Despite his injuries and his career being cut short, Medinger said his time in the military was the most rewarding, gratifying and grueling job he ever had, but he has no regrets. For Medinger the Army is the best thing he’s done and for those interested in pursuing the military, he would encourage it.

    “I would highly recommend it to anybody,” he said. “If someone was asking me if it’s a good idea or not, I would say absolutely, yes, it is.”

    Rock Island Arsenal - Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center develops, manufactures and delivers readiness solutions through conventional and advanced manufacturing processes for the U.S. Army and Department of Defense systems globally.



    Date Taken: 09.28.2022
    Date Posted: 09.28.2022 15:28
    Story ID: 430282

    Web Views: 23
    Downloads: 1