The U.S. Army’s 11th Armored Calvary Regiment (ACR) has installed a Jet Edge of St. Michael precision water jet cutting system at its home base in Fort Irwin, Calif.
Known for its tough and uncompromising standards, the 11th ACR, “the Blackhorse Regiment,” is widely respected as the best opposing force in the world. The famous regiment, which was honored 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 Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin.
The 11th ACR’s new 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 (RSS). 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,” said 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 aluminum to armored steel with a thickness from 1/8 inch to 3 inches, 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 and cut out after the part has been built,” 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.”
Jet Edge President Jude Lague expressed great pride in being selected as the 11th ACR’s water jet systems manufacturer.
“It is humbling to have our equipment selected by the U.S. Army’s premier regiment,” Lague said. “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-plus years.”
Since 1901, the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment has proudly served the Nation in times of peace and conflict. The 11th ACR’s unique mission is vital to the readiness of the U.S. Army.