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A new public-private partnership will help secure the well-being of soldiers on the battlefield and manufacturing at the Rock Island Arsenal.

The Rock Island Arsenal-Joint Manufacturing & Technology Center held a ceremony Friday to signify a newly signed public-private partnership with AM General for production of the M997A3 Ambulance.

“We are focused on building a rugged, world-class, highly reliable vehicle system,” said R. Andrew Hove, president and CEO of AM General.

“For hundreds of people who work in this arsenal, it is going to give them a chance to prove again, as they have hundreds of times, how committed they are to this country, how committed they are to the men and women in uniform and how committed they are to make certain the Rock Island Arsenal has a bright future,” said U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois.

“We want to make sure that when we look at the assets of the United States, we value the men and women in uniform first and foremost. But right behind them in the ranks are the men and women who make the equipment that keeps them safe and brings them home safely."

“Readiness is part of that commitment,” Durbin said. “Rock Island Arsenal is always ready.”

Major Gen. Daniel G. Mitchell, who acknowledged Friday as the Army’s 244th birthday, said public-private partnerships offer flexibility and sustainability to support readiness. The M997A3 Ambulance is the most modern ambulance in the military fleet, he said.

Thanks to the partnership with AM General, the arsenal will continue to produce ambulances for soldiers in the field, said Col. Martin James “Jimmy” Hendrix III, commander, U. S. Army Rock Island Arsenal Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center.

Eventually, he said, 80 ambulances per month will be produced.

Durbin represented U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth and U. S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, he said.

Other officials at the ceremony included Paul Rumler, president and CEO of the Quad-Cities Chamber of Commerce, Davenport Mayor Frank Klipsch and Rock Island Mayor Mike Thoms.

The Rock Island Arsenal is the Quad-City region’s largest employer, with more than 6,500 employees and an average salary of more than $74,000. Its annual economic impact of the Rock Island Arsenal on the Quad-Cities region is more than $1.5 billion annually, according to the Quad-Cities Chamber of Commerce.

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The Rock Island Arsenal-Joint Manufacturing & Technology Center held a ceremony Friday to signify a newly signed public-private partnership with AM General for production of the M997A3 Ambulance. Above, RIA-JMTC commander Col. Martin J. "Jimmy" Hendrix III, left; U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; and Gen. Gustave F. Perna, commanding general, U.S. Army Materiel Command, discuss production at the Rock Island Arsenal-Joint Manufacturing & Technology Center (RIA-JMTC) Friday.

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