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Defense Secretary Gates leads effort to find ways to reduce threat from roadside bombs in Afghanistan

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River Falls, 54022

River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in Oshkosh Thursday that he'll lead a major effort to find new ways to reduce the threat from roadside bombs in Afghanistan.

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Those ambush weapons account for eight of every 10 U.S. casualties in that country.

And the new style of all-terrain vehicles being made at the Oshkosh Corp., is considered a step toward making the troops in those vehicles safer.

In September, the Pentagon said there were 106 effective roadside bombing attacks that killed 37 coalition members and wounded 285 others.

As numerous agencies look for ways to protect against trap-bombs, Gates said he wants a major six-month brainstorming effort and he'll get a monthly report on its progress.

Gates told about 600 Oshkosh employees their work is an "amazing display of industry dedication to the war effort."

He said it's the first time since World War II that an American defense industry went from a concept to full-scale production on a major product.

The Pentagon has ordered 6,200 Oshkosh vehicles to replace the all-purpose Humvee in Afghanistan.

And Gates said more could be ordered if President Obama approves extra troops in Afghanistan.

Oshkosh won the contract this summer.

It now has 1,400 employees making almost a-thousand of the units each month. Gates told the workers that every vehicle they make saves American lives, and it gives troops what they need to accomplish their mission.

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