LADSON, SC (WIS) - Military experts have said the most dangerous thing our troops face on the war front is improvised explosive devices buried under the roadway.
But there's a company in South Carolina that's trying to make it safer for our troops while tracking down the enemy, and one of our local heroes says the type of work they do saves lives.
"A massive explosion lifted our vehicle in the air," said state Rep. James Smith. "I can remember every moment."
The front end of Smith's Humvee was blown off after running over an IED a little after 10 p.m. on March 8.
"The two wheels went 300 feet in both directions," described Smith. "We didn't find all the pieces until the next morning. We took every piece of that back with us."
Smith credits the vehicle he was riding in for saving his life and the lives of his three men. Armored vehicles that save the lives of American and NATO soldiers every day are produced in South Carolina.
Force Protection in Ladson is home to a production line that sends dozens of heavy duty armored vehicles to the Middle East every month.
"We've got over 4500 vehicles out in theatre, serving with the US and other militaries," said Tommy Pruitt. "We are currently doing upgrades and sustainment work that provides revenue for the company."
It also provides jobs for people in South Carolina. The treasure is built on war, but it's a job that's rewarding to its employees.
"We get cards, letters, emails from soldiers and their families on a regular basis," said Pruitt. "We share those with all the employees here."
"My whole team understood that our ability to survive that day, moment and to come back and continue work in that same village in that same region was directly connected to the engineering work that's done down here and done by Force Protection," said Smith.
Hidden in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, the company is shipping a sense of security thousands of miles away.