Covers protect Army keyboards

Sometimes it seems the Army has to learn the same lessons all over again, especially when it comes to protecting commercial computers from sand and dust in Iraq.

During the first Persian Gulf War, U.S. forces quickly learned they needed to develop covers to prevent keyboard damage from dust and sand. According to a study by the Center For Army Lessons Learned (CALL) at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., that's a lesson relearned in Iraq last fall by the Stryker Brigade Combat Team.

The study states that keyboard dustcovers purchased from ProtecT Computer Products significantly protected computers against sand and dust damage. Scott Decaria, sales manager at ProtecT, said the company’s keyboard covers also filter out ultraviolet rays, which can degrade other plastic keyboard covers.

ProtecT sells its keyboard covers for $14.95 each, and Decaria said the company has sold almost 10,000 covers to units deployed in Iraq, with many purchases made via the company’s Web site with government credit cards.

The Stryker team also developed a workaround that speeded the deployment of computer repair parts to Iraq, CALL said. Instead of ordering the repair parts through the brigade’s information office, Stryker team members set up a point of contact in the United States to facilitate delivery of repair parts for laptop computers.

CALL analysts recommended that extra internal hard drives and CD/DVD drives be purchased before deployment, which will aid in repairs once the warfighters are deployed to an austere environment.

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