Covers protect Army keyboards

Simple $14.95 keyboard covers solve problem

By Bob Brewin

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 Gulf War, deployed U.S. forces quickly learned they needed to improvise or develop covers to protect keyboards against damage by dust and sand, and that's a lesson relearned in a study by the Center For Army Lessons Learned (CALL), Ft. Leavenworth, of operations of the Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT) in Iraq last fall.

The study said that one item that 'significantly aided' computers against sand and dust damage was keyboard dustcovers purchased from ProtecT Computer Products. Scott Decaria (cq), sales manager for ProtecT said the company's keyboard covers not only protect against dust and sand but also have filter out ultraviolet rays which can degrade other plastic keyboard covers.

ProtecT prices its keyboard covers at $14.95 and Decaria said the company has sold close to 10,000 of the covers to units deployed in Iraq, with many purchases made over the company's Web site with government credit cards.

The SBCT also developed a work-around which speeded deployment computer repair parts to Iraq, CALL said. Instead of ordering the repair parts through the brigade information office, the SBCT set up a point of contact in the United States to speed up delivery of repair parts for laptop computers.

CALL recommended that in future extra internal hard drives and CD/DVD should be purchased before deployment, which will aid in repairs once the SBCT is deployed in an austere environment.

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