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Soldiers saved by plant

Soldiers Daniel Boden and Craig Cook were saved from explosions while on tour in Afghanistan by a Finning Caterpillar diggers.

Daniel Boden’s Finning Caterpillar 434E backhoe loader and Craig Cook’s protected 938G wheel loader, were both involved in separate incidents, hit by improvised explosive devices (IEDs), whilst they were working on duty in Afghanistan.

TBoth machines were modified by Finning engineers and both soldiers were able to walk away from the incident without injury.

Finning Defence Manager, Alan Hunt said: “When we heard about the IED incidents we were very shocked and at the same instant, very relieved to hear that the soldiers operating the machinery were okay. Although we work at protecting equipment for the MOD every day, you never actually want the operators of the machines to be attacked in this way.

“However it was when we received the letters from Craig and his wife Michele that the reason we do this job was brought home to us. Michele wrote:

  • “As Craig’s wife I would like to say a BIG thank you to Caterpillar for the kit you supply the army. If it wasn’t for you, me and my unborn baby would have lost a husband /dad. So thank you from the bottom of my heart.’  That letter will forever be with us at Finning and the realisation that we can make such a difference to a family’s life is what will spur us on into the future.”

“In a letter to Finning staff, Craig Cook explained the IED incident he was involved in and his thoughts on the safety of the Caterpillar equipment:

  • “I have been using the Cat 938G wheel loader, the Cat 434E backhoe loader and the Cat 257B multi terrain loader. I was recently tasked with a construction job using the 938. This involved driving 2km along a well known IED route. Unfortunately I drove over one and it went off. Luckily I walked away unharmed but with a shock…. I owe you at Caterpillar many thanks .. people like yourselves with an MOD contract are the unsung heroes making our lives out here that much safer.”

“The people at Cat have given me future faith to go out on further patrols in the machines, knowing that if it were to happen again your machines are the safest place to be. And to finish off, I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Because of your hard work I can go home to see my wife and the birth of my first child. I really can’t thank you enough.”

For Caterpillar staff at its Desford factory, where soldier Daniel Bowden’s Caterpillar 434E Backhoe Loader was manufactured, the visit was particularly rewarding as customer solutions manager, Chris Key explained: “If you can have moments like this in your life where the significance of the ‘day job’ is really brought home, I think you can be very proud. That is how we all feel at Desford and we are particularly proud that it is a UK workforce that has played its role in protecting UK forces, whilst they perform important work in Afghanistan and other areas of the world.

“We are very grateful for the kind words and time Craig, Daniel and their families have given up today to come and thank staff in person and wish them all the best for the future.”

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