Activities feature growth, change
Looking through the pages of the 50 issues of the Redstone Rocket for 2012 is much like looking through an Arsenal history book for the year. The pages are filled with military ceremonies, celebrations, events, news items, personal accounts and accomplishments that represent the best of Redstone Arsenal. The following is a snapshot of what your Rocket staff has chosen as the top events for 2012:
Garrison reviews future with tenant leadership, March 21: Reshaping Redstone Arsenal is coming down to the numbers. With all new Arsenal organizations related to the recent Base Realignment and Closure moves now in residence, the Garrison is focusing on further developing the installation’s office complexes, conferencing capabilities, service areas and road network based on what makes financial sense. In other words, consolidating administrative offices, ending leasing arrangements, improving facility efficiencies and improving traffic flow are priorities in shaping the near-term and long-term plans for Arsenal development. On March 14, Garrison commander Col. John Hamilton shared those plans with other leaders during an Installation Planning Board meeting at The Summit. “We’ve got to make the right decision for the taxpayer,” Hamilton said, referring to building usage on the Arsenal. As the Department of Defense and the Army look for ways to save money, the Garrison is planning for consolidations of organizations, facilities and services to create efficiencies and convenience while cutting costs. Most of that effort focuses on the consolidation of administrative offices in renovated office space located primarily in the schoolhouse area once occupied by the Ordnance Munitions and Electronics Maintenance School, and then reutilizing vacated space to further even more organization consolidations. The Garrison is working with seven organizations – the Aviation and Missile Command, Program Executive Office for Aviation, Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space, Logistics Support Activity/Lead Army Materiel Command Integration Support Office, Civilian Personnel Advisory Center/Civilian Human Resources Agency, Army Contracting Command-Redstone and Army Contracting Command/Expeditionary Contracting Command – to create efficiencies through consolidation. Once these consolidations are made, the physical footprint for these organizations at Redstone will go from 80 buildings to 30 buildings. Of those, four organizations – AMCOM, PEO Aviation, PEO Missiles and Space, and LOGSA/LAISO – will not only reduce the number of facilities they occupy but they will also eliminate all of their off-post leases, representing an annual savings of $4 million.
ACC welcomes first commanding general, May 23: Maj. Gen. Camille Nichols has come a long way since enlisting in the Army in 1975 in her hometown of Niagara Falls, N.Y. On May 17, she reached the pinnacle of her career by becoming the first commanding general in the four-year history of the Army Contracting Command. “It’s hard to describe,” Nichols said after her assumption of command ceremony on the Activity Field. “It’s really such an honor, something totally unexpected. It’s very emotional in some ways because of where I started in the Army to reach this level and assume this responsibility.” In 2007, the secretary of the Army formed an independent commission on Army Acquisition and Program Management in Expeditionary Operations, also known as the Gansler Commission, to review recent lessons learned and recommend improvements to future military operations. In compliance with these recommendations, on Oct. 1, 2008, the Army recognized the formal establishment of the Army Contracting Command as a major subordinate command of the Army Materiel Command. Nichols, who was commissioned as an engineer officer upon graduation from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1981, said becoming ACC’s commander is an “indescribable honor.” Army Materiel Command commander Gen. Ann Dunwoody officiated at the ceremony. During the ceremonial passing of the colors, the organizational flag was handed from ACC’s Command Sgt. Maj. John Murray to Dr. Carol Lowman, who served as ACC’s executive director and now is the command’s deputy commander, to Dunwoody to Nichols and back to Murray. An international business enterprise, the Army Contracting Command awarded more than 198,000 contracts in fiscal 2011 valued at more than $86.9 billion, which is equal to 68 percent of the Army’s contract dollars and 16 percent of the total dollars spent on contracts by the entire federal government. ACC accomplishes this with more than 6,300 military and civilian employees at more than 115 locations worldwide.
FBI brings new facility here for collaboration, June 27: One of the nation’s most valuable tools in defending against improvised explosives devices will soon have a Redstone Arsenal address as building 4940 on Fowler Road. The $125 million Terrorist Explosives Devices Analytical Center, established and operated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, will be an Arsenal tenant in late 2014. Sen. Richard Shelby as well as FBI director Robert Mueller and the center’s chief, Jorge Garcia, were in attendance during a June 25 groundbreaking for the new facility. Located in an FBI facility in Quantico, Va., since 2003, the center recovers improvised explosive devices and related materials from the Department of Defense for forensic and technical analysis in support of the ongoing war on terrorism and combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. TEDAC employees have examined more than 80,000 IEDs and fragments from IEDs, working side-by-side with representatives of the 11 U.S. agencies to analyze IEDs and IED fragments from 23 nations besides Iraq and Afghanistan. The new facility at Redstone will provide greater efficiencies in the analysis of IEDs. Redstone is also home to the FBI’s Hazardous Devices School and the ATF’s National Center for Explosives Training and Research, and it is expected that the co-location of the three organizations will allow for the creation of collaborative partnerships, and will strengthen the government-wide approach to countering IEDs and other explosive devices.
Via succeeds Dunwoody as AMC commander, Aug. 8: Gen. Ann Dunwoody on Aug. 7 relinquished command of the Army Materiel Command to Gen. Dennis Via. Army chief of staff Gen. Raymond Odierno hosted the time-honored change of command ceremony at AMC’s parade field. Odierno credited Dunwoody’s vision and determination as the key factors in transforming AMC into the Army’s Lead Materiel Integrator and joint logistics supplier, all while streamlining efficiencies and caring for the Soldiers, civilians and their families. Considered throughout her career as a trailblazer for women in the Army, Dunwoody was the first female four-star, assuming command of AMC in November 2008. She was the 17th commander in AMC’s 50-year history. During her tenure Dunwoody oversaw the transition of AMC through its move in 2011 from Fort Belvoir, Va., the Armywide synchronization and integration of the Directorate of Logistics and the drawdown of equipment in Iraq, all while providing uninterrupted support to the war fighter. In 37 years she commanded at every level. The change of command ceremony also initiated Via’s leadership era. He is no stranger to AMC’s daunting task of equipping the force, as he has served as the AMC deputy commander since May 2011.
Ceremony gives employees sense of heritage, Aug. 8: Army Materiel Command commander Gen. Ann Dunwoody marked AMC’s 50th anniversary by inducting five former employees into the inaugural AMC Hall of Fame Aug. 1 at AMC headquarters. The ceremony was established to honor and memorialize former civilian and military personnel who have made significant and lasting contributions to the Army Materiel Command and the Army, giving employees a sense of heritage, honor, pride and belonging. “It is vital that we honor the contributions of those who paved the way for AMC,” Col. Dan Williams, director of Public and Congressional Affairs, said. “Our history is marked by the selfless actions of the men and women whose efforts created an enduring commitment to supporting the war fighter.” The following AMC employees were inducted posthumously: Gen. Frank Besson, AMC founder and commander 1962-69; Lt. Gen. William Bunker, AMC deputy commander 1962-69; Lt. Gen. George Sammet, deputy commander 1973-77, commander February 1977 through May 1977 ; Maj. Gen. John Zierdt, project manager/commander Army Missile Command, 1960-67; and Sarah Clements, AMC assistant chief of the Office of Project Management 1964-75. Following the induction, members of the AMC staff presented items for inclusion in a 50th anniversary time capsule. Contributed items included a roster of current AMC Soldiers and civilians as well as a list of prices of popular consumer items. The time capsule will remain closed for another 50 years. The 50th celebration continued with AMC hosting a family day and open house. AMC was activated Aug. 1, 1962. At the time, the command consisted of 190,000 people; more than 250 installations, activities, arsenals and laboratories; an inventory of weapons and equipment worth $23.5 billion, with an annual budget of $7.5 billion and was housed at what is now Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
VB Phase IV construction starts with groundbreaking, Sept. 12: By the end of 2014, more than 5,700 people will work in the completed Von Braun Complex. Groundbreaking for construction of the fourth building, Von Braun Phase IV, was held Sept. 5 near VB III off Martin Road. Von Braun IV will have offices for about 850 members of the Missile Defense Agency. The ceremony’s attendees filled the folding chairs under a large white tent. MDA director Lt. Gen. Patrick O’Reilly served as the host and gave opening remarks followed by remarks from Sen. Richard Shelby, Sen. Jeff Sessions and Rep. Mo Brooks. “This will truly be the epicenter of missile defense expertise in the world,” O’Reilly said. Said Shelby, “Although Dr. (Wernher) von Braun has been long gone from Huntsville, his spirit is with us today. It has to be.” Sessions called the beginning of the completion of the Von Braun Complex “a really great day.” “Here today,” said Brooks, “we’re continuing von Braun’s reputation for exceptionalism for what we’re doing with the Missile Defense Agency.” Construction should be completed by August 2014 with tenant move-in by December 2014. The building will have five floors and 225,000 square feet. “Construction will begin immediately,” John Gromos, president of Turner Universal Construction Company, Huntsville, said. From 200-300 construction workers will be employed on this project; and the current schedule is to finish in about 20 months. The initial contract cost was $53 million and the contract value will likely exceed $57 million, Gromos said.
Post honors commitment to customer service, Sept. 26: Not even rain clouds could dampen the excitement among the crowd who gathered Sept. 18 to usher in a new era of customer service during a ribbon cutting at the One Stop. Though the ribbon cutting was moved inside, there were plenty of smiles, laughter and words of “congratulations” to seemingly keep the threat of rain at bay and bring a ray of sunshine inside for a ceremony that officially opened Team Redstone’s One Stop for human resources services. Garrison commander Col. John Hamilton described the gathering of Team Redstone and community officials as a “real reflection” of leaders who care for the well-being of the Arsenal’s Soldiers, civilians, retirees and their families. The renovated 23,000-square-foot facility, known as building 3494, includes the Garrison’s Military Personnel Office, Security Division, Retention NCO, Headquarters & Headquarters Company-AMCOM, Defense Military Pay Office, Defense Finance and Accounting Services, Housing and Equal Opportunity/Equal Employment Opportunity Office. It also includes a State and County Tag License Office. The One Stop is a cornerstone in the development of a social services corridor that will include the 22,000-square-foot Welcome Center and an historical park that connects the two facilities. The Welcome Center, which will be located in the renovated dining facility, will include Army Community Service, Child Youth and School Services, travel and leisure services, and the Java Café. The One Stop is part of an area-wide plan that includes renovating buildings for administrative, and research and development space for a wide variety of tenants. The area is also home to the Education Center, Pagano Gym, Travel Office and Photo Lab facilities, the Thrift Shop, the Army Substance Abuse Prevention Program facility, 2nd Recruiting Brigade and the 2nd Medical Recruiting Battalion, Redstone Bowling Center and Community Activity Center. In 2013, it will also be the new home of the Civilian Personnel Advisory Center, the Civilian Human Resources Agency and the Staff Judge Advocate office as well as the Redstone Aquatics Center.
Fifty years of support appreciated by Army, Oct. 24: The Army was on stage Oct. 15 among local business leaders as well as local and state political leaders to show its appreciation for the industry partners who have helped to make Cummings Research Park the second largest research and development park in the world. “Cummings Research Park continues to be our support network on a national and international scale to grow our space, missile, aviation and defense programs,” said Maj. Gen. Lynn Collyar, Redstone Arsenal’s senior commander, who spoke on behalf of Team Redstone at the research park’s 50th anniversary celebration luncheon at the Jackson Conference Center. “Our Soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen deserve the best. And Cummings Research Park has striven to provide them with that decisive edge. The strength of our nation is our Army. The strength of our Army is our Soldiers. The strength of our Soldiers is our families. Cummings Research Park is part of that family. It’s you that keeps us Army Strong.” Although established in 1962, Collyar told the luncheon crowd that the roots of Cummings Research Park go back to 1950. That’s the year that Dr. Wernher von Braun and a rocket team made up of 130 German scientists, 501 Soldiers from the Army’s 9330th Technical Service Unit, 180 General Electric employees, and 120 Army civilian employees came to Huntsville from Fort Bliss, Texas. The group at Fort Bliss had been working on the V-2 and various versions of the Hermes missile initiated under contract with GE. The Redstone missile evolved from the V-2 studies and Hermes research and development effort. The decision to move to Redstone Arsenal was viewed by the Army as a way to save resources and become more efficient. The move allowed the Army to consolidate the management, and research and development of Army rockets and missile programs in one location that provided much-needed land for facilities and testing. With the initial move of the Army’s missile and rocket programs to Redstone in 1950, the area began attracting companies engaged in rocket development, and those companies needed office and research space. That industrial base continued to grow as the German/American rocket and Army missile development grew with the nation’s interest in space exploration grew. The year 1962 brought the beginnings of a Huntsville research park that would eventually be called Cummings Research Park.
Garrison works to again provide train transport, Nov. 7: Redstone Arsenal’s railhead is now doing business. Recently, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center used the 3,000-foot railroad spur from the main Norfolk Southern railroad to deliver the first of several pieces of hardware that will be used in the construction of the Space Launch System. On Oct. 24, a Solid Rocket Booster aft skirt that will be used to launch the system was moved from a cargo flatbed by crane to a truck flatbed for transport from the northwestern section of the Arsenal near Gate 9 to a NASA site off Rideout Road. The Arsenal was the aft skirt’s final destination in a train route that took it from the Kennedy Space Flight Center at Cape Canaveral, Fla., and to Redstone Arsenal. Once it made it to the end of the rail spur, two mobile cranes were used to lift it off the flatbed and load it on a truck flatbed. It was then escorted by Garrison police south on Rideout Road through Gate 9 using the northbound lanes, taking it around the inbound gate lanes and then returned to the southbound lanes. “The delivery of this NASA hardware by rail is significant for Redstone Arsenal because it keeps active a critical fourth mode of transportation access to and from the Arsenal,” Garrison commander Col. John Hamilton said. “Now that the rail spur is in use, our tenants can choose from road, air, water and rail shipping access.” Rail access to the Arsenal has been available since the 1940s, when the area first became a federal installation. But in recent years, the railhead’s outdated condition did not make it a feasible transportation option. As part of Arsenal upgrades associated with the Redstone Gateway enhanced use lease project, about $900,000 in upgrades to the train track spur were completed earlier this year as part of the in-kind services provided by Redstone Gateway developer Corporate Office Properties Trust. The upgrade was contracted and managed on behalf of the Arsenal by the City of Huntsville. Previously, the old spur was located in the center of the 468 acres designated for the Redstone Gateway. So, is has been shortened, repositioned and upgraded, and reconnected to Norfolk Southern’s main east-west track.
New missile production plant continues von Braun legacy, Nov. 28: Redstone Arsenal is once again living up to its reputation as “Rocket City, USA.” With a ribbon cutting ceremony for the 70,000-square-foot Redstone Raytheon Missile Integration Facility near Gate 3 on Nov. 26, the Arsenal is now officially home to “the most technologically advanced missile facility in the world,” according to Vice Adm. James Syring, director of the Missile Defense Agency. Raytheon’s $75 million automated missile facility, built on a 200-acre site, will provide final assembly and testing for Raytheon’s Standard Missile-3 and Standard Missile-6 interceptors, two ballistic missiles associated with the nation’s worldwide missile defense strategy. The facility also provides greater capability for Raytheon to grow its missile production at Redstone. SM-3 is part of the Missile Defense Agency’s sea-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense, with deployment on Navy cruisers and destroyers, on Japanese destroyers to defend against short- to intermediate range ballistic missile threats in the ascent and midcourse phases of flight, and at land-based sites in Europe. SM-6 is an extended range anti-air warfare missile fired from Navy ships against fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and cruise missiles. For MDA, the mission of the SM-3 is clear: “to defend the U.S. and deployed forces, and allies and friends from ballistic missile attack,” Syring said. For Redstone Arsenal, the facility continues to grow its reputation for advanced missile development, assembly and testing. Currently, about 40 employees work at the Raytheon facility. By 2014, that number will grow to 130 at the facility with another 170 Raytheon jobs focused on other Huntsville and Department of Defense related activities based out of Redstone. Those jobs will be added to the 550 Raytheon employees already located in Huntsville. The first missile set to come off the production line will be the new SM-6, which will be complete in the first quarter of 2013 and then delivered to the Navy.