They work day in and day out in support of Redstone Arsenal, but rarely do they get the opportunity to see just how far their mission reaches.
Garrison Commander Col. Kelsey Smith peeled back the curtain Thursday to show his workforce just how much of an impact they have not only on the installation, but beyond. Smith met with Garrison workers for a quarterly All Hands meeting at Bob Jones Auditorium, in which he not only recognized employees for exceptional service and took their questions, but did something that’s not so common inside the gates – he gave the Redstone Overview, an explanation of Redstone Arsenal’s history, accomplishments and where it’s headed in the future.
It’s a speech typically reserved for members of the community, but one he wanted to give to help the workforce better understand the difference they make to the Army’s national security.
“I think you’ll be surprised with how long your reach really is,” Smith said. “I’d like to give you an appreciation for it and to cheer you on a little bit and let you know how important you are not only to the Garrison family, but how important you are to the Arsenal and our mission.”
Highlights from the brief include the installation’s $18 billion economic impact it has on Alabama, which accounts for 9.8% of the state’s GDP. That translates to $467 million in state and local tax revenue, with 104,500 jobs across the Tennessee Valley that are a direct, indirect and induced result of Redstone Arsenal’s presence in Huntsville. Companies headquartered across the country have chosen to locate offices in the Rocket City, just to be close to the federal center of excellence. By 2025, Redstone is projected to have a workforce of 48,200.
“Every selling point to Redstone Arsenal, everything that makes this installation a place of choice is all a direct result of you and your hard work in your little foxhole,” Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Billy Counts said. “Understand that this is the fruit of your labor. We could not do this without you.
“On behalf of myself, and all of the workforce 42,454 personnel that work out here daily, and all of those people that are looking to come here because they want a little bit of what we’re selling, thank you. I can’t tell you enough. I appreciate your hard work. I appreciate you, just the fact that you come in and serve.”
Smith also gave an update on projects impacting the installation, such as the approval of Exploration Park, which will eventually move The Summit and The Links outside the fence line and create a new gate. Efforts are also underway to open up more areas on the installation for hunting, fishing and mountain biking, and to bring 5G technology to Redstone.