General praises ammunition plant safety record
November 4, 2013
McALESTER, Okla. -- On his first ever visit to the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant here, the Army's director of safety received an inside look at how the nation's premier bomb and warhead loading facility conducts its business while maintaining high safety standards.
"I'm really pleased to be here," said Brig. Gen. Timothy J. Edens, director of Army safety and the commanding general of the U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center, Fort Rucker, Ala., in his opening remarks. "I've never been to any depot or arsenal. The work is inherently dangerous so I wanted to come out to see how the pros do this."
The formal four and a half hour plant tour began with a nine-minute video of employees talking about how their work supports the joint warfighter and testimonials from MCAAP's public-private business partners. It also included an overview of plant operations and achievements given by Col. Joseph G. Dalessio, MCAAP commander.
During the visit, Dalessio talked about MCAAP's safety record, which on that day included 139 days since its last lost-time safety accident.
James Hammonds, safety officer, told Edens that MCAAP is the only Defense Department installation to be "fence to fence" Volunteer Protection Program Star Worksite certified. He attributed that success to the 50 safety stewards around the plant who have created a culture of safety within their workplaces.
The tour also included a look at the 155 mm projectile demilitarization process and production of the Sensor Fuzed Weapon. It also included stops at the newly renovated B-line bomb preparation facility, the outload pad where 435 military containers can be loaded in a 24-hour period, and the explosive/chemical laboratory.
"You are doing all of this with probably the finest safety program in the Army right now," Edens said at the end of his tour before departing MCAAP, Sept. 17. "Don't take your eyes off of it."
The general visited the Defense Ammunition Center -- the Army's explosives safety "think tank" -- on the first day of his trip. He was accompanied on his visit to DAC and MCAAP by Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Stidley and Capt. Bobby Filipunas, aide-de-camp.
"It was great to have Brig. Gen. Edens and his command sergeant major visit us at MCAAP to see how we support the joint warfighter," Dalessio said. "While we were able to showcase our core missions, we were also able to tell him about our outstanding safety program."
MCAAP is the Department of Defense's premier bomb and warhead loading facility, and is one of 14 industrial facilities in the Joint Munitions Command. It is vital to ammunition stockpile management and delivery to the joint warfighter for training and combat operations.