Cutting the cake
Picatinny team members cutting the cake are (from left): Dr. Gerardo Melendez, director of the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center; Brig. Gen. Jonathan Maddux, Picatinny commanding general; Carlo Defranco, mechanical engineer who is Picatinny's longest-employed team member of 60 years; Michelle Malham, materials engineer who designed the cake; Maxim Savranksy, mechanical engineer who is Picatinny's newest employee, and Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen.

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. - Picatinny leaders and employees, along with Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen of New Jersey's 11th District, gathered at the on-post cafeteria Sept. 7 for a cake-cutting ceremony to mark the 130th birthday of the U.S. Army's Picatinny Arsenal.

"Today is a great day for Team Picatinny, because today we get to celebrate a place of tremendous historical significance, a place where many generations of dedicated people made it the home of American firepower," said Gerardo Melendez, director of the Armament Research Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC), the largest tenant organization here.

As early as the mid-1700s, the location was a privately-owned forge that provided armaments to the U.S. continental Army. The arsenal was officially established Sept. 6, 1880, when the War Department issued a special order naming the "Dover Powder Depot" on the 1,866 acres it had purchased from various landowners.

Four days later, the site was renamed the Picatinny Powder Depot. In 1907, the site became Picatinny Arsenal, which now spans nearly 6,500 acres and employs a team of nearly 5,000 military, civilian and contractor employees.

"Our predecessors were there for our nation's warfighters during times of war, just as we are at present," said Brig. Gen. Jonathan Maddux, Picatinny commanding general. "Many exceptional achievements which helped men and women in uniform defend our way of life occurred right here at Picatinny. Today is a celebration of the great Picatinny workforce of the past and the exceptional workforce of the present."

Though it is a U.S. Army installation, Picatinny has grown to become a joint-service facility, supporting all branches of the U.S. military.

Frelinghuysen also spoke at the ceremony. "This is the home of American Firepower, and I'm proud to represent it, and to represent all of you," he told the crowd. "...When our young people go to war, whether it be in Afghanistan or Iraq, they have a piece of Picatinny Arsenal in their hand, and we want to make sure that piece protects them, and continues to protect us."

Picatinny's birthday cake was prepared and decorated by ARDEC engineer Michelle Malham, who recently tried out for the reality television series, "Cake Boss."

Also helping Malham cut the cake was the longest-employed Picatinny team member, Carlo Defranco, mechanical engineer, who is approaching 60 years of service. Picatinny's newest employee, Maxim Savranksy, mechanical engineer, also assisted with the cake cutting.

<i>Picatinny Arsenal is a Department of Defense center of excellence for the research, development, engineering and fielding of advanced armaments and weapon systems for all branches of the U.S. military. Known as the "Home of American Firepower," the New Jersey installation employs a team of nearly 5,000-strong that provides a range of innovative technologies to support and protect today's warfighters. Learn more at</i>

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16