Ordnance School ceremony signals end of BRAC
September 19, 2011
FORT LEE, Va., Sept. 19, 2011 -- As the construction equipment has all but disappeared from the Fort Lee landscape, it signifies that the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure initiatives have come to an end. For the Combined Arms Support Command and Fort Lee, the past few years marked the single largest period of expansion since World War II.
In total, BRAC construction efforts brought 56 new buildings, four major renovations and numerous other training site improvements for Ordnance, Transportation and Quartermaster schools and the Army Logistics University. The new facilities will support logistics training for an average of 10,000 Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen and civilians daily and about 70,000 students annually.
On Sept. 15, the mandated date for completion of BRAC, the Ordnance School hosted several ceremonies to commemorate this historic event. The first was the memorialization of eight buildings, the dining facility and flyover bridge.
Each of the facilities was named after a Soldier or Marine who had made significant contributions to the Ordnance Corps either through innovation or leadership.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony followed, which signified completion of the second phase of the campus and BRAC actions. Pvt. Jeremy Shutes and Marine Corps Pvt. Joshua Thornton, the most junior service members representing their branch, joined Col. Clark W. LeMasters Jr., chief of Ordnance, in cutting the ceremonial ribbon.
The last presentation was a somber occasion, as tribute was paid to the 53 Ordnance Soldiers and Marines killed in the line of duty since Sept. 11, 2009. As each name was read, a Soldier or Marine placed an identification tag with the fallen member's name on a traditional memorial, consisting of an inverted rifle with bayonet, helmet and boots. A 21-gun salute concluded the ceremony.
Ground breaking for the campus began in 2007, when the once-wooded area began the transformation.
Just four years later, it has become a state-of-the-art training facility that spans 3 million square feet, with 30 buildings that will house training for more than 4,000 Soldiers and Marines per year.
"Six years ago this was a patch of pine trees," LeMasters said of the campus. "This isn't Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, or Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, but is the best of both combined."
Courses offered at the Ordnance School include Explosive Ordnance Disposal/munitions, wheeled and tracked vehicle maintenance, small arms repair and a dedicated Marine Corps maintenance training facility. Students learn to troubleshoot, diagnose and repair mechanical and electrical systems on vehicles and advanced weapon platforms.
In order to make this project a success, a significant amount of resources were required to bring everything together.
More than 830 truckloads carrying almost 30 million pounds of equipment were delivered to the campus from Redstone Arsenal, Ala., and Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. The equipment combined with the high-tech facilities provides a more interactive and technical learning experience for the students.
Along with bringing Ordnance together on one campus, BRAC also consolidated segments of the Quartermaster and Transportation Schools to include the U.S. Navy and Air Force for a true joint training environment.
BRAC was completed ahead of the scheduled Sept. 15, 2011, deadline, and the $1.2 billion dollar project came in about $100 million under cost.