By John B. SnyderJanuary 10, 2014
WATERVLIET ARSENAL, N.Y. (Jan. 10, 2014) -- "This is your arsenal," said Watervliet Arsenal Commander Col. Lee H. Schiller Jr. to Michael Pascal, the commander of New York State's Veterans of Foreign Wars, during yesterday's visit by Pascal. Schiller often explains to visitors that because the arsenal is an Army-owned and operated manufacturing center it is here for the community and nation.
Pascal, who was elected state commander on June 15, 2013, was presented with 200 years of Arsenal history during his first visit to this historic post. Woven into the organizational charts and mission slides that are a customary part of every Army briefing, Schiller hit on the responsiveness that an Army-owned and operated manufacturing center provides to our nation.
"Any urgent need that the Defense Department may have, from providing 155 mm cannons to our Soldiers to 60 mm mortars to foreign militaries, are quickly manufactured and shipped from the Arsenal each month with an on-time delivery rate that exceeded 96 percent last year," Schiller said. "At the end of the day, our products have helped hundreds of thousands of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines to come home safely."
Lee Bennett, the Director of the Army's Benét Laboratories that is collocated at the arsenal, echoed Schiller's comments regarding today's value the arsenal has to U.S. troops by saying that, "We don't stop doing research and design once the product leaves the arsenal, we always pride ourselves at our ability to do product improvement long after the weapon system has been fielded."
During Pascal's three-hour visit, Arsenal and Benét leadership took Pascal on a journey to memory lane as Pascal often stopped and recalled a weapon system that he had seen while serving in Vietnam in the 1960s. This was certainly a visit that went beyond simple charts and production numbers.
At the end of the day, Pascal and his District 3 commander, Eugene Ratigliano, becames witnesses to the tremendous manufacturing synergy offered at the Watervliet Arsenal.
There is no other place in the Department of Defense where those who do research and design, such as Benét Labs, are within a five-minute walk from those who will turn blueprints into finished machined products ,the Watervliet Arsenal, Schiller said.
Pascal thanked the arsenal not only for the briefing and the tour, but also for the arsenal's 200 years of service to the nation.
Pascal added a comment that many visitors before have said, "I'm amazed at the high degree of technical expertise and the science that goes into our Soldiers' weapon systems."
If Soldiers only knew about the technical challenges in research, design, and manufacturing that goes into each piece of equipment they use in battle, they might be amazed, too.
But the arsenal workforce doesn't seek to amaze anyone. It simply wants to provide a sense of confidence to the Soldier that their weapon will not fail in the heat of battle. And for 200 years, Soldiers like Pascal have never needed to worry about the art and science that goes into their weapon systems when those systems are stamped made at the Watervliet Arsenal.
The Watervliet Arsenal is an Army owned-and-operated manufacturing facility and is the oldest, continuously active arsenal in the United States. It began operations during the War of 1812, and celebrated its 200th year of continuous service to the nation on July 14, 2013.
Today's Arsenal is relied upon by U.S. and foreign militaries to produce the most advanced, high-tech, high-powered weaponry for cannon, howitzer, and mortar systems. This National Historic Registered Landmark has an annual economic benefit to the local community in excess of $90 million.
Benét Laboratories is a Department of the Army research, development and engineering facility located at the Watervliet Arsenal. It is a part of the Weapons & Software Engineering Center (WSEC), Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center (ARDEC), which is located at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J.