By Mr. Darryl Howlett (AMC)November 14, 2008
INDEPENDENCE, Mo. - Some of the Army's most senior leaders toured an ammunition facility that plays a major role in making all service members safe.
Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey J. Mellinger from the Army Materiel Command led 16 command sergeants major on a tour Nov. 7 of the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant.
Lake City is the Department of Defense only government producer of small-caliber ammunition. The government-owned, contractor-operated facility produces ammunition such as 5.56 mm, 7.62 mm, 20 mm and .50 caliber rounds.
"What I hope is that at the end of the day this tour will give you a greater appreciation of how all of this ammunition mysteriously show up," Mellinger said. "This is an opportunity to meet with the dedicated employees that make the ammunition."
Among the commands represented at the tour were Medical Command, Training and Doctrine Command, Criminal Investigation Command, Army National Guard G3, the 75th Ranger Regiment of the Special Operations Command, XVIIIth Airborne Corps, U.S. Army Infantry School, Army Reserve, Army Forces Command, and the Army Sustainment Command.
The 16 Soldiers, according to Mellinger, represented more than 500 years of military experience.
Also in attendance were the Joint Munitions and Lethality Life Cycle Management Command Sgt. Maj. Larry C. Taylor and the Joint Munitions Command Sgt. Maj. James E. Taylor.
Lt. Col. Christopher L. Day, commander of Lake City, spoke to the Soldiers on the uniqueness of the plant. "Lake City is an AMC special installation that produces 4 million rounds a day," he said. "We also conduct 14 to 16 tests that each bullet goes through. So to us, the reliability and lethality of the bullet is pretty significant."
Along with a tour of the plant, the Soldiers participated in the plant's Veterans Day ceremony and attended a classified briefing on the Army's newest venture, green ammunition. The senior enlisted advisors also viewed some of the $250 million in upgrades currently taking place at the plant.
During the tour, the Soldiers were told of why and how the change occurred for the Army's switch to green ammunition, or lead-free ammunition.
Mellinger said he hoped the command sergeants major would take their experiences at Lake City back to their commanders and Soldiers, ensuring that the entire Army understands the importance of Lake City and the contribution of its workers in support of their mission.
"I can echo the statements made by several of those in attendance - the visit was very informative and much appreciated," Mellinger said. "And from a war fighter perspective, watching the team at LCAAP in action as they prepared the small caliber ammunition for us, we are more convinced than ever that our civilians are helping us in the fight though their efforts at giving the warrior the best we can provide."
JMC's Taylor was pleased how the tour turned out.
"The visit went extremely well; it gave the Joint Munitions Command an opportunity to inform Army senior command sergeants major about JMC's role to the warfighter and provided any update on modernization," he said. "The command sergeants major were very impressed with the level of professionalism and detail that goes into producing munitions. Many of them who have been on the receiving end of munitions over in Iraq and Afghanistan expressed the confidence in the munitions in which their Soldiers received."