ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. - Rock Island Arsenal - Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center has a rich history of providing readiness solutions for the warfighter.
In 1898 experimental work began to manufacture on one of these solutions. In the fall of 1902, work on a new 3-inch field gun carriage began at RIA-JMTC. Today, 112 years later, number 160, Model of 1902, completed in 1905, has returned to its original equipment manufacturer for refurbishment.
"RIA-JMTC has a tremendous history in the production and maintenance of artillery pieces for the U.S. Army. For the majority of our 155 years of service to Army readiness, artillery has been a staple of production here at the Arsenal," said Col. Kenneth Letcher, RIA-JMTC commander. "Providing support to specific historical pieces that have deteriorated over time ties our current workforce back to their fore-bearers here on the island and to the history of the U.S. Army's field artillery community, our Army's King of Battle. Our skilled artisans remain committed to their craft, whether it is the current M119A3 Army howitzer or the 1902 3-inch field gun."
Since April 6, 1950, the field gun has been on display at the Rock Island Arsenal Museum. Due to RIA-JMTC's proximity and capabilities, the gun was sent for refurbishment.
This is the first time RIA-JMTC will refurbish the gun due to deterioration of the protective coatings from previous restorations. Depending on how the gun is stored, RIA-JMTC may be called on in the future to refurbish the gun again.
The work done will bring the gun back to its original luster.
"JMTC will be using the skills and expertise of its employees to repair damage and corrosion from the elements, strip and remove the protective covering from previous restorations and repaint and seal all appropriate parts of carriage, barrel assembly and wooden wheels a flat battleship gray," said Nicole Mertens, RIA-JMTC program manager.
This gun is also important for inter-Island camaraderie and preserving history.
"Projects like this are not only important to keep the skills and expertise of JMTC employees agile, but also to build working relationships with other institutions," said Mertens. "It is important for the museums to preserve pieces of history to show how history plays an important role in our everyday lives. We learn from our past in order to achieve greater influence over our future."