WATERVLIET ARSENAL, N.Y. -- The four-star commander of the Army Materiel Command visited here Dec. 11 to observe some of the manufacturing processes the arsenal's artisans have in production in their effort to provide immediate and sustained materiel readiness to U.S. and allied troops.

From the forging of an Abrams Tank barrel that was heated to nearly 2,000 degrees to the quality control process for mortar production to seeing an Extended Range Cannon Artillery tube being pressed with hundreds of tons of pressure, Gen. Gus Perna was able to use all of his senses to conclude what he may have already believed: there is no one else "anywhere" who can do what is done here.

Near the end of the visit, Perna leveraged his discussion with reporters to talk to several audiences about what he saw and believed about the Watervliet Arsenal.

To members of Congress, he said what he and the Arsenal needs from them is consistent, predictable funding. If they, members of Congress, could do that then he could sustain workload here to maintain the critical skills that are providing readiness for U.S. forces.

To the community, Perna praised the great support and the relationship the community has with the Arsenal.

And to the arsenal workforce, Perna praised them at every opportunity.

"Clearly the capability that is produced here has a critical role on the battlefield," Perna said. "First and foremost, it is about confidence for our Soldiers … this facility, their reputation, the artisan workforce that come to work every day contributes to that confidence. Their relevance should not be lost that they are here in New York. They are impacting on the battlefield every day."

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The Watervliet Arsenal (pronounced water-vleet) is an Army-owned and -operated manufacturing facility located in Watervliet, New York. The Arsenal is the oldest, continuously active arsenal in the United States having begun operations during the War of 1812. It is a subordinate command to the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) and the U.S. Army Materiel Command.