By Kevin Jackson, AMCFebruary 22, 2018
McALESTER ARMY AMMUNITION PLANT, Okla. -- Leaders at the production facility, here, peeled back some layers of secrecy to give visitors from the local community an inside look at the military munitions industry during a visit on Feb. 15.
"I was expecting it to be more of a military operation and one of the biggest surprises is that it's actually run more like a business," said Shawn Eaton-Philips, one of 14 members of Leadership McAlester, who came for a tour.
The visit began with the command video, which outlined the plant's core competencies of munitions production, storage, distribution and demilitarization. It was followed by a briefing with additional details of each.
"Our mission and our vision is all about providing readiness for the Warfighter," said Brian Foris, chief of Business Development, during the introduction.
"We are here to provide the troops with what they need. We want to make sure we have a globally dominant force."
Following the overview, the visitors were given a walking tour of a bomb production line and a specialty munition facility. They also received a windshield tour of an outload pad, where munitions are prepared for distribution.
The Leadership McAlester members participating in the tour work for the City of McAlester, First National Bank, The Bank NA, McAlester Regional Health Center, Kiamichi Technology Center and a local boutique. Only one person had never visited or had no connection to the installation.
Shawn Eaton-Philips, who works for the McAlester Regional Health Center, said she was surprised by what she learned during the three-hour visit.
"I was a little overwhelmed -- in a good way -- by the sheer size [of the installation] and scalability of the operations," Eaton said.
"I was intrigued by the people who are working here and all they do every day to ensure our military is prepared and ready, and the efforts that are taken to reduce costs and create operational efficiencies," the Fort Worth, Texas, native added.
The group is the third class of Leadership McAlester, which began in 2015, and is organized and coordinated by the McAlester Chamber of Commerce.
Leadership McAlester is designed to give future leaders the opportunity to learn more about their community and develop relationships with people in other industries.
MCAAP is one of 17 installations of the Joint Munitions Command and one of 23 organic industrial base facilities under the U.S. Army Materiel Command