MIDDLETOWN, Iowa. -- The Iowa Army Ammunition Plant held an Earth Day Open House, April 18, to highlight the current installation environmental restoration clean-up efforts.

Earth Day is an annual event celebrated across the world on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. First celebrated in 1970, Earth Day events are now coordinated at more than 200 installations and 193 countries around the world.

"The United States Army has joined the Nation in celebrating Earth Day," said Jordan Gillis, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army of Installations, Energy and Environment. "Army Earth Day is an opportunity to renew our commitment to sound environmental stewardship of the lands entrusted to us; the lands where our Soldiers, Families and Civilians train, live, and work."

This year's 2018 Earth Day theme is: "Sustain the Mission/Secure the Future." The theme reflects the Army's commitment to support readiness through environmental protection.

"Our installations are a critical training resource," added Gillis in his 2018 Earth Day message. "We must maintain and conserve that resource to ensure the Army is ready and capable of accomplishing its warfighting mission now and into the future."

The Iowa ammo plant has the same focus of being a good steward of the property it manages. More than 50 community members were invited to the Earth Day Event hosted by IAAAP Commander, Lt. Col. Stephen Koehler, who invited them to receive an update of the current environmental status.

Aaron Steele, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District Project Manager discussed the plant's clean-up history and installation-wide environmental services contract, and Michael Kessler, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Louis District Program Manager, discussed the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program's recent efforts.

Randy Doyle, IAAAP Environmental Coordinator, discussed the plant's building demolition and restoration projects.

Doyle noted that the plant focused on the warfighting efforts when it was established in 1940, and environmental regulations were created in the 1980s, but have increased over past years.

"The government, the Army, the Department of Defense, are committed to being good stewards to our neighbors," said Doyle.

Doyle briefed the community on the Army's Facility Reduction Program, which demolishes obsolete infrastructure to reduce installations costs, achieve energy savings and prepares the installations for modernization opportunities.

The current obsolete facility reduction effort has demolished 204 structures or 293 thousand square feet of unused infrastructure. In addition, more than 30,000 tons of concrete has been crushed for re-use and more than 793 tons of metal have been recycled, which substantially reduces waste to the local landfill. As part of the environmental clean-up efforts, more than 1,276 tons of asbestos has been abated as well as 40 tons of PCB contaminated lead-based paint debris.

"We coordinate our efforts with our Corps teammates, our subcontractors and the community to ensure we are doing the right things and the right steps," said Doyle. "We want to be efficient and effective with the taxpayer's dollars."

Following the briefs, community members were given a bus tour of restored sites on the plant that were former production lines, disposal areas and firing sites. Doyle provided an overview of the work that has been completed and what has yet to be restored.

The IAAAP loads, assembles and packs medium- and large-caliber ammunition items for the Department of Defense using modern production methods in support of worldwide operations.

The IAAAP is a subordinate organic industrial base facility of the Joint Munitions Command. JMC produces small-, medium- and large-caliber ammunition items for the Department of Defense. The primary mission of JMC is to manage the production, storage, issue, and demilitarization of conventional ammunition for all U.S. military services. JMC is the sustainment and logistics integrator for life-cycle management of ammunition and provides a global presence of technical support to U.S. combat units wherever they are stationed or deployed.