WATERVLIET ARSENAL, N.Y. -- Employees with prior military service were recently honored during a Veterans Day ceremony in the newly renovated O'Keefe Hall at Watervliet Arsenal.
Col. Milton Kelly, arsenal commander, opened the event by thanking the Watervliet veterans for their military service and for their continued service as Department of Defense civilians. "You chose to work for the Department of the Army because you have a sense of duty to your country that didn't end when you left the service. It is that patriotism and your continued service to this country that make you some of the most valuable people at Watervliet Arsenal."
Kelly continued by stressing the importance of providing support for veterans. He said, "For centuries, our nation has relied upon the willingness of its citizens to serve as Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen to defend her at home and abroad. We need to ensure we take care of them -- that is the least we can do."
The event was also significant because this year marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I and the 17th year that the United States military has been fighting the Global War on Terrorism, making veterans of GWOT the largest population of veterans since the Vietnam War.
Currently, veterans make up over 35 percent of the civilian workforce at Watervliet Arsenal, making the arsenal one of the largest employers of veterans in New York's capital region.
Watervliet Arsenal is an Army-owned-and-operated manufacturing facility and is the oldest continuously active arsenal in the United States, having begun operations during the War of 1812. It celebrated its 200th anniversary on July 14, 2013. Today's arsenal is relied upon by the U.S. and foreign militaries to produce the most advanced, high-tech, high-powered weaponry for cannons, howitzers and mortar systems.