DETROIT ARSENAL, WARREN, MI Ac"a,! Armed Forces Day is widely recognized as a celebration to honor Americans serving in the military - past and present - and on May 18 it was also a chance to showcase the exciting steps that the U.S. Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC) is taking to develop new ground vehicle technology for the future force.
TACOM, headquartered at the Detroit Arsenal in Warren, Mich., took that celebration to the next level. Hosted by TACOM LCMC Commanding General Major General Scott G. West, TACOM held a groundbreaking ceremony for several major construction projects at the Detroit Arsenal and followed the ceremony with an Armed Forces Day celebration for local area veterans and community leaders. Special guests included U.S. Senator Carl Levin, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and his brother U.S. Representative Sander Levin. Sen. Levin lauded the work TACOM is doing and how important it is to have an organization like this in Michigan.
"This is a center of excellence for manned and unmanned vehicles and it is growing. We are growing for a lot of reasons. We have tremendous skills here. We are, and will continue to be, a center of excellence in the development of vehicles," remarked Sen. Levin. "In the military world, when it comes to vehicles, we are getting bigger, better and smarter. This addition is evidence of that."
The new construction will include an eight story administrative facility, multi-level parking structure and a new weapons systems support and training facility. This new infrastructure is scheduled for completion by summer 2011.
"There is no better way to celebrate Armed Forces Day then a ceremony like this that shows that we are going to do everything we can to support our Armed Forces, whether it is weaponry or training," commented Sen. Levin. "We owe the military so much. This Nation is who we are because they [our veterans] put on the uniform of this country."
The new buildings will house more than 1,200 employees, whose positions will be transferring from the Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois as part of the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Act (BRAC) of 2005.
Also attending the celebration were key leaders from Program Executive Office (PEO) Ground Combat Systems, PEO Combat Support and Combat Service Support, the Integrated Logistics Support Center and U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC). Additionally, representing Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm was Major General Thomas G. Cutler, Adjutant General of the Michigan National Guard.
"This groundbreaking is a sign of great things. It consolidates some important capabilities and grows the Detroit Arsenal considerably by a number of people. Equally important it grows capabilities and our ability to help support the Soldiers," West explained. "Along with Selfridge Air National Guard Base, we are the center of military life in the state of Michigan."
Following the groundbreaking ceremony, the Detroit Arsenal hosted an Armed Forces Day celebration that highlighted TACOM LCMC's contributions to warfighters for nearly a century. Current military personnel, veterans and community leaders had the opportunity to view Army ground vehicle systems, past, present and future. Systems on display included: Army jeeps and support vehicles from World War II, Korea and Viet Nam; current vehicles like the Abrams tank, Bradley Fighting Vehicle, and Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles; and TARDEC's latest advancements in robotics technology, Product Manager Joint Light Tactical Vehicles advanced systems prototypes on display, and Future Combat Systems' latest advancements on display.
"The benefits of doing these projects bring more of the military mission here so we can be the center of excellence of manned and unmanned ground vehicles," said Brenda McCullough, Garrison Manager, U.S. Army Garrison-Detroit Arsenal. "I think this is a wonderful event to have military technology from the past and future in one place. Once people see the military equipment through history, they will see how important that connection of the past to the present is."
TACOM also had an awards ceremony for SSG Robert Ankobea-Ansah. He was selected for singular honors as TACOM's 2009 Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year. Ankobea-Ansah was presented with a savings bond and received high praise from West. "You only have to be around this guy a couple minutes to understand why he is receiving this award," said West. "He is a tremendous representative of your Army. He is a great Soldier and a great non-commissioned officer."
TACOM, a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command, develops, acquires, fields, and sustains Soldier and ground systems for the warfighter through the integration of effective and timely acquisition, logistics, and cutting-edge technology. TACOM, together with the PEOs, TARDEC and the ILSC, form the Ground Vehicle Enterprise with the combined mission of making U.S. warfighters the most survivable, sustainable, deployable and lethal fighting force on Earth.