By Mark Henry (BGAD)September 9, 2019
BLUE GRASS ARMY DEPOT, RICHMOND, Ky. -- As the lead munitions sustainer to America's joint warfighters, U.S. Army Joint Munitions Command's installations have the same primary mission: get the right munitions…to the right place…at the right time...every time. The JMC vision puts it more succinctly: Provide Lethality That Wins!"
The underlying message is winning matters! An inseparable element of winning, shared across the Army and JMC Enterprise, is the commitment to continuous improvement…the un-relenting process of finding and implementing more efficient and effective methods and processes to better ensure mission success and winning at all levels.
After many years of planning, preparation, construction and system optimization, Kentucky's Blue Grass Army Depot is set to begin a new, higher level of munitions readiness with the opening of its consolidated truck and rail shipping center in September 2019.
What once was an outdoor loading platform with six rail lines, a nearby blocking and bracing facility and a truck loadout center located a mile away, now includes a state-of-the-art multi-million dollar central processing indoor facility co-located on BGAD's primary loading platform.
"Shipping ammo has been our bread and butter for 77 years," says BGAD Deputy of Mission Management, Joel Kallenberger. "As such, we've always focused on ways to improve our shipping processes. But after decades of analysis and adjustments, we had pretty much maxed out the process. We came to the realization several years back that the next big step forward in maximizing shipping efficiencies would have to evolve around a new facility that would allow a consolidation of all shipping process at one location. More or less, a one-stop-shop for ammo shipping."
According to Kallenberger, the new consolidated operation facility is expected to provide benefits well beyond reduced physical proximities, economies of scale, customer satisfaction and quality by reducing man hours, labor costs, transportation costs, overall out loading costs, lead time and energy costs.
"Before consolidation, shipments departed BGAD in what are called standard depot configured loads, which required breaking down and reconfiguring into 'combat' configured loads before delivery to the warfighter," stated Kallenberger. "Now, with our state-of-the-art shipping center, we have the capability to directly ship combat configured loads. That's a huge step forward in helping the Army and JMC realize their priorities of strategic and material readiness to ensure globally dominate land force capabilities."
Kallenberger mentioned another key benefit of the new consolidated operation: the elimination of ammo compatibility problems when awaiting load out either on an open-air pad or non-blast proof truck dock. Now, non-compatible ammo and explosives can be concurrently received, packed and shipped…directly impacting munitions readiness for our joint warfighters by providing rapid support for overseas contingency operations.
Additional benefits include: secure and efficient storage for a full range of munitions; maximized operations during inclement weather; reduced need for separate operations at widely-disbursed warehouses and loading pads; improved quality work environment for employees; 13,000 square feet of storage and shipping area with five blast-proof staging bays and one shop bay; a 4,000 square foot admin area and trucker lounge; and 100,000 square feet of concrete hardstand with truck scale.
Col. Joseph R. Kurz, BGAD Commander, says there is great anticipation for the first official day of operations. "The process for bringing this new consolidated shipping center to reality began long before I arrived," said Kurz. "Many of our long-time personnel have waited for years to see this achievement and are understandable anxious. Essentially, this is a new beginning for BGAD shipping, but its future operations also will serve as a road map for other JMC installations looking to achieve higher levels of readiness. The shipping challenges faced here at BGAD are not unique to our installation."
"What was at one time an open storage, rail-only area that provided personnel minimum levels of protection while not affording the ability to consolidate non-compatible munitions, has been transformed into what we expect to become JMC's shining example of excellence in munitions and material readiness that will ensure our Soldiers remain the best-equipped fighting force in the world."