By Dr. Paul-Thomas Ferguson (Joint Munitions Command)November 5, 2019
ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. - U.S. Army Joint Munitions Command, following up on its recent Shape the Fight reorganization, is transforming its headquarters facilities at Rock Island Arsenal's Building 350. The ongoing project includes new murals and displays, transforming building entrances, the command suite, and areas throughout each JMC-occupied floor. When completed, the new look will accurately reflect JMC's current organizational structure and illustrate the ammunition community's historical commitment to supporting the Warfighter.
In consultation with Brig. Gen. Michelle Letcher, Col. Ron Brown, and Command Sgt. Maj. Brian Morrison, the Office of Public and Congressional Affairs formed a rebranding team to complete the project, with the goal of telling the JMC story of ammunition management. The team's primary tasks included researching appropriate materials and developing display options for transforming building entrances, rebranding four JMC-occupied floors and updating the command suite. Several portions of the work are now complete, but the project is ongoing.
Leading this effort are JMC Historian, Keri Pleasant; Multimedia Specialist, Dori Whipple; and Building Manager, Rudy Toth. Together, they respectively provide subject matter expertise, a professional approach to creating visually appealing and informative displays, and experience with the intricate process of successfully completing a building-wide project of this scope.
The team first completed a redesign of the main entrance, which is usually the first area of the building distinguished visitors see. This entryway now includes several historical wall displays and a video depicting the command's present mission. The new design creates a visually-stunning first impression, showing visitors that JMC has a clear vision for the future and an appreciation for its history, while also illustrating the ongoing importance of the ammunition industrial base.
According to Pleasant, "The lobby provides a historical images of production of ammunition items and displays a series of historical posters discussing major changes to ammunition management." The displays continue into the first floor hallway, where, according to Whipple, "you see a shift from history to future vision, highlighting the power projection platforms of JMC facilities and mapping out the scope of Warfighter support."
Some work for the sixth floor is complete. The Ammunition Hall of Fame display outside the Wheeler Conference Room was updated to digital format to allow for easy, cost-effective updating of information. The team also directed the repainting of several areas and the installation of murals that show Warfighters using ammunition in the field. Where possible, murals depicting specific items of ammunition are located near the JMC divisions in charge of managing those items. Similarly, the wall outside the JMC Research Library features a collage of archival images depicting Warfighters using ammunition in a variety of historical conflicts.
Redesign of the sixth floor command suite is ongoing. The main hall now includes a digital display board reflecting the current JMC command structure and will soon include additional displays. These will depict former commanders from 1955 to the present, as well as the lineage of JMC and its predecessor commands. Other sixth-floor plans include adding pictorial wall panels in the Wheeler Conference Room that emphasize the impact of subordinate commands on the joint mission. The team is also finalizing displays for the third, fourth, and fifth floors to depict each active JMC installation from its establishment to the present.
Members of the rebranding team highlight the importance of collaboration in overcoming the challenges presented a project of this scope. They worked individually and collectively with the JMC archives, subordinate installations and other government repositories to locate appropriate historical images and information. The selected images passed security checks before they could be used. Then, each display design needed command approval before the team could secure vendors to produce displays and subcontractors to install them. Cooperation is critical to making such a complex project a reality.
"It requires a lot of behind the scenes administrative coordination," explained Toth. "The goal is to make the process seem easy. But we've been gifted with a lot of great subcontractor support, and together with Keri and Dori we make a great team."
Most of the sixth-floor changes should be complete by the end of the year. Other portions of the project have been approved and will continue into 2020. Though there are several displays left to install, the project has already made an impression on the workforce, several of whom have expressed appreciation for the quality of the completed displays and the mission history they depict. The rebranding team likewise has felt a positive impact from involvement in this project.
In the process of securing photos of ammunition currently in use, Whipple contacted several active units, giving her a new appreciation for what JMC does for the Warfighter. "I got the privilege of reaching out to various activated Army National Guard units and some enlisted Public Affairs Specialists in the field on deployment, Whipple explained. "I got to speak to them directly and hear first-hand how JMC ammunition is essential to their mission."
Toth has extensive experience with efforts to redesign and remodel Building 350, yet he recognizes the special importance of the current effort. "The project has been pretty satisfying in terms of bringing a modern visual look to Building 350, along with a real sense of history to remind everyone what JMC is all about," Toth noted.
Pleasant notes that the project has given her an opportunity to use her command expertise, locating archival materials and writing narratives that bring JMC's history to life. According to Pleasant, "The end product highlights the people we support on the production lines every day, who are putting in the critical work it takes to serve the Warfighter all over the world. At the same time, the project emphasizes our past and the significant efforts and changes that have made JMC more efficient over time, while effectively providing high-quality, lethal munitions."