By Mr. Eric Kowal (Picatinny)January 14, 2020
PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. - As with many other military installations, Picatinny Arsenal often receives requests from nearby communities to provide a variety of support throughout the year. It might be providing uniformed service members to speak at a school's Veterans Day assembly, a vehicle for a township's Memorial Day observance, or assisting with a ribbon-cutting celebration.
Recently, Maj. James Eric Word volunteered to speak at Belvidere High School in Belvidere, New Jersey. Word is Military Deputy for Munitions Engineering and Technology Center, which is part of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Armaments Center (CCDC AC).
It was at the school's Veterans Day event that Word met a fellow Soldier, Master Sgt. Eric Symonds, from the New Jersey National Guard Recruiting and Retention Battalion in Dover.
"Master Sgt. Symonds became interested in what we did at Picatinny and CCDC AC after learning about our mission in my presentation to a shared small group of students," Word said. "After exchanging contact information at the event, we began planning a visit of New Jersey National Guard Soldiers to Picatinny."
Word, along with members of the Armaments Center Executive Fellows, created an agenda that would show the visitors some of the technologies that are developed here. Moreover, the agenda would also be aligned with the visitors' various military occupational specialties, deployment experiences, and length of time in service.
Fourteen Soldiers visited the installation on Jan. 9, including three noncommissioned officers assigned to the state's Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) team. This unique group of Soldiers engage, motivate, and encourage students to unlock their unlimited potential by offering resources and experiences to high schools at no cost. The Soldiers perform as instructors and are subject matter experts, certified through a Robotics Professional Development Seminar to instruct everyone from beginners to experienced robotics students.
"The purpose of the visit was to provide insight into what type of technologies we develop within CCDC - AC, highlight the support we provide to Soldiers, establish a relationship with a local unit of Soldiers, and receive feedback from local area users on what we developed and plan to develop in the future," said Word.
"Master Sgt. Symonds and his team also used this as an opportunity to conduct a noncommissioned officer professional development team building activity, and establish initial relationships within CCDC -- AC," he continued.
The visitors received an overview of what the Armaments Center does as well as getting a hands-on look at weapons simulation, prototyping, explosive ordnance disposal operations, fire-control labs, and more.
"I hope the Solders gained a greater understanding of what we do as an armaments community within CCDC AC and that they understood what type of continuous support is available from the entire CCDC AC team," Word said. "Additionally, I hope that once the Soldiers move on to different assignments, they'll be able to use the knowledge and information they received here to be able to reach back and know where to go for possible answer to their problems and also be willing to volunteer information they may think useful to our efforts within CCDC AC and Picatinny community," Word said.