The Director of Army Safety and Commander of the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center (USACRC), Brig. Gen. Andrew Hilmes, visited McAlester Army Ammunition Plant, Aug. 31.
The USACRC preserves Army readiness through analysis, training, and the development of systems that prevent accidental loss of our people and resources.
“Our enduring focus is on accident prevention and the preservation of the most valuable component of Army readiness, our people," said Hilmes.
While at MCAAP, Brig. Gen. Hilmes and USACRC Command Sergeant Major William Gardner also visited the Defense Ammunition Center and U.S. Army Technical Center for Explosives Safety (DACTCES).
DACTCES provides worldwide support with technical expertise and training for munitions, explosives safety, and hazardous materials, and is the Center for Excellence for Munitions and Explosives Safety.
Hilmes, who recently was appointed chairman of the DOD Explosives Safety Board (DDESB), said that it is his responsibility to be an advocate for OIB installations to Army senior leadership, in order to get the operational resources and support needed to keep everyone safe. "I need you to show me and tell me — what are the friction points, so we can help you and other installations in the OIB."
MCAAP stores more than 460,000 short-tons of Class V munitions (ammunition of all types), valued at almost $15 billion. These munitions are surveilled by more than 30 certified ammunition inspectors, including 15 quality assurance specialists (ammunition surveillance), to ensure safety and readiness. The majority of the explosives storage magazines were built in the 1940s.
MCAAP’s workforce demilitarizes more than 6,000 short-tons of excess and obsolete ammunition annually, via open burn-open detonation processes, rotary kiln incineration, and multiple disassembly processes.
MCAAP continues to exceed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's regulatory requirements and sustains a world-class safety and health program; the ammunition plant has maintained its OSHA Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Star Status since 2010.
However, safety records don't last forever. "Complacency in the workplace can be a literal killer on the job," said MCAAP Safety Director, James Hammonds.
The Workforce of OIB is the foundation of the strategic readiness and power projection of the Army and the Joint Force. “The safety of our workforce is our number one priority — above all of our core competencies — to produce, store, distribute and demil,” said MCAAP Commander, Col. Michael Hammond.
The engagement reinforced how the Joint Munitions Command and MCAAP support Army Readiness while executing a 15-year modernization strategy to ensure the Organic Industrial Base (OIB) is postured to support surge and future force requirements; and simultaneously keeping our greatest asset — our people — safe.
MCAAP delivers Joint Force Readiness through ammunition production, maintenance, storage, shipment, and demilitarization operations. It plays an integral role within the Joint Munitions Command and the U.S. Army Materiel Command.