A second Picatinny employee was presented the Armament Graduate School (AGS) Doctor of Philosophy in Armaments Engineering certificate here on Oct. 20, while three other employees received Master of Armament Engineering certificates during the school's sixth commencement ceremony.
Dr. David M. Rophael was recognized for his accomplishments in earning the Doctor of Philosophy in Armaments Engineering certificate. He joins Dr. Tomas R. Bober as the only two Picatinny employees to have successfully completed the program at this time.
The graduation ceremony, which took place on the patio at the Cannon Gates Catering and Conference Center, recognized the 2021 Armament Graduate School class along with six graduates from the 2020 class. Due to the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing guidelines, a virtual ceremony was held last year for students who met the academic achievements required for graduation as part of the 2020 class. Those students were officially recognized during this year’s ceremony along with this year’s 2021 class.
“Although it may have taken an extra year to safely plan the ceremony, I am thankful that the appropriate measures were taken to protect the family members and other commencement attendees,” said Ryan Hanc, a mechanical engineer with the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Armaments Center. “It meant a great deal to both myself and my family to be able to share in the celebration of our accomplishments, and the recognition of the support that our families have lent us along the way.”
Maj. Gen. Miles Brown, Commanding General, U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, attended the ceremony, and provided the commencement address to graduates, family members, and Picatinny Arsenal employees in attendance.
“In 2007, I was a young major serving in Taji, Iraq,” Brown said as he addressed graduates. “I got a phone call from headquarters. I was at the brigade level. We had an area about the size of Massachusetts that we were trying to do security in and they said, ‘Hey, we’ve got this new round come in and it is called Excalibur. We’re going to field it in combat and you got it first.’ I said, ‘No problem. What’s the minimum-range, what’s the maximum range?’”
Excalibur was developed as a longer-ranged alternative to conventional artillery shells, with GPS guidance for improved accuracy.
“I started getting a bunch of specifications,” Brown recalled of his first experience with the 155-mm extended range guided artillery shell. “We validated the minimum range and it was a success. I tell you this because I never had any idea that I would be here 14 years later being a part of something as special as this. The point of the story is, what you do on a day-to-day basis makes a world of difference for Soldiers in combat. At the end of the day, we are always just one generation away from anarchy. Freedom is something we have to pay for every single generation. You pay the price every single day when you work here. It is very important what you do. I just want to share with you that I, along with all the Soldiers here, have used what you develop in combat, and it works. It works because of the testing you have done here.”
To close out the ceremony, Dr. Donald E. Carlucci, Chancellor, AGS, provided remarks to the graduates which included his son, Nicholas Carlucci, who was part of the 2021 graduating class.
“When you become an expert in your field and developing these new and novel systems, you are going to be looked to by others, so you are going to be under the microscope, and people will be following your actions and looking to see what you do. You are a leader now,” Carlucci said.
“When people usually give these commencement speeches you normally hear someone come up and say how your class is going to run out and change the world. Well, you guys actually can,” Carlucci continued. “Every time you improve a weapon system, every time you improve even a little bit of fire control, and you help bring just one Soldier home safely to their family, you’ve changed their world forever.”
The following students were recognized:
Jason I. Franqui
Mina N. Habashy
Ryan D. Hanc
Blace W. Jacobus
Russell A. Jones III
Victoria R. Schamper Gallino
Daniel J. Campbell
Nicholas E. Carlucci
Drew J. Golterman
David M. Rophael
The Armament Graduate School provides a rigorous, graduate-level curriculum in armament engineering. The school is unique in that it integrates chemical, electrical and mechanical engineering disciplines while encompassing statistics, applied mathematics, material science and the scientific method.
The Armament Graduate School is part of the DEVCOM Armaments Center, whose mission is to lead research, development and engineering of systems solutions to arm those who defend the nation against all current and future threats, both at home and abroad.
Work began on the Armament Graduate School in 2009, the first curriculum was developed the following year, and then in 2015 the first class graduated. The purpose of the AGS is to formalize the development of engineers' and scientists' critical skills, a process that has previously occurred at Picatinny primarily through mentoring.