VX delivered: Rockets transported for destruction

By Jana FeltsApril 14, 2022

VX delivered: Rockets transported for destruction
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Blue Grass Chemical Activity personnel strap the last of the VX rockets onto a tray for loading into an enhanced on-site container. (Photo Credit: Jana Felts) VIEW ORIGINAL
VX delivered: Rockets transported for destruction
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Blue Grass Chemical Activity toxic materials handlers guide the last of the VX rockets into an enhanced on-site container for delivery to the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant for demilitarization. (Photo Credit: Jana Felts) VIEW ORIGINAL

BLUE GRASS ARMY DEPOT, Kentucky – Crews at the Blue Grass Chemical Activity have loaded the last of stockpiled rockets containing the nerve agent VX for transport to the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant. This leaves only one munition type in storage at BGCA, moving the U.S. closer to meeting international treaty obligations to destroy stockpiled chemical weapons.

“BGCA has been an integral part of the chemical demilitarization enterprise through successful delivery support of four of five chemical weapon campaigns,” Lt. Col. Edward Williams, commander of BGCA. “Our ‘can do’ attitude, proven mettle, and synergistic discipline holistically supports OPCW’s goal of globally eliminating chemical weapons worldwide; well done!”

BGCA is responsible for the safe and secure storage and delivery support of the Nation’s remaining chemical weapons stockpile until destruction. The stockpile at BGCA originally consisted of World War II era munitions including projectiles containing either mustard, GB or VX, as well as rockets filled with GB or VX. The delivery of these rockets completes the fourth of five delivery support campaigns, leaving only GB rockets in the stockpile at BGCA.

Prior to entry into any earth covered magazine BGCA monitoring systems operator/mechanics sample the inside ambient to ensure the safety of workers entering the magazine. After given the all clear, teams of toxic material handlers bring the pallets of rockets, one by one, to be loaded onto the tray and then into the enhanced on-site container for transport to the destruction plant. Inventory specialists ensure the correct pallets are selected to maintain accountability and quality assurance specialist/ammunition surveillance personnel examine the entire process to ensure the load complies with regulation.

“The commitment shown by toxic material handler crews, monitoring system operator/mechanics, inventory specialists and quality assurance personnel working day-in and day-out to accomplish this mission is commendable,” David Velaquez, director of chemical operations. “During the changeover period, our team will continue to hone our skills and processes, train and certify new employees and continue conducting equipment maintenance operations in order to support BGCAPP to rid the world of chemical weapons.”

BGCA personnel will maintain their expertise to ensure a smooth transition to the last munition type later this year. Chemical crews and others involved in the movement of munitions will conduct training, review standard operating procedures and conduct required maintenance in order to support destruction efforts.

Destruction of the chemical weapons stockpile is expected to be completed by the Chemical Weapons Convention mandated date of September 30, 2023.