KINGSPORT, Tenn. – (June 6, 2022) Holston Army Ammunition Plant celebrated 80 years of operating and producing explosives in support of the U.S. Army and the warfighter on June 6.
The HSAAP marked the occasion with an outdoor ceremony to include the burial of a time capsule that contains items reflecting the last 80 years of fulfilling the Holston ordnance mission. Built in 1942, HSAAP was operational in less than two years – an achievement that ultimately changed the landscape of the entire world during wartime.
Jeff Worley, deputy commander, HSAAP, narrated the ceremony and provided the description of the time capsule used to highlight the event.
"This time capsule contains historical reports, engineering designing tools, an old wooden water line, a hydrometer used to check the density of the solvent in the manufacturing process of RDX, a complete list of both the government staff members and BAE employees, information on the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects it had on the day-to-day operations of Holston, along with various other items that represents each department," said Worley. "It also contains letters to the future leaders of Holston from the current commander, Lt. Col. Carpenter, JMC Command Sgt. Maj. Petra Casarez and Mr. Jeff Russell, general manager, BAE Systems, Inc. The time capsule will be opened in 2042 in celebration of the 100th anniversary, and the intent of this time capsule is to capture some of the past and present to share with the future men and women who will make up Team Holston."
"Holston Army Ammunition Plant celebrates an important milestone this summer as 2022 marks 80 years of support to the Warfighter," said Lt. Col. Scott Carpenter, commanding officer, HSAAP. "This site and community have served our nation for eight decades and supported every major conflict since World War II. In 1942, we had one product here at Holston and now we have the ability to produce more than 80. When we started out, Holston had 10 production lines, but through the years, working more efficiently, we're down to two production lines, but remain fully capable to produce those 80 products."
More than three generations of dedicated Americans have continued to run the Holston site since its beginning. Running at full capacity across 10 lines, and operated by a largely female workforce, Holston delivered a tactical advantage over the German U-boats during World War II, and soon the war was won.
"In the Army, we consider our greatest asset and number one priority to be our people, and accordingly we would like to pay special tribute to the many individuals and generations of families who have honorably served at Holston over the last 80 years," said Carpenter. "We honor their commitment in supporting and continuing to support our Army's ability to deploy, fight, and win our nation's wars."
In 1999, BAE Systems became the second operating contractor of Holston under a government-owned, contractor-operated agreement. The company has been dedicated for more than two decades to ensuring mission success.
It has been stated by many that winning wars isn't done by mistake, but by extensive planning and innovation. "Such innovations are critical to our modern warfighter and for the safety of the user; it saves lives both on and off the battlefield," said Carpenter. "The Holston Research and Development team developed IMX-101 to replace TNT in artillery, as IMX-101 is much safer to handle and store than TNT, yet equally effective." In fact, Time magazine named IMX-101 among “The 50 Best Inventions of 2010.” The Research and Development team continues to explore and innovate on the cutting edge of the next phase of warfare.
The day-to-day function of the Holston plant is as important as the ammunition they make. One of the most recent and notable projects was the construction of the natural-gas fire steam plant that replaced the coal-fire steam plant which served the site since 1943. The new natural-gas steam facility incorporates best available emission control technologies, which have reduced emissions of several regulated criteria pollutants. In fact, Holston recently executed a test that revealed the system is operating in full compliance and well-below permitted limits.
Holston continues to make efforts to divert waste away from open burning grounds. So far they have diverted more than 10,000 cubic yards of production waste, seven million pounds of building debris, and 45 million pounds of concrete and metal to be recycled.
"Holston provides a sense of purpose, immediacy and impact and encourages the workforce to constantly think about what comes next," said Carpenter. "The Holston workforce has been, and will continue to be an important part of the history of our nation, and we are prepared to handle the needs of the future, both here and around the world."
HSAAP is a subordinate installation of the Joint Munitions Command. From its headquarters at the Rock Island Arsenal, JMC operates a nationwide network of conventional ammunition manufacturing plants and storage depots, and provides on-site ammunition experts to U.S. combat units wherever they are stationed or deployed. JMC's customers are U.S. forces of all military services, other U.S. government agencies and allied nations.