By YVONNE JOHNSON, APG NewsNovember 4, 2009
(Note: This story wraps up the Ordnance Museum move series documenting the Phase 1 relocation of 60 ordnance tanks and guns to the new home of Ordnance at Fort Lee, Va., that was conducted Aug. 3 thru 7. Future moves of additional artifacts in 2010 and 2011 are in the planning stage.)
Museum Director Dr. Joseph T. Rainer is charged with the care of hundreds of priceless ordnance artifacts at the U.S. Army Ordnance Museum which began its move to Fort Lee, Va., in August.
Sixty fully restored tanks and guns were shipped out over a five-day period. Rainer said that phase two of the movement will take place sometime during the first quarter of 2010.
He noted that only restored pieces are being moved which has prompted the museum to speed up the restoration process which is carried out by technicians with EDSI, Inc., the company contracted to restore the museum's aging artifacts.
The recent purchase of a computer-operated plasma torch should speed the process, he said.
"We can cut out pieces a lot faster. That alone will be a huge step forward," Rainer said.
"As we restore them they'll receive a solid protective coating. Unfortunately, they'll have to stay outdoors for a few more years but they'll have a good protective coat for protection."
He said the museum is exploring the cost of temporarily housing the artifacts in a warehouse in or around Petersburg or Hopewell, Va.
Artifacts that have not been restored will not be transported and the museum will be fully relocated by the Dec. 15, 2011 deadline, Rainer said.
Regarding the August move, Rainer was on the ground at Fort Lee where he said he received a lot of support from the Transportation and BRAC Office.
"They had to make some adjustments as far as delivery schedules, but those crane operators were amazing to watch," he said. "They were able to line up pieces, dress-right-dress."
He extended thanks to "the folks at APG who made it all happen." They included Gene Schneck, director of Logistics; Toni Probst, Installation Transportation officer; Gregory Mullins, John Antal, Jeff Crawford and Jim Hardy of the Ordnance Mechanical Maintenance School BRAC office; and Ed Heasley and Nat Grogan of the museum staff.
The move will be completed in three phases and a new facility will house the entire collection near the site of the Women's Army Corps and Quartermaster Museums on Fort Lee, Rainer said.
"Pretty soon, we'll be part of a museum campus," he said.
The museum remains open and veterans and fans of ordnance still can visit the museum to view these items before they depart.
Museum hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.
For more information, visit the Ordnance Museum's new Web site at www.ordnacemuseum.org.