Redstone Arsenal, Ala. - It is with deepest sympathy and sadness that Team Redstone and Amtec Corporation announce the deaths of two contract employees.

Jerry A. Grimes, 58, of Hartselle, Ala., and James R. Hawke, Jr. 53, of Hazel Green, Ala. died May 5 at University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital in Birmingham, Ala., of injuries sustained in an explosion that took place on at 8:45 a.m. May 5 at Building 7352, an Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) facility.

The Department of the Army contractors were employed by Amtec Corp. in support of AMRDEC programs. They were working on demilitarization operations that involved ammonium perchlorate, an oxidizer used in solid rocket propellant.

"We who are a part of Team Redstone share a close bond," said Maj. Gen. Jim Myles, commanding general of Aviation and Missile Command and Redstone Arsenal "When one of our own is hurt it affects us all. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family members and friends of those who passed away."

Daily, the Soldiers, civilians and contract partners of Team Redstone work together toward the common goal of serving those who serve our nation. Although we strive to impose the highest safety standards and constantly improve the safety of our workplace, the work that we perform is inherently dangerous work. We follow very stringent safety standards and train continuously to make sure those standards are observed. In addition, the building had recently passed safety inspections and was designed specifically to minimize the impact of possible explosions.

Trained safety and fire personnel rendered the site of the explosion safe (contained) soon after the explosion. There is no environmental impact. The accident will be fully investigated to discover the cause and work to prevent future incidents from occurring.

Amtec Corporation expresses sincere thanks to staff and personnel at Redstone Arsenal, to the Huntsville community and to others for their response to yesterday\'s events.

Amtec relayed the funeral arrangements for both employees. Additionally, memorial funds have been established in memory of both men and information is provided below.

Arrangements for Mr. Jerry A. Grimes:

Visitation - Friday, May 7, 6-9pm. Funeral - Saturday, May 8, 11am with burial to follow at Center Spring Methodist Church, Sommerville, AL.

Peck's Funeral Home 1600 Hwy 31 SW Hartselle, AL 35640

Arrangements for Mr. James R. Hawke:

Wake - Tuesday, May 11, 6-8pm.

Funeral Mass - Wednesday, May 12, 10am with a Luncheon to follow. Holy Spirit Catholic Church 625 Airport Road Huntsville, AL 35802

Memorial funds have been set up at Redstone Federal Credit Union. Donations may be made at any Huntsville area Redstone Federal Credit Union branch location. Also, RFCU tellers can handle single donations that are divided between the funds in accordance with a donor's instructions. Reference these fund names when making a donation: Jerry A. Grimes Memorial Fund and James R. Hawke Memorial Fund.