PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. - The Picatinny community will honor fallen New Jersey Marine 2nd Lt. John Thomas Wroblewski and his family by dedicating a new Pyrotechnic Research and Technology Complex in his name during a ceremony here Sept. 8 at 1:30 p.m.

Wroblewski, 25, died April 6, 2004 due to injuries received from hostile fire in Al Anbar Province, Iraq, as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. A graduate from Rutgers University and native of Oakridge, N.J., he was the first service member from Morris County to die in the Iraq war.

"This young Marine made the ultimate sacrifice to protect and defend our country. The Picatinny community and the nation are forever grateful for his service," said Brig. Gen. Jonathan Maddux, commanding general. "We're honored to name this state-of-the-art facility, which will provide new technologies to improve the safety of our warfighters, in the memory of this local hero."

The $18 million, 27,000 square-foot facility named in Wroblewski's honor will house the only organization for pyrotechnic research, development and engineering within the U.S. Army. "Almost everything the pyrotechnics engineers do either helps increase warfighter survivability or helps train them to be more prepared to win on the battlefield," said Dr. Gerardo Melendez, director of the Armament, Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC). "This facility will significantly improve their ability to perform that mission."

Pyrotechnic technologies developed at the facility include counter-measure flares, illuminating candles for mortars and artillery, primers, tracers, delay mechanisms for hand grenades and fuzes, expulsion charges for payload munitions, Soldier signaling devices, and training simulators.

The facility will support all branches of the U.S. military, as well as other government agencies, academia and industry, by providing them the capability to do joint design, fabrication, testing and evaluation of pyrotechnic munitions at one location.

"The sheer size, capabilities and increased energetic allowances of this new facility will allow us to do things that we haven't even thought of yet, due to not having such a facility capability before," said James L. Wejsa, chief of the ARDEC Pyrotechnics Technology and Prototyping Division.

Picatinny Arsenal is a Department of Defense center of excellence for the research, development, engineering and fielding of advanced armaments and weapon systems for all branches of the U.S. military. Known as the "Home of American Firepower," the New Jersey installation provides a range of innovative technologies to support and protect today's warfighters. Learn more at www.pica.army.mil