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Posted: Saturday, October 26, 2013 11:22 pm | Updated: 12:30 pm, Thu May 1, 2014.

First Army welcomes new command sergeant major

ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL — Command Sgt. Maj. Sam K. Young was welcomed by First Army in a change of responsibility ceremony Oct. 18 at the Rock Island Arsenal's Heritage Hall.

Young accepted the responsibility as the unit's senior enlisted leader from Lt. Gen. Michael S. Tucker, First Army commander.

He replaced Command Sgt. Maj. Jesse L. Andrews Jr., who has served since October 2010. A command sergeant major is the senior enlisted leader and adviser to the commander. Young will provide counsel and input for all matters pertaining to the health, welfare and discipline of all First Army soldiers.

"The formal transition of responsibility reaffirms the Army's steadfast commitment to provide superior leadership and senior enlisted oversight to our First Army soldiers who are responsible for the training of our Nation's Reserve Component Forces," said Tucker.

"The mission of sustaining Reserve Component readiness is a tough and demanding job," added Tucker. "Our soldiers execute that mission to a high standard, the Army standard, day in and day out and Command Sgt. Maj. Andrews led this effort everyday from the front."

First Army mobilizes, trains, deploys and demobilizes all Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve forces throughout the continental United States, providing trained and ready forces for diverse missions worldwide. First Army effectively trained and mobilized more than 93,000 soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen while Andrews was assigned to First Army.

"Thank you Quad-Cities for the warm welcome and the reception I received when I arrived here," said Andrews. "It's really been a unique experience serving here at the Rock Island Arsenal. How many people can say they go to work in the middle of the river?

"I consider myself blessed in so many ways, and being stationed here with First Army has been one of them," he said. "First Army observer controller/trainers are the best in the business. They are smart, they are sharp, they work some crazy hours, but most of all, they care about each and every troop they're training to go downrange. I am proud to have been on their team."

Young, who joined the Army in 1986, most recently was command sergeant major at the U.S. Army Field Artillery School, Fort Sill, Okla. He has served more than 27 years in various Army assignments. His other previous assignments included overseas deployments to Operation Golden Pheasant in Honduras; Operation Just Cause in Panama; Operation Desert Thunder in Kuwait and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Young went on to acknowledge the Quad-Cities community and First Army soldiers. "We're extremely excited to be a part of the Rock Island Arsenal and the Quad-Cities area," he said. "First Army team, I look forward to working with you. The responsibility of training our Army's reserve component units is a huge task. I'm proud to be on your team and ready to meet the challenge of training our Nation's Reserve Component for today's requirements and tomorrow's contingencies."

- Submitted by Tony Lopez, First Army Media Relations Specialist


Tooele's Ammunition Test Site performs cryofracture and treatment study

A Cryobath container full of liquid nitrogen and a cryopress test fixture are being used to freeze and crush Department of Defense munitions.

Sub munitions, M74 anti-personnel, M75 anti tank mines, and MK118 rockeye bomblets have been identified to be part of the feasibility study to cryofracture the sub munitions and incinerate them in the Ammunition Testing Facility, Ammunition Peculiar Equipment 1236M2 Deactivation Furnace at Tooele Army Depot, Tooele, Utah.

The technical team consists of the Ammunition Equipment Directorate at Tooele Army Depot; Program Manager for Demilitarization, Picatinny Arsenal, N.J.; and General Atomics. This partnership has been in place since the late 1980s and has led to many successful test programs. The current study started late last fall and is expected to be completed by spring.

Cryofracture involves cooling a munition in liquid nitrogen for about 15 minutes, then crushing its casing in the Cryofracture Press with hydraulic power, followed by the entire munition being fed at approximately 425 degrees through the APE 1236 Deactivation Testing Furnace.

The process evaluates the feasibility of the cryofracture process as a pre-processing step (exposing explosive & mechanical components) for the demilitarization of mines and submunitions. The test also will determine the capability and feed rate in the APE 1236 Deactivation Furnace System to incinerate cryofractured munitions.

Safety is a primary factor in the cryofracture process. In addition to highly conservative safety features for normal facility operations, safety features also are provided for unexpected or off-normal events.

The portion of the system where munitions are crushed is surrounded by an explosive-containment chamber designed to protect equipment and personnel in the event of an unexpected detonation. Containment of dust and vapors is assured, and several remote features minimize personnel exposure and risk.

Cryofracture provides the flexibility to safely destroy any type of munitions in any condition, making it uniquely applicable to old and abandoned munitions. Other demilitarization processes depend on the ability to disassemble the munitions or the use of slow accessing processes to expose the munition contents for destruction or recycle.

Old and abandoned munitions are usually degraded, and details of internal construction may not be well known. Cryofracture provides a rapid, reliable, robust process to access the munitions without contaminating the contents or requiring munition disassembly. Cryofracture also is compatible with a variety of subsequent processing steps, including other demilitarization technologies developed by GA.

"The AED test facility at TEAD provides a unique opportunity for clients like PM Demil to validate demilitarization processes. The combination of AED knowledge of ammunition-related equipment, remote test location and availability of the overall depot mission allows for a valuable service for our customers," said Brent Hunt, AED general engineer for Tooele Army Depot.

Tooele Army Depot is the Department of Defense's western region conventional ammunition hub supporting Warfighter readiness through superior receipt, storage, issue, demil and renovation of conventional ammo and the design, manufacture, fielding and maintenance of ammo peculiar equipment.

TEAD is one of 14 installations 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.

-- Submitted by Kathy Anderson, Tooele Army Depot Public Affairs


The Louisiana Purchase of 1803 and Rock Island

The story of the U.S. Government's interest in Rock Island began with the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, which has been described as the greatest real estate deal in history.

In 1803, the United States paid France $15 million for the Louisiana Territory -- 828,000 square miles of land west of the Mississippi River at a cost of less than 0.03 cents per acre. The lands acquired stretched from the Mississippi River to the current Idaho and from the Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian border.

The Louisiana Purchase nearly doubled the size of the United States, making the U.S. one of the largest nations in the world. The land bought in 1803 had a long history of ownership by native tribes, the Spanish and French. The first European settler was Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle in 1682. He established Louisiana and created a trade control hub at the mouth of the Mississippi River.

Living on the frontier was difficult, and the early settlers were not the families needed for a permanent population. Most of the early inhabitants were soldiers, slaves, clerics and convicts.

Settlement of this new French land soon took a backseat to the prevailing French and Indian War from 1754-1763. After eventual defeat, France ceded western Louisiana and New Orleans to Spain and lost Canada and eastern Louisiana to the British.

Now under Spanish control, the transformation of frontier to buzzing metropolis still failed to happen. In fact, most of the inhabitants of the Louisiana area still were French. Spanish officials were slow to move leaders and residents into the area, and when government officials arrived, they quickly were rotated through, leaving little constant leadership.

This lackadaisical Spanish ruling opened the door for another country's strong leader to claim the Louisiana territory. In this case, it was a reclaiming; French leader Napoleon Bonaparte seized the land legally by the 1800 Treaty of San Ildefonso, although Spanish signing of the treaty was forced.

Once again French-owned, the Louisiana area became of pressing interest to the United States. Fearing that American trade on the Mississippi might be negatively affected, President Thomas Jefferson decided to make the French an offer they could not refuse.

Little did the American administration know that, because of financial debt and an ongoing slave revolt in Haiti, France already had decided to sell Louisiana. This culminated in American ownership of the Louisiana area.

The land deal was signed in April 1803, ratified by the Senate in October and marked by formal ceremony in March 1804 in St Louis.

The United States was quick to send explorers into the new territory, the best known being Lewis and Clark. However, by 1805 Zebulon Pike was exploring the upper Mississippi and reported back that he had found a "Big Island," the future site of the Rock Island Arsenal.

-- Submitted by Kiri Hamilton, ASC history volunteer


JMC commander hosts town hall in midst of fiscal uncertainty

ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL -- The Joint Munitions Command is under new command, and it's a new fiscal year, but old worries carried over.

Following the Oct. 1 federal shutdown that took many employees off the clock, back on the job doesn't mean back to business as usual.

During an Oct. 9 town hall, Brig. Gen. Kristin K. French, commander, addressed her workforce nationwide (some by live video streaming) speaking directly to the challenges she and the command face. The town hall was not only her first at JMC but probably one of the most important.

Fiscal Year 2014 began with a federal shutdown. With the current lapse in federal appropriations, the focus shifts to mission essential functions, she said.

"I know that the bottom line is the money is gone, the financial constraints are out there, and we have to figure out how we can best support our core mission: munitions support to the Joint Forces with what AMC (Army Materiel Command) and Army has provided us.

"We will continue to work on that and posturing ourselves for success. And that's going to be a lot of hard work from a lot of folks across the command," French said.

She detailed the path forward in FY14. Before addressing her five priorities, she began with an update on SHARP, (the Army's sexual harassment/assault response and prevention program) emphasizing the importance of training, proper reporting and making sure awareness of the program reaches every part of her command.

French then outlined her five priorities: munitions logistics support to the Joint Forces, shaping JMC support to the Joint Forces, transition in the face of future uncertainties, safety; and taking care of military personnel, civilians and their families.

-- Munitions logistics support to the Joint Forces

"Everyone is agreeing that we are focusing more and more on our core capabilities and that is something the entire workforce has to focus on. We cannot think that we're going to be able to bring in work that we are not trained to do or don't have the capacity to do," French said.

"We can't build more systems in our organizations. We have to stay with our core capabilities – and that is across the entire Army that we're pushing that. So it's important to focus on core capabilities," she said.

-- Shaping JMC support to the Joint Forces

French made it clear JMC has three components to its mission.

"JMC's mission is really (receipt), storing, and issuing munitions, and making sure that we do everything with regard to the life cycle and support to the Warfighter. I will tell you that we're doing a great job, and I'm really proud of the sites and what they're doing," she said.

-- Transition in the face of future uncertainties

"The Army is changing and I've said this to some people, but just to reiterate: The Army is going down from 570,000 to 490,000 soldiers in the next about 20 months. Eighty-thousand active duty Army soldiers will be either separated (or not assessed into the Army) in the next 20 months. There is no way that the civilian workforce or the contract workforce can stay the same number as they are today. We have to properly resize, reshape our headquarters (our civilian and contract workforce) to be proportional to the drop in the active duty military workforce," French said.

-- Safety

"Without a doubt, we're in a dangerous business. I knew we were in a dangerous business, but then as I started peeling back the onion, visiting our sites, seeing how they operate day-in and day-out; with some of the ways they have to do their mission because of the safety policies … I just would tell you, I'm thrilled with our safety numbers and how we're keeping our numbers down. Right now, the numbers are really low, which is good for incidents but they're happening all the time.

"There are some workforce safety issues and there's some off-duty safety issues. The important thing is we provide the training, facilities, the equipment (personal protection equipment) and all the things that we need to do to make sure that we are providing a safe environment for our people.

"Safety is crucial in all we do," said French.

-- Taking care of military personnel, civilians and their families

"There are so many avenues to reach out for help, for assistance, for comfort, for support. I would tell you that, again, I've been in a community before (several assignments now) that I've had a predominantly civilian workforce. There are a lot of people who don't want their business out in the street; they want to keep it in their family or in their own house.

"I would ask you to rework that and know there are so many assets out there that can provide support to family members, to DA civilians and to the military," she said.

Finally, French took questions from the workforce, thanked them and reassured that as requirements and guidance change she will continue to provide updates.

From its headquarters in Rock Island, 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.

-- Submitted by Rikeshia Davidson, JMC Public Affairs

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