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McAlester Army Ammunition Plant (MCAAP)
Defense Ammunition Center
McAlester, OK

The Army has adopted a "tiered" ammunition depot concept to reduce infrastructure, eliminate static non-required ammunition stocks, decrease manpower requirements, increase efficiencies, and permit the Army to manage a smaller stockpile. The tiered depot concept reduces the number of active storage sites and makes efficiencies possible. A "tier 1" installation will support a normal/full-up activity level with a stockage configuration of primarily required stocks and minimal non-required stocks requiring demilitarization. Normal activity includes daily receipts/issues of training stocks, storage of war reserve stocks required in contingency operations and additional war reserve stocks to augment lower level tier installation power projection capabilities. Installations at this activity level receive requisite levels of storage support, surveillance, inventory, maintenance and demilitarization.

The plant, as a Tier 1 installation, will be required to ship ammunition quickly during the first 30 days of a military conflict. McAlester, one of four Tier I ammunition storage facilities in the Department of Defense and its largest in terms of storage capability. McAlester has the capacity and the requirement to be able to ship 400 20-foot containers of explosive ordnance a day for 30 days in the event of a conflict, giving mothballed production facilities around the country the chance to fire up again, its officials added. McAlester sprawls over 42,000 acres in rural, southeastern Oklahoma and wild turkey and deer wander among its more than 2,400 explosive storage facilities. It handles anything from 7.62 mm rounds to 5,000-pound bombs and much in between. The turtle-shell-like magazines stretch row after row, connected by road and rail line.

During 1998 the Oklahoma National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserve provided McAlester Army Ammunition Plant, Oklahoma, with a much-needed facelift as a part of their annual training exercise, "Golden Kastle '98." More than 1,500 citizen-soldiers from engineer units completed $5.4 million worth of construction projects that otherwise would have cost the plant considerably more. The guardsmen built a surge support base camp for the reservists who worked on road and magazine projects that enhanced the plant's ability to meet Tier 1 requirements. The reservists paved 4.5 miles of road, prepared 8.4 miles for paving, built concrete truckstop pads at 19 railroad crossings, and extended the drive-through slabs at 30 ammunition storage magazines.

For years, ammunition was stored at secure bunkers at McAlester Army Ammunition Plant. When needed, trains could pull up to the bunker and ammunition was offloaded for transport to parts unknown. But that isn't fast enough any more. To fix the problem, some 1,800 citizen-soldiers rotated through McAlester from April to August 2001 as part of an exercise dubbed "Golden Kastle." These soldiers used their construction skills to build and enhance roads, and extend loading docks so that tractor-trailer trucks can also assist in the loading process

The Defense Ammunition Center (DAC), formerly located in Savanna, Illinois, is now based in the foothills of the Ozarks in McAlester, Oklahoma. The Center is a tenant agency on the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant. It serves a unique role as part of the US Army Operations Support Command (OSC).

The McAlester Naval Ammunition Depot now the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant (MCAAP) was born in the dark days of World War II. The nation, on December 7, 1941, had one Naval Ammunition Depot at Hawthorne, Nevada, to support the Navy's Pacific Fleet and was building another at Crane, Indiana, to support the Atlantic Fleet. With war, the Navy began looking for sites for at least three more inland depots. A group of prominent citizens in McAlester heard about the Navy's search and immediately formed a task force in the hope of securing one of the deports for McAlester to boost the depressed economy of the area. The task force, with the aid of Senator Elmer Thomas and Congressman Wilbur Cartwright, convinced the Navy to consider McAlester as a site for one of the new depots. The other two were subsequently located at Shumaker, Arkansas, and Hastings, Nebraska.

The Navy announced its choice on June 10, 1942. The Government, after the announcement, filed a "declaration of taking" under the Second War Powers Act in the Eastern Oklahoma District Court. The action allowed the Navy to take immediate possession of the land-nearly 45,000 acres located nine miles south of the city of McAlester. The land, at the time, was owned by farmers and ranchers, many of whom sent their children to a small two-room school house built as a WPA project in the 1930's. That school house-known as C-Tree School-still stands at the plant.

Under the "declaration of taking" the Government paid an average of $15 per acre for the land. The original land purchase, with improvements, amounted to nearly $3 million. The Navy, after the land purchase, awarded the initial construction contract to Brown-Bellows Construction Company. Construction, after starting in August of 1942, proceeded so rapidly that it was possible to hold commissioning ceremonies on May 20, 1943.

The depot, at the time of commissioning, consisted of 1,833 storage magazines, 197 permanent buildings, 235 miles of surfaced and paved roads and 140 miles of railroad track. Three months later, the first production-namely 5-inch 38 projectiles-came off the line. The depot, during the remaining years of war, employed more than 8,000 people and produced 325,000 tons of munitions, including 16-inch gun ammunition, rockets, mines, and depth charges.

After the war, the McAlester depot continued to store, renovate and maintain Naval munitions and, in early 1950's, was tasked to ship this ammunition as well as new production to meet the Navy's needs in the Korean Conflict. More than 3,000 people were employed at the depot during the Korean Conflict. Employment, after the war, dropped as the workload decreased and hit an all-time low of 632 employees in 1958.

With America's growing involvement in Vietnam, new demands were placed on McAlester to both ship munitions already in storage and produce new ammunition. The depot, as it did for the Korean Conflict, responded almost immediately. More than 3,000 people were employed, and many of these worked on a three-shift operation on the depot's bomb lines. During the war, McAlester employees produced more than six million low drag bombs. 13 million 2.75 inch rockets, 556, 000 Zuni rockets and 34.5 million rounds of 20 millimeter gun ammunition as well as a special type of 40 millimeter gun projectile.

Shortly before the end of the war, the depot received a requirement to load, assemble, and pack a new type of munitions-the Navy's Anti-Material, Anti-Personnel (APAM) cluster weapon-and, during the eight year period ending in 1980, produced more than six thousand containing 717 bomblets each. Four years after Vietnam in 1977, the depot, along with its sister installations at Hawthorne and Crane, was designated a single manager installation for conventional munitions and was transferred from Navy to Army. The depot, at that time, was renamed the MCAAP.

The plant's mission is twofold, in that it continues to serve both as a munitions storage and maintenance depot as well as a production facility in its six production area-namely the 20-Millimeter, 40-Millimeter, Major Caliber, Medium Caliber, Rocket, and Bomb and Mine production areas. The plant has demonstrated more than once that it can quickly meet the conventional ammunition needs of its customers-primarily Navy and Air Force. It can respond almost immediately to any requirement, regardless of the technology involved, and has, within the framework of its work force, the knowledge necessary to continue to meet those needs.

On 26 November 1975, DOD Directive 5160.25 was issued which assigned the Department of the Army (DA) as the single manager for Conventional Ammunition. As a result of this directive, the command and control of NAD McAlester was transferred from the Navy to the Army on 1 October 1977, establishing the MCAAP as a vast depot/plant complex.

The 1995 Defense BRAC 95 Commission recommended certain realignment and closure actions for military installations on 1 July 1995. These actions were approved by President Clinton on 13 July 1995, and forwarded to Congress. Subsequent review by the Congress did not alter any of the recommendations, which now must be executed under the provisions of the BRAC Act of 1990, Public Law 101-510. This act directed closure of Savanna Army Depot Activity (SVDA) and the relocation of the US Army Defense Ammunition Center (DAC) missions and functions from the SVDA, Savanna, Illinois to the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant (MCAAP), McAlester, Oklahoma.

The action involved the transfer of 229 civilian jobs. The transfer of mission and functions from SVDA to MCAAP occured from July 1998 through September 1999. DAC performs the following basic functions: munitions training, logistics engineering, explosive safety, demilitarization research and development, technical assistance, and career management. Relocation of DAC to MCAAP allow it to collocate with an active ammunition storage and production operation. MCAAP's "tier 1" depot, was the best for providing the needed capabilities.

In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended that the Red River Depot be closed. As a result, Red River's storage and demilitarization functions of the Munitions Center were relocated to to McAlester Army Ammunition Plant. Red River's munitions maintenance functions of the Munitions Center were relocated to both McAlester Army Ammunition Plant and Blue Grass Army Depot, KY. This recommendation would relocate storage, demilitarization, and munitions maintenance functions to McAlester Army Ammunition Plant, and thereby would reduce redundancy and removes excess from Red River Munitions Center. This recommendation would allow DoD to create centers of excellence, generate efficiencies, and create deployment networks servicing all Services.

DoD also recommended to realign Sierra Army Depot, CA, by relocating Demilitarization to McAlester Army Ammunition Plant and another installation. Capacity and capability for storage existed at numerous munitions sites. To reduce redundancy and remove excess from the Industrial Base, the realignment would allow DoD to create centers of excellence and remove inefficiencies.

In another recommendation, DoD recommended to close Kansas Army Ammunition Plant (AAP), KS and would relocate Sensor Fuzed Weapon/Cluster Bomb function and Missile warhead production to McAlester AAP. Capacity and capability for Artillery, Mortars, Missiles, and Pyro/Demo existed at numerous munitions sites. There were 8 sites producing Artillery, 5 producing Mortars, 9 producing Pyro/Demo, and 13 performing Demilitarization. To reduce redundancy and remove excess from the Industrial Base, the closure would allow DoD to create centers of excellence, avoid single point failure, and generate efficiencies. Environmentally, this recommendation would have possible water resources impact at McAlester. Significant mitigation measures would have to be taken to limit releases into waterway.

In another recommendation, DoD recommended to close Lone Star Army Ammunition Plant (AAP), TX. It would relocate the Storage and Demilitarization functions to McAlester AAP. Capacity and capability for Artillery, Mortars, Missiles, Pyro/Demo, and Storage existed at numerous munitions sites. There were 8 sites producing Artillery, 5 producing Mortars, 9 producing Pyro-Demo, 15 performing storage, and 13 performing Demilitarization. To reduce redundancy and remove excess from the Industrial Base, the closure would allow DoD to create centers of excellence, avoid single point failure, and generate efficiencies. Goal is to establish multi-functional sites performing Demilitarization, Production, Maintenance, and Storage. Lone Star primarily performed only one of the 4 functions.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:42:07 ZULU