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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

American Forces Press Service

Army Dedicates New Chemical Weapons Destruction Facility

American Forces Press Service

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md., May 20, 2004 -- The U.S. Army Non-Stockpile Chemical Materiel Program dedicated its newest capability and first fixed facility to treat recovered chemical weapons during a ceremony at the Edgewood Area here May 5.

The Col. Garland M. White Munitions Assessment and Processing System Facility will be used to treat stable chemical and acidic smoke munitions recovered at APG during environmental cleanup. Officials said the facility provides the Army and the community with an environmentally friendly alternative to open detonation for most recovered munitions.

"I'm pleased we were able to implement a solution that meets the needs of the local community," said Lt. Col. Paul Fletcher, non-stockpile chemical materiel program manager. "This isn't just a building developed and designed by scientists, engineers, technicians, and other experts and professionals," Parker said. "Its existence is proof the public has a voice in the Army's mission, and that we're all on this team together.

"On this day," he added, "we recognize and renew our commitment to safety, ensuring that future generations of Americans have a cleaner, healthier environment."

Kevin Flamm, program manager for the elimination of chemical weapons, led the ribbon- cutting ceremony that marked the official dedication of the facility to Col. Garland M. White, the first commander of the U.S. Army Technical Escort Unit here.

"The Col. Garland M. White Munitions Assessment and Processing System Facility will uphold the chemical weapons disposal mission embraced by Colonel White," Flamm said. "Forty-four years later, the MAPS facility prepares to continue Colonel White's work."

As the first commander of TEU in 1945, White pioneered the safe, secure escort of chemical munitions. His leadership led to a Meritorious Unit Commendation for his unit after completing 847 missions without serious injury. In 1949, White realized the need for chemical disposal, and he positioned TEU to take the lead on future disposal missions. Today, the unit remains the longest continuously active military chemical unit in existence.

Designed with safety and flexibility in mind, facility will process a variety of smoke- and chemical-filled munitions, including World War I-era British and French munitions. This flexibility allows a quick, safe processing of recovered munitions to reduce the number of open detonations and reduce the strain on APG's available storage facilities here, officials said.

Workers at the MAPS facility will drill each munition and drain chemical or smoke fill for treatment at the APG Chemical Transfer Facility. Explosives from the treated and drained munitions then will be detonated within the MAPS burster detonation vessel. Testing of the system continues, with operations scheduled to begin in 2005.

A division of the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency, NSCMP researches and develops treatment options and destruction plans that comply with all federal, state and local regulations, and encourages public participation in its activities.

(Based on an Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., news release.)

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