Defense Media Network

Anniston Army Depot

The Pit Crew of the American Warfighter

Several Academy students have competed in state vocational skills competitions, won their categories, and gone on to compete nationally. In addition to producing future employees trained in the depot’s processes, the Academy has succeeded in lowering the average age of the ANAD workforce from 49 years old in 2003 to 42 at present.

Burke’s team has also succeeded in lowering the turnaround time for the vehicles it Resets. Working with on-site contractors BAE Systems, General Dynamics, and Honeywell, and applying Lean Six Sigma manufacturing concepts, the depot has reduced the overhaul cycle time for the M1 Abrams from 80 to 60 days. In fact, most vehicles are Reset in 60 days, according to Burke. Lean manufacturing has aided the depot in the production of two new vehicles for the Marine Corps. ANAD is collaborating with the Corps, which has come up with designs to improve its obstacle clearing and bridging capability, to produce two new vehicles based on the M1 chassis.

Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Lashley with the Stryker Brigade Combat Team stationed at Fort Lewis, Wash., stands atop a Stryker Mobile Gun System at Anniston Army Depot with a technician from General Dynamics Land Systems while Sgt. Devon Hoch looks on. Due to hard use in combat, Strykers coming back from deployment usually require major repairs, and sometimes, repair of battle damage. U.S. Army photo by Jeremy Guthrie.

The Assault Breacher Vehicle (ABV) is used to clear minefields and other obstacles for the passage of mechanized armor. ANAD builds it by combining an overhauled M1 chassis with a new turret engineered and manufactured entirely at the depot. Thirty have thus far been built for the Marine Corps and three have been delivered to the Army. As many as 200 more units are on order.

Likewise, a Navy/Marine Corps design for the Joint Assault Bridge (JAB) vehicle is being translated to reality at ANAD, which was chosen “for its experience and expertise building heavy equipment,” according to Tim Parker of the Marine Corps Systems Command. The JAB replaces the 1970s-vintage M60-based bridge launcher using the same M1-based concept as the ABV. The program is currently in initial testing with eight vehicles under evaluation at Anniston.

Reusing and recycling racecar components and chassis has recently caught on in NASCAR but environmentally savvy disposition of defense materiel has been taken seriously at ANAD for years.

Throwing the Green

At NASCAR’s Roush Fenway Racing, old cars are cut up and recycled, their scrap metal turned into new car parts and other household goods. Team owner Jack Roush said 96 percent of every car is recycled. At his shop, that yielded more than 66 tons of plastic, paper, and sheet metal last year. Impressive as that is, it doesn’t approach the 15,700 TOW anti-tank missiles processed and recycled at Anniston in 2005.

The obsolete TOWs are processed at Anniston’s Defense Munitions Center (ADMC) whose tactical missile demilitarization and recycling program is the only one of its kind. A partnership between the Army and Huntsville-based Amtec Corporation, the program began in 2003. It takes missiles that were previously destroyed in an open burn/open detonation operation and disassembles them. The energetic components of the missiles are then remotely processed. The work is carried out at Anniston’s 34,000-square-foot Missile Recycling Center (MRC) by about 20 ADMC employees and three Amtec employees.

Prev Page 1 2 3 4 Next Page


Eric Tegler is a writer/broadcaster from Severna Park, Md. His work appears in a variety...