Defense Media Network

Anniston Army Depot

The Pit Crew of the American Warfighter

The MRC was conceived by Army scientists at the Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center at Redstone Arsenal who collaborated with Amtec and the Army’s Aviation and Missile Command in the research, development, and testing of missile component recycling.

To date, ADMC and Amtec workers have processed more than 60,000 missiles through the MRC program. About 98 percent of all TOW missile components are recycled or reused, and the program has saved taxpayers and private industry stakeholders millions of dollars. The MRC process generates the sale of reused components to avoid the costs of new tooling by the manufacturers.


has a number of green initiatives ongoing, including the use of thermal energy and ultrasonic firearm-cleaning technologies. The disposal of chemical weapons safely stored and maintained by the Anniston Chemical Activity (ANCA) is an internationally sanctioned process whose green benefits are obvious. Like the NASCAR race shop that properly disposes of the oil, solvents, and race related byproducts it uses, ANCA moves the munitions to the Anniston Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (ANCDF), where the systems contractor – Westinghouse Anniston – is responsibly and safely drawing down the U.S. stockpile of chemical weapons. Since 2003, ANCA and ANCDF employees have safely demilitarized more than 60 percent of the stockpile of nerve and blistering agents stored at ANAD.

Crane operator Melba Stamper and mechanic Aaron Rosser prepare the engine of an M1 Abrams tank for lifting from the hull. Photo courtesy of Anniston Army Depot.

Approximately 1,000 people at Anniston are involved in the safe storage and disposal of chemical munitions. Of these, some 200 civilians and Army personnel work in ANCA. The others are contractors and subcontractors on the Westinghouse Anniston team. Together, their sole task is the safe destruction of the thousands of chemical munitions and large containers still stored at Anniston as specified by the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention Treaty. Anniston’s stores did account for more than 7 percent of the nation’s chemical stockpile. All 361,802 containers of nerve agent (rockets, projectiles, and land mines) have been disposed of to date.

“The balance,” said ANCA public affairs officer Mike Abrams, “is thousands of mustard-filled artillery shells, mortars, and containers. The containers are large barrel-type vessels that are some 30 inches across and 80 inches long.”

ANCA’s objective is to meet the treaty deadline of April 2012. Other U.S. storage sites are located in Pine Bluff, Ark., Pueblo, Colo., Richmond, Ky., Hermiston, Ore., and Tooele, Utah. The U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency is responsible for the safe storage of all of the chemical munitions. Disposal operations have concluded at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., Newport, Ind., and on Johnston Atoll in the Pacific Ocean.

“We think it’s possible we will complete the disposal of the munitions prior to the treaty deadline,” Abrams said. Once finished, ANCDF employees will switch their focus to the safe demolition of key facilities associated with disposal of the munitions. The site will be razed with the exception of buildings that are not contaminated. ANCDF’s managers, who work in cooperation with Weapons Convention inspectors, state regulators and environmental officials, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, expect to be able to walk away from the project two to three years after disposal operations conclude, turning the site over for another project or purpose.

The available space will give Anniston’s “Pit Crew” more room

Prev Page 1 2 3 4 Next Page


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