Watervliet Arsenal ... 1813-2013
Vol. 13, No. 8 U.S. Army Watervliet Arsenal Aug. 31, 2013
Army sends Arsenal a
Page 2						 Salvo			 Aug. 31, 2013
The Arsenal Salvo is an authorized monthly publication for members of the Department
Page 3						 Salvo 	 			 	 Aug. 31, 2013
New $4.3M contract will increase
capability, may lighten the load
The U.S. Army s...
Page 4						 Salvo			 Aug. 31, 2013
For every operation there is a seasoned supervisor who has decades of
experience. Shif...
Page 5						 Salvo	 Aug. 31, 2013
Photos by John B. Snyder
operations made significant gains in the shortened
week. Due to...
Page 6						 Salvo				 Aug. 31 2013
and ends
There is a tactic used in the Army
called ...
Page 7						 Salvo	 			 Aug. 31, 2013
Top: Evette Mortimore
checking in a FedEx
delivery. Tens of
millions of dollars of
Page 8 				 	 Salvo				 Aug. 31, 2013
Bringing back
horsepower to
motivate, send
a message
The sounds of horse hoofs clip-...
Page 9						 Salvo				 Aug. 31, 2013
playing video games,” Gully said. “And so, summer camp has added a lot of awesome act...
Page 10 					 Salvo	 	 	 Aug. 31, 2013
Face of Strength: Bob Tilley
“I knew that when I started work-
ing at the arsenal i...
Page 11						 Salvo	 			 Aug. 31, 2013
Do you know why the statement
is included in yo...
Page 12						 Salvo	 	 		 Aug. 31, 2013
Early arsenal
mortars are
still alive, now
retired in Florida
Fort De Soto: A pres...
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Watervliet Arsenal Newsletter: Salvo 31 August 2013


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A gathering of news and updates that pertain to the Army's Watervliet Arsenal for August 2013.

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Watervliet Arsenal Newsletter: Salvo 31 August 2013

  1. 1. SALVO Watervliet Arsenal ... 1813-2013 Vol. 13, No. 8 U.S. Army Watervliet Arsenal Aug. 31, 2013 Army sends Arsenal a $4.3M contract for an experimental baseplate Story on page 3 Photo by Staff Sgt. Shane Hamann
  2. 2. Page 2 Salvo Aug. 31, 2013 The Arsenal Salvo is an authorized monthly publication for members of the Department of Defense. Contents of the Salvo are not necessarily the official views of, or an endorse- ment by the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense, the Department of the Army, or the Watervliet Arsenal. News may be submitted for publication by sending articles to Public Affairs Officer, 1 Buffington Street, Bldg. 10, Watervliet, NY 12189, or stop by office #102, Bldg. 10, Watervliet Arsenal. The editor may also be reached at (518) 266-5055 or by e-mail: The editor reserves the right to edit all information submitted for publication. Commander, Col. Lee H. Schiller Jr. Public Affairs Officer, John B. Snyder Editor, John B. Snyder Photographer: John B. Snyder Cover Photo: U.S. Army mortarmen with 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment fire a 60 mm mortar during force protection and registration train- ing at Forward Operating Base Spin Boldak, Kandahar province, Afghanistan, June 22, 2013. Lee H. Schiller Jr. Commanding Manufacturer 6 Commander’s Corner The dust has settled from the change of command ceremony and I must tell you that these last 45 days since that ceremony have not only been educational to me, they have also been truly enjoyable. I have spent a great amount of time since July 18 visiting arsenal leaders and those who are implementing and managing various critical programs for the arsenal. For an Army officer, there is no better assignment than commanding a unit. But this command is different. It has a storied 200-year history. It has a rich tradition of adapting its capability and capacity to meet the urgent needs of our troops. But, most importantly, it has an awesome, talented team of professionals who today are supporting our troops in combat. From day one of my command, I have been your primary spokesperson to senior Army leaders, to fellow depot and arsenal commanders, to community leaders, and to our customers. I plan to tell our story to anyone who will listen, to include you. I look forward to our town hall that we will conduct in mid-September as an effort to better keep you informed. Although I don’t need to remind you about the challenging times that we are in, let me give you a quick peek into our future. Furloughs have ended but sequestration still remains. The effects of sequestration have caused us to reduce millions of dollars from our operations budget and implemented a hiring freeze. As it stands now, the Army’s senior leaders are warning members of Congress that unless they quickly act that sequestration will hit the Defense Department harder in 2014 than it did in 2013. We can’t control that. But what we can control, we will. We must get the products that we promised our troops into their hands by the dates that we promised. This means that before we accept an order, we have meticulously thought through the entire planning process to ensure that we can deliver that product on time. Once we have an order, we must leverage all of our resources, from procurement to shipping, toward meeting our delivery schedule. We must anticipate potential pitfalls by having a Plan B ready to go if our initial plan becomes untenable. And making schedule is only part of the process. We must also ensure that anything stamped Watervliet Arsenal is the best quality product that our troops will touch. Thank you for the great support you have given me these last 45 days and for what you do to ensure that our nation is safe. Please be very safe in all that you do because each of you is critical to the success of the arsenal.
  3. 3. Page 3 Salvo Aug. 31, 2013 New $4.3M contract will increase capability, may lighten the load The U.S. Army signaled its approval of a new experi- mental 60 mm mortar baseplate for its infantry by award- ing a $4.3 million contract to the Watervliet Arsenal to manufacture more than 600 of the newly designed base- plates, an arsenal program manager announced this week. Edward Davis, the arsenal’s program manager for the 60 mm mortar system, said this experimental baseplate, the M8E1, was recently approved for full production by the Army and the contract is valued at $4.3 million. “We have been work- ing closely with the Ar- my’s Benét Laboratories for several years to de- velop a new lightweight baseplate for the 60 mm mortar system,” Davis said. “This baseplate will give the infantryman greater firing capability because it can support the firing of 0 to 4 propellant charges, whereas, the M8 baseplate that it will re- place can only support the firing of a charge 0 to 1.” “This multimillion dollar order will add to the Arse- nal’s current workload more than 9,400 hours of direct labor,” Davis said. “Because of the long lead time to pro- cure raw stock material, we don’t expect to start manu- facturing the baseplates until 2015.” Tom Pond, the arsenal’s director of operations, touted this new order because the order is symbolic of the arse- nal’s ability to respond to new requirements. “Although the arsenal is often referred to as the na- tion’s cannon factory, the fact that we received this order for a new lightweight baseplate speaks volumes about the manufacturing capability that resides at the arsenal,” Pond said. “Our capability, in terms of machinery and workforce skills, allows us to machine something that can fit into a pants pocket or as large as a 16-foot howit- zer tube.” “Given the challenges of a declining defense budget has on obtaining new work, any order is great news, especially when it adds more than 9,000 hours of direct labor,” Pond said. The fact that the arsenal received this order also speaks volumes about the synergy achieved by having an Army research and design center, Benét Laboratories, within a five-minute walk of those who will machine the product. Zachary Jablonka, the Benét Labs program manager for the 60 mm mortar sys- tem, said the new base- plate will greatly increase the firing range over the M8 baseplate. “Even for a small part that weights about five pounds, it took several years of design work and great teamwork between Benét engineers and arse- nal machinists to produce the baseplate,” Jablonka said. “Not only will the new baseplate increase the range over the former baseplate, it may also re- duce the overall weight that an infantryman must carry into combat,” Jablonka said. The current M224A1 60mm mortar system utilizes two baseplates. The M7A1 baseplate, which is used when firing from a fixed position, is heavier, more du- rable and can support the firing of all charge levels, 0 to 4. The M8 patrol baseplate, which is about a third the weight of the M7A1, is limited to charges 0 and 1. The new M8E1 baseplate will replace the M8, weighs about half as much as the M7A1 and can support the fir- ing of charges 0 to 4 in limited quantities. This provides the soldier increased capability while on patrol and the option of use in limited, fixed position engagements as a substitute for the heavier M7A1 baseplate. The fact that the new baseplate will be about four pounds lighter than the M7A1 may not sound like much, unless you are the infantryman who must carry those ex- tra four pounds over rough terrain, Jablonka said. Once the M8E1 baseplate goes into production, the nomenclature will change to M8A1. By John B. Snyder Here is a good example of the amount of equipment an infantryman must carry. U.S. Soldiers with 1st Squad, 1st Platoon, Alpha Company, 1st Bat- talion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, in Khogyani district in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, March 28, 2013. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jon Heinrich/Released)
  4. 4. Page 4 Salvo Aug. 31, 2013 For every operation there is a seasoned supervisor who has decades of experience. Shift supervisor, Glenn LaPier, right, is checking the status of the machining process this month on a breechblock with machinist Robert Cavanaugh, left, and apprentice Nathan Coryea. Annual Shutdown? Not for an Army-owned manufacturer When the Arsenal “shutdown” operations this month to accommodate its annual summer vacation period, someone who is not familiar with Army manufacturing might have thought the sounds of heavy machining would have been silenced as darkness spread in one million square feet of manufacturing space. But neither darkness nor a void of sound set in for two reasons. Although a large percentage of production personnel did depart for the beaches and amusement parks, many stayed to do critical, focused maintenance. There was also another critical task required ... supporting our warfighters and allies with the right weapon system, on time. That production support could not stop. For the shutdown week, maintenance activity ran the gamut from conducting sling loads tests to cleaning florescent pits that are used to conduct quality control borescope testing. This heavy maintenance focus is conducted during this one-week period so that it does not impede tight delivery schedules. For production, it was a great time to get caught up, said Glenn LaPier, shift supervisor. “We had about 12 machinists and apprentices stay and work on critical production schedules for the 120 mm gun systems that will eventually be installed on Abrams tanks,” LaPier said. “Overall, this was a pretty successful week in that we not only kept production flowing on critical systems, we also had our production cells set up for success when operations start up again this week.” For Charles Robinson, the shutdown meant that he and others were able to switch out the florescent fluid in the magnetic particle testing booths. Magnetic particle inspections is a non-destructive test used to determine if there are any surface deficiencies in any of the tubes manufactured at the arsenal. “Without the shutdown, we would not have been able to change the fluid in all five magnetic testing booths,” Robinson said. “This is such a critical piece to the quality control of our products that anything we can do to improve the process will improve the products that our Soldiers receive.” One other critical area where work continued is on the creation of fixtures for certain lines of production. Before any product, be it a mortar baseplate or tank tube, can be manufactured, a special set of tools and fixtures must first be machined. Fixtures to a car mechanic may be something as simple as a vice on a workbench. In essence a tool that holds a part in place. For an arsenal machinist, fixtures will hold everything from mortar baseplates to howitzer tubes through the machining process. Focused maintenance went beyond the production bays and touched on just about everything within the arsenal fence line. With an augmentation of personnel from the manufacturing directorate, the arsenal’s public works By John B. Snyder Photo by John B. Snyder Story continues on page 5, See Shutdown
  5. 5. Page 5 Salvo Aug. 31, 2013 Photos by John B. Snyder operations made significant gains in the shortened week. Due to sequestration, the arsenal, like many other Army installations, had been reduced to a four-day workweek. Amid all the maintenance challenges, public works also contended with a real-world situation as two water mains had to be repaired. Nevertheless, more than 70 percent of the critical planned maintenance projects were completed, said Thomas Herold, the arsenal’s public works supervisor. According to Herold, public works completed critical maintenance on boilers systems, waste treatment plant systems, electrical sub-stations, and water main valves. To help with safety, parking lines, crosswalks, and parking lots were repainted. Although the Arsenal leadership has always called this annual maintenance event a “shutdown,” some at the arsenal wince when they hear that term because they believe the arsenal has been in continuous operation since 1813…and it has. To them, the term “shutdown” shouldn’t even be in the Arsenal’s vocabulary. The annual shutdown, is typically conducted the last week of July or early August, is a wonderful opportunity for critical, focused maintenance to be conducted and a very good tool to manage vacation time so that the arsenal does not have a surge of vacationers at an inopportune time during production. The Watervliet Arsenal’s dedicated and highly- skilled workforce contributes to our national security by providing U.S. and foreign militaries the most advanced, high-tech, high-powered weaponry for cannon, howitzer, and mortar systems. The Arsenal is also the Defense Department’s sole manufacture of large caliber cannons, from 105 mm to 155 mm, as well as DOD’s manufacture of choice for 60 mm, 81 mm, and 120 mm mortar systems. Top: Toolmaker Gerald Smith machining a fixture for a mortar baseplate during the shutdown period in August. Center: Quality Control Inspector Charles Robinson standing next to one of mag- netic particle testing booths after he had performed mainte- nance on the testing site. Bottom: For everything that enters and exits the arsenal, there is someone from the logistics division involved. Richard Windham is loading “chips” from the manufactur- ing bays. Chips are thin strips of metal that come off during the manufacturing process. Shutdown cont.
  6. 6. Page 6 Salvo Aug. 31 2013 Logistics: Where everything starts and ends There is a tactic used in the Army called “an economy of force” opera- tion to describe an action taken by a commander to minimize combat pow- er used to shape or sustain an opera- tion thereby, allowing the commander to focus the bulk of his or her forces at the decisive point or operation on the battlefield. Nearly 6,000 miles from the nearest battlefield there is a small Army post called the Watervliet Arsenal where “economy of force” operations” are critical to ensuring that our nation’s servicemen and women receive critical weapon systems when and where they need them. The arsenal is an Army-owned and –operated manufacturing center that has been in continuous operation since 1813. Today, the arsenal produces the cannons, tubes, and various parts for such weapon systems as Abrams tanks, 105 mm and 155 mm howitzers, and for all mortar systems. If there was a decisive point or operation at the arsenal, some might say that it would be on the production floors where highly skilled machinists, tool makers, and machine tool opera- tors work in tens of thousands of an inch tolerances machining parts for large caliber weapons. All other arse- nal operations work toward supporting that machining cadre of about 175. But, before any product gets to the machinist, and before any product de- parts the arsenal, there is small cohort of 14 professionals who make up the Material Management Team. This small team processes more than $100 million of product in and out of the ar- senal every year ̶ truly a fine example of an economy of force operation. Despite this awesome challenge, the team has not missed a delivery in years. “I have worked at the arsenal for 30 years and during my tenure as the supervisor of this supply operation, we have not missed an end of the month delivery,” said Marissa Battisto, the arsenal’s Material Handler Supervisor. Battisto went on to say that in ad- dition to handling every delivered and shipped item, her team has several ad- ditional duties that it performs to help out the arsenal mission. “Not only do we touch every prod- uct that is used in manufacturing, we also store and account for tens of millions of dollars of product in nine warehouses that are spread through- out the arsenal,” Battisto said. “If that wasn’t enough, we also move office equipment, make on-site deliveries, man the school bus, and drive for VIP tours.” Given such a large scope of respon- sibilities, how could such a small team survive? Evette Mortimore, a material han- dler who works in the logistics office, said that she is often amazed at the amount of product that flows in and out of the loading dock every day. “Despite the high pressure that we work under, we always come together as a team and make it work,” Morti- more said. “Thanks to a good supply tracking systems, nothing stays on our loading dock more than a few days.” Critical to the team’s success is knowing what critical shipments are due in or what must immediately go out. By John B. Snyder It is amazing how this small team of professionals can process, store, issue, and ship tens of thousands of items every year and do so on time. From left: Andrew Ames, Michael Van Buskirk, James Sherman, Justin Fallis, Richard Windham, Timothy Burke, Nicholas Barnes, Peter Smith, Tad Wojtczak, Evette Mortimore. Front: Marissa Battisto, the arsenal’s Material Handler Supervisor. Photo by John B. Snyder Story continues on page 7, See Logistics
  7. 7. Page 7 Salvo Aug. 31, 2013 Top: Evette Mortimore checking in a FedEx delivery. Tens of millions of dollars of supplies, parts, and manufacturing prod- ucts are transferred into the arsenal via this loading dock. Left: Michael Van Buskirk securing a load prior to making a delivery. Van Buskirk belongs to a small team who receive, issue, and ship more than $100 million of products every year. Logistics cont. To stay on top of production priorities, Battisto attends weekly production meetings. Through her attendance, she is able to hear the discussions between the commander and program managers on the status and issues that may impede the arsenal from making an on-time shipment. She then takes this information and shares it with her logistics team so that they have complete situational aware- ness of what is hot and what their roles are to as- sist the production process. Somehow, it all works and works well. Rocco Granato, a supply technician who works alongside Mortimore, may have summed it up best in regards to how such a small team can achieve great success. “We don’t do what we do for the recognition,” Granato said. “We do our jobs extremely well be- cause we know that every piece of product that we touch will end up in the hands of our troops.” Successful battlefield tactics have found suc- cess at this small Army post. But just as in battle, tactics need a competent and motivated team to implement. The arsenal has such a team and they make up the Material Management Team. Congrats to Apprentice Class #82...You Are Done Front Row from left: Peter Nor- thup Timothy Fontaine, Robert Day, Kenneth Chirpka, Timothy Boak and William Bashford III. Back Row from left: James White, Brant Wert, John Weishaar, Jared Smith, William McCarthy, Dylan Kusaywa, and Robert Fournier. Photos by John B. Snyder Photo by John B. Snyder
  8. 8. Page 8 Salvo Aug. 31, 2013 Bringing back horsepower to motivate, send a message The sounds of horse hoofs clip-clopping across the Arsenal’s parade area that borders the last vestiges of the Erie Canal wall brought a sense of nostalgia to some. After all, the 1830s-era horse stables are still in use at the historic Watervliet Arsenal, albeit, for an- other use today. But when today’s military ride on track and high- speed wheeled vehicles why on earth would the arse- nal bring back horses? No, it wasn’t for a new experimental weapon sys- tem, but was for the nearly 50 kids who participate in the arsenal’s summer camp program sponsored by the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation program. As the summer camp winds down, camp counselors wanted to close out strong and so, the thought of bringing a horse in for the kids seemed like a shoo-in choice. But never wanting to miss an opportunity to lever- age one event to serve two purposes, the horse be- longed to the City of Albany Police’s Mounted Patrol unit. According to Alan Columbus, the arsenal’s chief of law enforcement and security, his officers coordinated with the Albany police to provide a mounted-patrol team to the summer camp. “We take every opportunity to have our youth see the police in a very positive light,” Columbus said. “And so, by bringing a mounted-patrol team into sum- mer camp the kids were not only excited by the horse, they also had an opportunity to engage patrol officers in a very positive setting.” This activity was just one of many that were of- fered in the summer camp that ran from June 24 to August 22, said Laurol Bartlett, a senior camp coun- selor who is on her sixth year at the arsenal. “This is a great program that has grown from about 25 children when I first started as a counselor to about 50 kids today,” Bartlett said. “We don’t even need to advertise the program because the word-of-mouth messaging is unbelievable.” Bartlett, who teaches at the Rensselaer Park El- ementary School in Troy, N.Y., said that she loves to come back every summer because after six years, the kids seem like an extended family. Fellow camp counselor, Jennifer Lewicki who teaches at Colonie High School in Albany, N.Y., added that she is very proud of what the summer camp pro- gram has become. “Sometimes it is hard to believe how far we have come in the numbers of children and the value of ac- tivities that we have added in the four years that I have been supporting this program,” Lewicki said. The thought of spending the summer with school teachers might be intimidating to some children, how- ever, but that doesn’t seem to be the case at the arse- nal. Sarah Gully, who attends Koda Middle School in Clifton Park, N.Y., said that she loves to come to sum- mer camp. “This is my second year coming to summer camp and if I wasn’t here I would spend most of my time Story continues on page 9, See Camp Photo by John B. Snyder City of Albany Mounted Police Officer Andrew Dwyer edges "Sam" ever so gently to the kids. Dwyer, and fellow Albany Mounted Police Officers, John Dwyer and Kurt Johnson, supported the arsenal's summer camp as a way to excite the kids, while reinforcing a positive image of police officers.
  9. 9. Page 9 Salvo Aug. 31, 2013 playing video games,” Gully said. “And so, summer camp has added a lot of awesome activities into my summer and has allowed me to make a lot of new friends.” “By the way, the summer camp counselors are really cool,” Gully added. At a weekly rate that may be as low as $42 to no more than $140, parents can drop off their kids at 6:30 a.m. and pick them up at 4:45 p.m. All activities, to include field trips, are included in the cost. When the kids aren’t on a field trip, they are swimming, doing crafts, or playing games. To enter the summer camp program, children must have completed the 1st grade and not have completed 8th grade. But what may be the best value to the parents is that the kids are at most a 10-minute walk from their workplace. On any given lunch period, parents are often seen having lunch with their kids. Back to the horse … several arsenal employees attempted to persuade the new commander to keep the horse for history and tradition. After all, the arsenal just celebrated its 200th anniversary last month. But to no avail. As much as the em- ployees were chomping on the bit for a decision, the commander would not make hay with their request. Camp cont. Clockwise from top left: Molly Sheldon and Hillel Powell Sarah Gully Erich Fischer and Sarah Fischer Briann Evertsen Grace Almedia Photos by John B. Snyder
  10. 10. Page 10 Salvo Aug. 31, 2013 Face of Strength: Bob Tilley “I knew that when I started work- ing at the arsenal in 1972 that I would retire on the arsenal’s 200th anniver- sary,” said Robert “Bob” Tilley, the arsenal’s instrument mechanic inspec- tion leader. This has been a challenging year for the arsenal in regards to person- nel issues, and most of the challenges have come from sources outside of the arsenal’s control. The workforce en- tered its third year of a pay freeze and sequestration imposed a hiring freeze, furloughs, and limited overtime. But there is one other dynamic occurring on the arsenal and it may or may not be subject to outside influences … there is a large exodus of seasoned employees retiring. Therefore, it should be fitting that as the arsenal re-launches the Face of Strength column, which it has used to highlight an outstanding employee each month, that this month’s focus be on one of those who are about to turn their dream world into reality by enter- ing retirement. Oh,1972, was such a good year. The Miami Dolphins had an unde- feated season; Eugene Cernan became the last person to walk on the moon; U.S. troop levels in South Vietnam fell below 30,000; and Bob Tilley entered the arsenal apprentice program. Now, after a remarkable 41-plus- year career supporting our nation’s warfighters, Bob is retiring. Bob is part of the retirement-age bubble that has hovered around 35-40 percent of the workforce for many years. Nearly 200 of today’s arsenal employees are eligible to retire within the next two years. Bob said that when he graduated from Hudson Valley Community College in 1972, with a degree in En- vironmental Technology, the arsenal contacted him for the machinist ap- prenticeship. He had to make tough choice between working in the new, rising field of environmental controls or machining. He opted for the appren- tice program as part of Class #57. As it turned out, it definitely was the right choice. As an apprentice, he was one of just a few apprentices who were at the top of their class to become part of a pro- totype development team that worked on such projects as a new dual-feeder system for a 20 mm gun. After graduating from the appren- tice program, Bob continued working on prototype projects, as well as be- came one of the first arsenal machin- ists to set up and instruct others how to operate a new form of machinery called Computer Numerical Con- trolled, or CNC machines. He went back to Hudson Valley and in 1979 attained a second degree, this time in Industrial Management. In 1980, Bob left the machines that he had grown to love to become a Quality Assurance Inspector. This must have been a difficult decision for Bob as machining was in his blood. His father was a life-long machinist at home and at work. His father worked in the machine shop for Detroit Supply in Troy, N.Y. Nevertheless, Bob said the time was right for a change as he wanted to become part of the team that assured arsenal products were of high quality. More than 33 years later, Bob now leads a team of 14 quality assurance inspectors. This team ensures that every item purchased for production, such as fixtures, special tooling, and gages, as well as raw stock products coming into the arsenal for production, meet high technical standards. From something as small as a washer for a mortar system to as large as a pre- form tube weighing more than 2,000 pounds, Bob and his team meticulous- ly check and assure that standards are met before production begins. When asked about his thoughts on his career, he offered two comments. “I have been blessed that every day I came to work I did a job that I loved,” Bob said. “And the highlight of my career was working with a truly great team of people who through the years have helped me solve problems and to make things happen.” As Apprentice Class #82 readied for graduation on August 22, Bob had a note of advice. “Don’t choose a position just for the money,” Bob said. “You must want to come to work and do the job you love because it means something special to you.” During Bob’s 41-plus-year career, he has touched tens of thousands of wartime products that have either made our troops more lethal or more survivable on the battlefield. He is an outstanding example of the arsenal employees who are retiring this year and is very deserving to be called a Face of Strength for the arsenal.
  11. 11. Page 11 Salvo Aug. 31, 2013 Do you know why the statement “PERFORMS OTHER DUTIES AS ASSIGNED” is included in your job description? Federal employees sometimes are reluctant, and even refuse at times, to perform assignments that are not specifically stated in their job description. Such reluctance or refusal is based on an erroneous idea that an employee is not required to perform any duty that’s not in their job description. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) reminds all employees that this concept could not be further from the truth. A position description (PD) does not require nor should it contain a detailed description covering every feature of an employee’s position and the conditions under which it will be performed. A PD is adequate if it sets out the principal duties, responsibilities, and supervisory relationships in such a way that the job may be properly classified. The PD is not a prescription of duties; it is simply a report of the major duties of a given position as they exist at any given time. It in no way interferes with the lawful authority of a supervisor to assign other (minor) duties, i.e., minor duties performed occasionally or for a small amount of time need not be included in the PDs. The original reason for requiring the statement “Performs other duties as assigned” on all PDs was to establish the principle that the assignment of duties to employees was not limited by the contents of the job description. Supervisors are expected to assign other duties as necessary whenever, in their judgment, circumstances warrant such action. The phrase, “Performs other duties as assigned” is included in PDs to cover unexpected tasks or situations which arise periodically in any organization and is included with the assumption that neither the supervisor nor the employee will abuse the privilege of its being there. It is placed there as a convenience to the employee, the supervisor and the HR specialist. It is assumed that all will utilize it in a spirit of cooperation. Otherwise, if the clerk who answers the telephone is on a week’s leave, shall we let the phone ring until the clerk returns? If correspondence needs to be written or a report compiled, should you refuse because it’s not your assignment? The answers must be no. The supervisor will assign the person who, by virtue of capabilities, experience, workload, and the situation is most able to assume the task, regardless of whether it is considered at the same time, a higher or lower grade, than that of the position currently held by the individual. The task may be related to the work normally assigned to the position or it may be completely unrelated. The only requirement is that the employee is capable of performing the task without a hazard to self, others, or damage to expensive equipment or buildings. If the sentence is used by the supervisor with judgment and discretion and accepted by the employee with the idea that the task is helping his/her organization, there should be no problem concerning its meaning. Good personnel management dictates that assignments should be reasonably related to the employee’s position and qualifications. It is perfectly reasonable, for example, to assign additional clerical duties to a Supply Technician when temporarily necessary, but obviously unreasonable to assign tasks beyond the Supply Technician’s qualifications, such as interpreting technical drawings. In emergency situations, of course, duties which might not be reasonably related to an employee’s position may have to be assigned. It is important for employees to know that supervisors have the authority to make duty assignments as they see fit within their operation. However, such assignments should be reasonably related to the employee’s job description. CPAC - Civilian Personnel Advisory Center
  12. 12. Page 12 Salvo Aug. 31, 2013 Early arsenal mortars are still alive, now retired in Florida Fort De Soto: A present day view of the remaining Watervliet- manufactured 12-inch Mortars, Model 1890 M1. Each mortar weighs 13 tons. Photo provided by Arsenal Museum Many of the early weapons manufactured at Watervliet Arsenal during the late 1880s and early 1900s were placed at various seacoast fortifications on the Pacific and Atlantic seaboards. Fort De Soto is one such installation. Located on Mullet Key outside of St. Petersburg, Fla., the fort was built to protect Tampa Bay harbor from enemies by using, among other weapons, eight 12-inch, breech-loaded, Model 1890 mortars made at Watervliet Arsenal. Between 1898 and 1906, Fort De Soto grew to include 29 wooden, slate-roofed buildings on hundreds of acres of land. In 1900, the construction of a series of artillery and mortar batteries at the fort was completed. The eight mortars were installed at Battery Laidley in August 1902. Records show the estimated manufacturing cost per mortar was $497.57 or $13,447.84 in 2013 dollars. The carriages were manufactured by the American Hoist and Derrick Company of St. Paul, Minn. Each weapon had a crew of 12 men. The ammo rounds weighed 800, 824, and 1,046 pounds. The powder charges weighed 54 to 67 pounds. The range of the mortar would vary according to the degree of elevation and the charge. At 70-degrees, the mortar had a range of 1.25 miles. At a 45-degree angle, the mortar had a range of 6.80 miles. The weapons were never fired at an approaching enemy, only during target practice. The fort was an active military base from 1898 to 1910. Early, in 1917, four of the eight mortars were dismantled from Fort De Soto and shipped to Fort Rosecrans, San Diego. The other four remaining mortars were left in place. On May 25, 1923, Fort De Soto was abandoned by the military. During the 1920s and 1930s, the fort was battered by numerous storms that damaged several buildings and destroyed Battery Bigelow. After being used as a sub-post for the MacDill Field during World War II, the War Department sold Mullet Key back to the local government of Pinellas County, Fla. After years of planning and organizing, Fort De Soto County Park was opened to the public on May 11, 1963. In 1977, the two batteries were placed on the National Register of Historic Places. By Mark Koziol