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Watervliet Arsenal's May 2014 Newsletter: The Salvo


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This is the U.S. Army Watervliet Arsenal's monthly newsletter called The Salvo. The Salvo contains the latest stories and information that pertains to the Army's manufacturing center at Watervliet. The Watervliet Arsenal is an Army-owned and operated manufacturing center having established operations in 1813.

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Watervliet Arsenal's May 2014 Newsletter: The Salvo

  1. 1. Vol. 14, No. 5 U.S. Army Watervliet Arsenal May 31, 2014 A Soldier never questions anything stamped “Watervliet Arsenal” Ever wondered why? Story on Page 3 Photo by John B. Snyder THE SALVO Quality Control Inspector Charles Robinson checking a 60 mm mortar tube
  2. 2. Page 2 Salvo May 31, 2014 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 Arsenal Facebook Page @ Lee H. Schiller Jr. Commanding Manufacturer 6 Commander’s Corner We just participated in an event that honored our nation’s fallen heroes. Far too often, the value of ser- vice to our country is overlooked by many Americans unless the calendar drives them to think about those who have served and who serve today. But the calen- dar didn’t tell me or the arsenal workforce where we needed to be this past week as we took great pleasure and pride to march through the streets of Watervliet on Memorial Day. I greatly thank those who helped build the floats, drove, or marched for paying the proper respect to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice to their county. Your support speaks volumes about your and the arsenal’s character. As we approach the summer months, it is a signal that we are nearing the end of the fiscal year. Which means that we have just a few, short months left before we close the books on a very challenging year. But, before we lean too far forward into the next fiscal year, which begins on October 1st , we have some opportunities to seize on that will help us shape our environment for the next year. Even if we received an order today, the likelihood of work being started and charged to this fiscal year is slim. So, what we need to do is to finish out projected FY 2014 workload on time and to the highest standard expected by our troops. Our responsiveness to the Department of Defense is not only an arsenal tradition, it is also an expectation by the Army’s senior leaders. We have simply got to make our deadlines. Period! We can do better at this by continuing to assess our operational space, looking for anything that may slow us down or preclude us from making a delivery on time. Once we have identified any potential for a workflow disruption, we need to immediately mass all available brain power and energy to mitigate the ef- fects of that disruption. Sometimes the disruption deals with quality issues by the vendor or sometimes it is self-inflicted. The importance of quality is so significant that I could not adequately discuss all the issues in this short column. But suffice it for me to say that quality defines who we are as an organization. If someone is untrained, let’s get them trained to standard before they start an operation that they are unfamiliar with. If someone requires extra supervision, then provide it before an operation spirals into an issue with quality. As much as I believe that supervisors should have the pulse of their team, they sometimes need help. Many organiza- tions use “mentors” to provide that assis- tance. But whatever we need to do, let’s do it and do it now so that we can move into the next year making deliveries on time. After all, we all want to enter the summer months relaxed and stress free. Speaking of summer, I have dusted off my barbe- cue and I know that you have, too. Which means that we about to enter a very dangerous period in our per- sonal lives. As we enter summer, please be very care- ful in starting up new activities; such as barbecuing, swimming, boating, and motorcycle driving. Each of you is very important to our mission and your loss, even temporarily, would be significant.
  3. 3. Page 3 Salvo May 31, 2014 200 years of perfecting quality Once a product moves out of the incoming inspection area it moves to one of the production floors for machin- ing. After critical machining operations have been completed, the part arrives at one of three quality control operations for inspection. Here, Machine Tool Inspector Leader Neal Delisle, right, discusses with David Jones, a machine tool work inspector, the tolerances that Jones should be checking on a 60 mm mortar baseplate. Photo by John B. Snyder An infantry Soldier in Afghanistan quickly responds to a call for fire and loads a round into his 60 mm mortar sys- tem. He did not hesitate. A Marine at Camp Pendleton conducts a fires rehearsal with his M777 155 mm lightweight howitzer section in preparation to conduct a fire mission. He did not hesitate. An Airman scanned the night sky over Iraq as his C-130 gunship responded to a fire mission that launched a 105 mm round down on a target of opportunity. He did not hesitate. Each of these missions, in combat and in training, has occurred and continues to occur almost daily throughout the world. A call for fire initiates a thing of beauty called a “battle drill,” as well-trained troops perform a series of tasks in an integrated and synchronized fluid motion. To an observer, this precision drill and sense of urgency to execute a mis- sion is awe inspiring. But what is more inspiring is what cannot be seen ̶ a strong sense of confidence the Soldier, Marine, or Airman has in his weapon system that the gun will not fail them in the heat of battle. When survival on the battlefield sometimes comes down to seconds, in essence who fires first, those precious sec- onds may mean life or death. The last thing any military leader wants is for their troops to hesitate while conducting a fire mission in the heat of battle. Not even for a second. For more than 200 years, the Watervliet Arsenal has through its high quality manufacturing provided the na- tion’s war fighters with the immeasurable sense of confi- dence in their weapon systems. This strong sense of confi- dence is the value added to every weapon system and part that leaves the Army-owned and operated arsenal in upstate New York. Beyond the cost of its products or its on-time delivery rate, many believe that the arsenal’s number one contribu- tion to a Soldier relies in the quality of its products. The arsenal’s quality assurance process begins at the gate when raw stock or unfinished products arrive for manufacturing. Bill Bryant, the arsenal’s division chief for quality con- By John B. Snyder Story continues on page 4, Quality
  4. 4. Page 4 Salvo May 31, 2014 trol, said that his team of 44 assures that quality products are produced by implementing a system of inspections where critical operations of the machining process are measured to ensure compliance to rigid technical requirements. “Sometimes our quality assurance operations begin long before a vendor has sent us a product,” Bryant said. “If the product is for a new product line or is from a new vendor, we sometimes will send a team of inspectors to the vendor’s site for verification before the vendor goes into mass production.” Bryant has a rather flat organization in that his team is broken out into two divisions, Incoming Inspection and Qual- ity Control. Incoming inspections range from procurement inspections to non-destructive testing to sling and gauge inspections. Quality Control inspections assure a high quality level for the production of major and minor components to weapon systems, as well as for large caliber tubes. Before a machinist touches one baseplate forging, pre-formed tube, or breech ring, someone from Bill Potter’s team seizes all pieces of the shipment to begin dimensional inspections to validate a vendor’s quality. Potter is the arsenal’s in- coming inspection supervisor. When a vendor’s product is go- ing to support a new product line or the vendor is new to the arsenal, Potter’s team may conduct a thor- ough, time intensive inspection called a “First Article Inspection.” “First article inspections may take up to one week to accomplish as 100 percent of the technical data package is verified before the prod- uct is released to the production floor,” Potter said. “The bottom line is that if the product passes here, it should not fail anywhere else.” In addition to conducting visits to vendors, verifying the quality on all procured parts, and conducting First Article Inspections, Potter’s team is also responsible for calibrating more than 64,000 gauges. Once the product has left Potter’s area, it then travels to the production floor to a quality control team headed by Terry Buell. Due to the enormity of Buell’s area of responsibility, his quality control inspectors are broken out into three teams, which represent the major product lines. Majors components are large products such as breech rings, breech blocks, mortar baseplates, and howitzer carriers for the larger gun systems. Minor components are smaller product lines such as firing pins, mortar basecaps, and firing mechanisms. Tubes or “cannon barrels” represent all large caliber tubes such as 155 mm, 120 mm 105 mm, 81 mm, and 60 mm tubes. Throughout the product life cycle while the product is at Watervliet, each one of those three teams follows, tracks, and measures the dimensions of critical machining operations. They will also check the products for conformity to the tech- nical data package in regards to toughness and strength. If at any point along the way, from the product’s arrival until the finished product gets shipped, there is any question in regards to quality, the product is put on hold until engineers and planners from the arsenal and from Benét Laboratories can make a determination on its acceptance or rejection. Before a product is rejected or scrapped, every opportunity is taken to salvage the product while not lessening the level of quality de- manded by the technical data pack- age. There could be any number of reasons as to why a product would be rejected after it has passed the incoming inspection. Sometimes cracks develop during a machining process due to a deformity in the material. While other times, it may be due to machinist error. The bottom line is that every product that departs the arsenal has undergone a rigorous testing at each critical point in the manufacturing process. This is as true today as it was in 1813 when the arsenal began operations. To ensure that no one takes qual- ity for granted, the arsenal com- mander, Col. Lee H. Schiller Jr., often talks about the importance of the arsenal’s quality and the impact a quality product has on our war fighters. “What we do is to instill in the American fighting man and woman a strong sense of confidence that any weapon system stamped “Watervliet Arsenal” is the best on the battlefield,” Schiller said. Much has changed at Watervliet since it opened for busi- ness in 1813. But the one thing that hasn’t changed is the arsenal’s strong sense of purpose, as well as its sense of duty toward its customer ̶ the American war fighter. Quality Cont. Arsenal Incoming Quality Control Supervisor Bill Potter, left, and Machine Tool Inspector Merico Catallo take a look at newly arrived parts as the parts are about to undergo their first quality control inspection. Photo by John B. Snyder
  5. 5. Page 5 Salvo May 31, 2014 Story continues on page 6, Commander A senior Army leader exhibited exceptional poise this month delivering heartfelt thanks to everyone he saw during his final visit to the Watervliet Arsenal. When Maj. Gen. Michael J. Terry visited the Watervliet Arsenal in August 2012, he learned about the arsenal’s 200-year role of providing the weapon systems and the parts that have helped hundreds of thousands of our nation’s war fighters to safely come home from battle. As the new TACOM Life Cycle Management Command’s commander, that was Terry’s first visit to the arsenal and as can be expected, there was something of the standardized tour that other TACOM subordinate commands had already conducted for him. In that 2012 visit, Terry received a commensurate office call with the arsenal commander, a command overview brief, a visit to the production lines, handed out awards, and attended a working lunch. And, in the two years that Terry has been the commander of TACOM — which is the arsenal’s higher headquarters — he has visited the arsenal three times. And so, what could possibly be different about this month’s visit? Farewells are never easy, nor should they be. During a commander’s tenure, he or she pours everything they have into those precious few months trying to make a difference, as well as trying to make the organization better. Terry was no different. These last few years have been very challenging for any commander in the Army’s industrial base, certainly for Terry. The effects of sequestration and fiscal uncertainty have plunged Army manufacturing into turbulent waters as the civilian workforce faced furloughs, pay freezes, and a decline in workload due to the end of combat operations in Iraq and the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. Terry touched on many of these issues as he talked to arsenal workers at more than 10 sites on his final visit. “I am very, very appreciative for all that you have done considering all the fiscal turmoil you have experienced since March 2013 when sequestration took effect,” Terry said. Not only did the arsenal workforce have significant fiscal constraints that affected the amount of work coming to the arsenal, the workforce also had to work through furloughs, shutdown, and hiring constraints while delivering products to the war fighters, Terry added. Through turmoil and uncertainty, it sometimes takes someone with a steady hand to guide an TACOM commander’s final look, thanks to Watervliet Maj. Gen. Michael J. Terry, the TACOM LCMC Commander, awards a commander’s coin to Glen Preece, while fellow waste treatment personnel, Marc Kouffman and Edward Reyn- olds, take a look at their new coins. Photo by John B. Snyder By John B. Snyder
  6. 6. Page 6 Salvo May 31, 2014 organization through such adversity. Many believe Terry’s hand did that for Watervliet. Although the arsenal is not out of the water yet in regards to a having a sufficient level of work on the books to sustain its critical skill base, to some at Watervliet the arsenal is moving in the right direction. Bruce Pienkoski, the arsenal’s lead production controller for mortar production, was recently asked by a reporter about what is different today than in the 1990s. During the 1990s, the arsenal suffered through nine reductions in force due to what was then commonly called the Peace Dividend. Today, the arsenal is once again working its way through a significant decline in defense spending. And so, what the reporter was getting at is has anything changed or can we expect a series of reductions in force as was experienced in the 1990s? “In the 1990s, I didn’t have a sense that the Army’s senior leaders were doing anything to help the arsenal to survive,” Pienkoski said. “Today, it is different because I have seen the efforts by our senior leaders at TACOM and at higher headquarters taking a more active role in finding work for the arsenal.” Such optimism explained by a mid-level worker speaks volumes about the faith the arsenal workforce has in Terry. Often during his visit, Terry had a sense of reflection as he shared stories of memorable times of his 35-year Army career. But through all stories, there was a common theme. “I have been in combat two times and I will tell you that I have used your products,” Terry said. “God Bless you for what you do.” As Terry wound his way through the arsenal, shaking hands, awarding commander’s coins, one could not think that in some way this was like a member of the family saying goodbye for the last time. Such is often the feeling when a respected Army leader departs his or her unit for the last time. Terry will change command on June 25, 2014. In the meantime, the arsenal will continue to challenge Terry and other Army leaders for a clearer sense of fiscal certainty, which to the arsenal machinist means increased workload. Commander Cont.
  7. 7. Page 7 Salvo May 31, 2014 Just about everything we see is touched by Tom Herold’s team Of the thousands of people who drive by the arsenal ev- ery day on I-787, most probably do not think twice about arsenal manufacturing in the short 10 seconds or so it takes for them to drive by. When members of the community have been asked why that is so, several have said that it is because the arsenal has been a part of their lives for as long as they can re- member and has simply become part of the land- scape, just as the high- way exit numbers, busi- nesses along the streets, and sometimes even the homes in their neighbor- hoods have become part of the landscape on their daily drives. Given that the arsenal has been continuously supporting our nation’s service men and women since 1813, this tidbit of information kind of hurts some in the workforce. After all, they truly be- lieve in the importance of what they do, which is manufacturing the products that have allowed hundreds of thousands of our troops to safely come home from battle. But it is not just the community who is at fault for this benign interest in the arsenal, because good work internal to the arsenal sometimes becomes just part of the daily landscape. In essence, quality work that the workforce has grown to expect it, but may not think twice about. Case in point is our public works department. Thomas Herold, who is the public works operations and maintenance supervisor for the 143-acre arsenal, has been a fixture here for more than 35 years. This time does not include the four years Tom served in the U.S. Navy Engi- neering Auxiliaries division keeping systems running for helicopter assault ships. Tom is one of those quiet professionals who, with a team of 35, ensures the vast utility system that provides the power, heat, air conditioning, treatment of hazardous waste, building and facility maintenance, snow removal, pest control, and a handful of other critical missions that are required on a daily basis to keep the arsenal running. Tom said that it took him years to learn all the systems, from waste treatment to the boiler operations to landscaping, as well as the locations of hundreds of individual water and electrical connections. This education has never stopped as he said that he still learns something new every day about this 200-year old facility. Nevertheless, the vast majority of the workforce probably do not give Tom or his team a second thought unless the roads aren’t cleared, the heat or air conditioning isn’t working, the pests aren’t removed, or the grass cut. Tom and his team have been providing quality work for so long that they, too, may have become part of the arsenal landscape…until now. From maintaining the roads we travel on to repairing the roofs on our buildings to our heating and cooling to the arsenal’s landscaping, Tom’s team does it all. Throw on top of that the significant amount of snow removal that was required during this past, extremely long winter, it is simply amazing that so few are able to keep up on the awe- some challenge called public works. Tom retires at the end of this month with about 40 years of continuous service to our military. For all the great work that he has done and will continue to do until his last day on duty, Tom is very deserving to be this month’s arse- nal Face of Strength. By John B. Snyder Tom Herold, the arsenal’s public works operations and maintenance supervi- sor, receiving kind words and thanks from TACOM LCMC Commander Maj. Gen. Michael J. Terry for his many years of service to the Army. Photo by John B. Snyder
  8. 8. Page 8 Salvo May 31, 2014 For more than 200 years, the Watervliet Arsenal workforce has enjoyed the fruits of a good, middle-class life due in large part to our nation’s troops. Homes were bought, children sent to college, and a series of benefits propelled many to have the “golden years” that they had always dreamed of. And so, there is a sense of duty to our service men and women that goes beyond dates on a calendar that focuses our nation on its military, such as Memorial Day and Vet- erans Day. After all, for more than 200 years, the arsenal has produced the weapons, parts, and material that have helped hundreds of thousands of our nation’s warfighters to come home safely from battle. This week a number of individuals and family mem- bers came together to represent the U.S. military at the City of Watervliet’s Memorial Day parade. The arsenal started participating in local parades six years ago as a way to reconnect the community to its military. The ar- senal is the only active-duty Army post between the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and Fort Drum, some three hundred miles apart. During these past six years, there have been a few who have passionately given countless hours of their own time toward the planning, coordinating, building, and then participating in the Memorial and Veterans Day parades. To them, supporting the parades is not a tasking but a sense of duty to our military. One of the key individuals to the success of the arse- nal’s community engagements is Michael Gully, who is a mechanical engineering technician at the Army’s Benét Laboratories. Gully has been instrumental in the plan- ning and coordination, as well as in the building of floats that well represented the arsenal and Benét Lab’s history, and unique research and manufacturing capability. Why does he do it? “I feel a strong, personal need to do what we do to ensure that the arsenal appropriately honors our men and women in uniform,” Gully said. “The reason for my pas- sion becomes quickly evident whenever I see an elderly Veteran who asks nothing more than for their service or the service of a fallen comrade to be remembered. Our participation means so much to them.” Yellow Ribbons, as well as signs on local businesses saying that they support our troops, once flourished throughout New York’s Capital District. They are now a rarity on any drive in the Albany area. So, if it were not for arsenal workers like Michael Gully and for the great work by local Veteran Service Organizations, who would step up to ensure that the sac- rifices made by our military are never forgotten? Maybe, the community would still rise up on the holi- days to give our nation’s military the respect, honor, and commitment that it deserves without much encourage- ment. But the arsenal will not leave that to chance because supporting the troops is in the arsenal’s DNA. Woven into the arsenal’s tapestry is the fact that eight genera- tions of New Yorkers have now directly supported our nation’s service men and women from the Watervliet Arsenal. To many in the arsenal workforce, their sense of duty to the U.S. military does not end when they drive out the gate at the end of a work day. Already, many are now planning for the upcoming Veterans Day Parade through the City of Albany. We will not forget. Arsenal honors, remembers those who have given their ultimate sacrifice Photo by John B. Snyder By John B. Snyder Jim Uram, a long-time supporter of the arsenal’s parades, escorting one of two floats the arsenal fielded.
  9. 9. Page 9 Salvo May 31, 2014 Memorial Day 2014 Photos by John B. Snyder
  10. 10. Page 10 Salvo May 31, 2014 Arsenal takes top honors at the Federal Executive Association Awards Ceremony The Federal Executive Association presented the Distinguished Federal Government Service Awards at a luncheon on Thursday, May 15, 2014, at the Shaker Ridge Country Club. An award was given to an Arsenal member or team in the following four categories: • L. Grady Moore Leadership Award - Supervisory Position - Joe Turcotte • Distinguished Federal Government Service – Team - Contracting Office • Distinguished Federal Government Service – Rookie of the Year (3 years or less) - Heather Durr • Community Award-Public Service outside your Agency - Josh Roy According to an FEA news release, these awards allowed FEA to pay tribute to the Federal workers who are the backbone of America’s Government. As leaders, FEA had the opportunity to recognize these employees for the contributions they make to help government work better on behalf of the American people. These awards will also call public attention to the fact that government employees make many contributions to the quality of life in our area. Given that there were only seven categories of awards, the arsenal achieved great recognition as evi- denced by capturing four of the seven awards. New York state Senator Kathy Marchione presented the awards during the luncheon. From left, Heather Durr receiving the Distinguished Federal Government Service Rookie of the Year award from Marchione. The Contracting team receiving the Distinguished Federal Government Service Team award from Marchione. Joe Turcotte receiving the Distinguished Federal Government Service Supervisor award from Marchione. Josh Roy was unavailable to attend. FEA Awards May 2014
  11. 11. Page 11 Salvo May 31, 2014 Arsenal Appreciation Night with the ValleyCats Saturday, 2 August at 7 p.m. • The arsenal has coordinated with the Tri-City ValleyCats baseball organization for the 6th Annual Arsenal Appreciation Night. • Game is on Saturday, 2 August, at 7 p.m. • Department of the Army Civilians and arsenal family members may purchase a "Reserved Box" ticket for only $5.50 (42% discount). These are great seats Section 230 and 250). • All Military Veterans will still receive a free ticket. • You may also purchase a reduced meal voucher for only $3.50 This voucher is good for one hot dog, small soda, and a bag of chips. Contact John Snyder in Room 102 Building 10 (266-5055) or Melissa Ryder at the Body Forge (266-4829) for Tickets!!! Ticket sales begin on July 8th Photos by John B. Snyder
  12. 12. Page 12 Salvo May 31, 2014