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The Ordnance School Moves to Fort Lee

Throughout the summer, members of the Army Ordnance Center and Schools’ command and staff moved from Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, into their new headquarters at the Sustainment Center of Excellence (SCoE) at Fort Lee, Virginia. On 11 September 2009, the Ordnance School ceremoniously uncased its colors at the SCoE and paid solemn tribute to their fallen comrades, formally establishing itself at its new home.

The uncasing of the ordnance colors at Fort Lee signifies the start of a new era for the Ordnance Center and Schools. This new era is also marked by the establishment of the school’s new headquarters at the SCoE headquarters (located across from the Quartermaster Museum) and the new 300-plus-acre Ordnance School campus adjacent to Fort Lee’s main gate. Another 200 acres is reserved for the school’s North Range, which is located near the Petersburg Federal Correctional Complex. A new state-of-the-art Ordnance Museum will also augment the new Ordnance School campus.

The new Ordnance School campus, which greatly increases the school’s footprint, will house the Ordnance Mechanical Maintenance School (OMMS) and Ordnance Munitions and Electronics Maintenance School (OMEMS). OMMS will transition from Aberdeen Proving Ground to Fort Lee over the next year. Its mission is to provide military skills training to students in mechanical maintenance fields and prepare students to repair a variety of military vehicles and equipment. OMEMS, whose mission is to provide ammunition management, explosive ordnance disposal (EOD), and electronics and missile maintenance training, will begin moving from Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, to Fort Lee once its training buildings are completed in 2011.

In late September, the entire Ordnance School, along with the Army Logistics University, Army Quartermaster Center and School, Army Transportation School, Soldier Support Institute, and other organizations, affixed the new SCoE patch to their uniforms, formally recognizing the activation of the SCoE. At this time, OMMS began teaching students at the new Tactical Support Equipment Department (TSED) building (also known as Rozier Hall) on the new campus.

The TSED building is one of many state-of-the-art facilities that will help educate and train ordnance Soldiers, Airmen, and Marines and provide a strong foundation for the success of ordnance technicians in the military and beyond. In late November 2009, the Ordnance School conducted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the TSED building, officially dedicating it (like its predecessor at Aberdeen Proving Ground) to the late Major General Jackson E. Rozier, a stellar retired ordnance officer and former Chief of Ordnance. The TSED ribbon cutting and dedication in November marked the first ceremony hosted by the Ordnance School on the new campus.

As other buildings are completed and occupied on the new campus, the Ordnance School and Fort Lee Garrison staff will conduct additional ribbon-cutting events to mark these momentous occasions. Like the TSED building, many of the buildings and rooms on campus will be dedicated to honor other notable ordnance men and women, most of whom previously had buildings and rooms named for them at Aberdeen Proving Ground.

The EOD Land Warfare Center of Excellence is the EOD Department located with the SCoE and the Ordnance Center and Schools at Fort Lee. The EOD Department achieved initial operating capability on 1 October 2009 and will be fully functional within a year, pending the Department of the Army’s approval of its concept plan. The Ordnance School will teach EOD classes at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia (approximately 65 miles north of Fort Lee), and maintain its mission to train Soldiers, Airmen, and Marines in EOD.

The new Ordnance Museum, which is scheduled to be completed in 2012, will host the Ordnance School’s historic collection of tanks and vehicles. Unlike the museum at Aberdeen Proving Ground, this new museum will store these macro-artifacts inside a climate-controlled facility. The museum has already successfully shipped 60 macro-artifacts to Fort Lee and positioned them near Railroad Avenue while their new home is being built.

The Ordnance School’s new state-of-the-art facilities allow ordnance Soldiers, Airmen, and Marines to remain at the cutting edge of technology. As the school’s experienced and dedicated staff trains students in the new facilities, the students and the Ordnance School staff will be at the forefront of this fabulous transformation to begin a new era for the Ordnance Corps. Go Ordnance!

Lieutenant Colonel Annjanette Ellison is the chief of current operations of the Army Ordnance Center and Schools. She has a B.S. degree from Morgan State University and M.S. and M.B.A. degrees from the University of Maryland University College. She is a graduate of the Army Command and General Staff College and the Army Management Staff College.

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