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The Tactical Support Equipment Department’s Move to the New Home of Ordnance at Fort Lee

The Army Ordnance Mechanical Maintenance School’s (OMMS’s) technical training departments are moving from Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, to Fort Lee, Virginia, by the end of 2011. The Tactical Support Equipment Department (TSED) moved into its new facility on 24 April 2009 and was the first of the OMMS departments to occupy the new Ordnance School campus at Fort Lee.

TSED, which started training in its new facility in September, was the first tenant at the new, sprawling 200-acre Ordnance School site. The actual movement of training equipment, training aids, and vehicles commenced in late August, and the delivery and installation of new furniture, fixtures, and automation and audiovisual equipment are complete.

TSED’s Mission

TSED’s mission is to train Soldiers and Marines on the technical skills needed to operate, maintain, troubleshoot, and repair ground support equipment. The department is organized into four training divisions and provides advanced individual training and professional military education for military occupational specialty (MOS) 91C (utilities equipment repairer), 91D (power generation equipment repairer), and 91J (quartermaster and chemical equipment repairer). TSED also conducts training for two additional skill identifier (ASI) courses: ASI C9 (mast and electric power plant maintenance) and ASI H2 (laundry systems specialist [maintenance]).

TSED’s Maintenance Theory and Application Division provides Soldiers and Marines the basic knowledge and skills needed to perform in their respective technical training phases. The Utilities Division (for MOS 91C) is part of an inter-service training review organization, which trains both Soldiers and Marines on various maintenance tasks for refrigeration equipment. This division is also responsible for managing the Environmental Protection Agency-mandated Sections 608 and 609 of the Clean Air Act of 1990 and the associated Refrigerant Technician Certification Program.

The Power Generation Division (for MOS 91D) trains Soldiers on power generation equipment and administers the ASI C9 course. Finally, the Quartermaster and Chemical Equipment Division (for MOS 91J) trains Soldiers on the maintenance tasks related to heaters, pumps, water-purification systems, decontamination systems, and smoke generator systems. That division also teaches the ASI H2 course.

TSED Construction

In November 2007, Hensel Phelps Construction Company was awarded the contract to build the new state-of-the art TSED facility. This 272,000-square-foot, $50 million facility is complete, and training started in late September 2009. The new training facility accommodates 115 staff members, a daily maximum capacity of 750 students, and training equipment and materials valued at over $13 million.

At Aberdeen Proving Ground, TSED was spread over eight different buildings. TSED personnel have very much been looking forward to having the entire department under one roof.

Moving to Fort Lee

Most of the military and civilian personnel who make up the TSED staff and faculty arrived between mid-August and mid-September. Some of those who arrived early split their time between Aberdeen Proving Ground and Fort Lee, as their respective missions and situations dictated. Given the relatively high percentage of civilian personnel moving (nearly 80 percent volunteered to move), only a small number of civilian job vacancies at TSED have been announced.

TSED’s technical training mission continued at Aberdeen Proving Ground until 28 August, at which time a “tactical pause” occurred to facilitate the movement of personnel and equipment. Although most TSED technical training was on hold for a 4-week period, Soldiers continued to receive instruction on basic knowledge and skills, warrior tasks, and battle drills.

During the tactical pause, many Soldiers also participated in a 5-day field training exercise at Tactical Training Base Wolverine, located at the Edgewood area of Aberdeen Proving Ground. About 700 TSED Soldiers and Marines were in “hold-under” status when they arrived at Fort Lee. To serve this hold-under population, trainers implemented accelerated training schedules and second shifts augmented by contract instructors. This will allow TSED to return to normal operations sometime in February 2010.

The Future

The school’s Advanced Automotive and Recovery Department, Weapons and Metalworking Services Department, and Wheel, Track, and Automotive Department will follow TSED to Fort Lee in 2010 and 2011. Also in 2011, the Ordnance Munitions and Electronics Maintenance School from Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, will begin merging with elements from OMMS to form a total of five technical training departments at the new Ordnance School campus at Fort Lee as part of the establishment of the Sustainment Center of Excellence.

Of the five technical training departments of the reorganized Ordnance School at Fort Lee, TSED is the only existing department that will remain intact. All basic knowledge and skills instruction for all five technical training departments will ultimately be consolidated into the Armament and Electronics Department.

Initial planning is underway for TSED’s ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony for what is to be Rozier Hall, named after the late Brigadier General Jackson E. Rozier. Born in nearby Richmond, Virginia, Brigadier General Rozier was a former commanding general of the Ordnance Center and School. The ceremony is tentatively scheduled for 20 November 2009.

TSED personnel, along with the OMMS Base Closure and Realignment (BRAC) Office, have been involved in the planning efforts since shortly after the BRAC announcement in May 2005. The compiling of detailed space and functional requirements for TSED’s training mission was a daunting task. An enormous amount of data was collected for equipment specifications, classrooms, and administrative offices to accurately capture the construction and design requirements for the new TSED facility at Fort Lee.

Gary F. Neuser is the director of the Tactical Support Equipment Department at the Ordnance Mechanical Maintenance School. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy, Pepperdine University, the Signal Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, the Logistics Executive Development Course, the Organizational Effectiveness Staff Officer Course, and the Army Command and General Staff College.

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