JMC Deputy to the Commander, D. Scott Welker, recently visited the Hawthorne Army Depot. He is the senior civilian for the Joint Munitions Command organization. JMC operates a nationwide network of conventional ammunition manufacturing plants and storage depots, and provides on-site ammunition experts to U.S. combat units wherever they are stationed or deployed. As part of the JMC enterprise, HWAD is an archive site for storing wartime munitions and stocks awaiting demilitarization.
Welker has served in numerous capacities throughout his career including Chief of the Operations Division, DCS for Army War Reserve, under the Industrial Operations Command; civilian executive assistant to the Commanding General of the U.S. Army War Reserve Support Command; and Army Field Support Command’s first civilian Chief of Staff. Welker was appointed as a member of the Senior Executive Service in 2005 and has earned many awards and decorations. He was selected as a Presidential Rank Award Winner in the Meritorious Executives category in 2010.
Welker received an overview briefing from Lt. Col. Gibbons, commander HWAD, and proceeded to a physical overview of the installation from the vantage point at Black Beauty Reservoir.
Welker said, “I’ve heard about Hawthorne Army Depot for years; I’ve read about it for years; thirty-three years later, I finally get to be here.”
Safety measures and adherence to regulations were emphasized as the open detonation capabilities of the depot’s New Bomb Range were showcased. Safety procedures were also pointed out while observing demilitarization procedures for 155MM Improved Conventional Munitions. The disassembly equipment has doubled the demilitarization capacity of ICM projectiles at HWAD, greatly assisting in reutilizing and recycling the components.
A tour of the Western Area Demilitarization Facility provided further emphasis of the demil capabilities at HWAD. The WADF is 160 acres specifically designed to perform demilitarization operations in one location on the facility to reduce movement time from one building to another, while reducing handling of munitions items during operations.
Welker made several comments about being impressed with the capabilities of the installation.
“Hawthorne has unique capabilities, [which] I’ve not seen anywhere else,” he noted.