From a 40-foot vantage point, Brig. Gen. Rebecca Halstead surveyed the landscape below that will become the Ordnance Campus in 2009.
Though years away, it’s not entirely hard to envision from the foliage-cleared acres the barracks, gymnasium, track and chapel that Soldiers will use when the Ordnance Corps takes root at Fort Lee.
As Ordnance Center and School commanding general, Halstead found her first visit to the construction site, called “Fort Lee North,” a promising view into the future of the Ordnance Corps.
“I was quite impressed by the great teamwork among all the folks working the projects, and the tremendous amount of work that has been completed in a very short time,” said Halstead.
Jerry Williams and Edward Graham of the Army Corps of Engineers led the commandant on the tour, pointing out locations for the five bridges — including an overpass — chapel, gymnasium and headquarters. The dining facility for the central campus will be the second largest in the Army, said Gayle Olszyk, deputy chief of training at the Ordnance Center and School.
The construction to the area north of Route 36 has been ongoing since summer. While 2008 will largely be more of the same – no movement of personnel and equipment from Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., and Redstone Arsenal — town halls and newsletters have provided for speedy dissemination of information while the process continues. Halstead said discussions at town halls have generated questions about homes, schools, cost of living and special needs care. While dealing with the inevitable change will be the challenging for some, she has adopted an optimistic viewpoint towards the move.
“This sort of change is harder for some to accept, especially those who have been with the Ordnance Corps for many years,” said Halstead. “However, we want to encourage folks to understand that change doesn’t have to be all negative. We want them to look at this move as new opportunities for them professionally and for them personally, as well as their Families.”
Halstead said the difficulty of leaving the rich history associated with the Ordnance Corps at Aberdeen Proving Ground will be eased when people see the transformation occurring at Fort Lee.
“The state-of-the-art facilities alone will infuse a tremendous sense of pride, not only in the people who live and work at Fort Lee, but also in all those Soldiers and leaders who come to Fort Lee to train,” said Halstead. “When the Soldiers see that they literally have a university where they will learn, they’ll truly feel that they are being cared for.”
The OC&S relocation to Fort Lee was announced in May 2005 as part of the congressionally authorized 2005 Base Realignment and Closure process. The Sustainment Center of Excellence and Army Logistics University, also currently under construction, will be the new home for the Ordnance Corps, Quartermaster Corps and Transportation Corps. The eight training departments from the Ordnance Mechanical Maintenance School and the Ordnance Munitions and Electronics School will be consolidated into five training departments.