McAlester Army Ammunition Depot Gearing Up

Wednesday, March 19th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A U.S. strike against Iraq seems imminent, and it's very likely the bombs that will fall over Iraq were made right here in Oklahoma. The McAlester Army Ammunition Depot is the nation's premier bomb-making facility.

Plant officials tell us, war in Iraq won't change the job they have to do.

News On 6 anchor Scott Thompson files this report.

Everyday, Nathan Conner and the rest of the workers on his line prepare 500 pounds of metal to be transformed into bombs.

Without careful inspection, these cases can't move on to be filled with explosives. Leaders of the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant say that routine won't change even if bombs start to drop in Iraq.

Colonel Jyuji Hewitt: "Our production goes into storage it doesn't go from the production line straight to the war fighter in that sense there's really no change whether we're at war or not."

Bombs heading overseas probably come from a storage bunker like this.
And throughout this plant, which is about the size of Washington DC, there are 2,200 of these bunkers nestled between the trees.

The plant has shifted into high gear when it comes to production. The number of bombs shipping out, and the number of employees coming in have both increased.

But officials say it's not to prepare for war with Iraq, but replenish bombs used in recent conflicts like Afghanistan.

Colonel Jyuji Hewitt: "We're increasing our stockpile of bombs so that the decision makers are able to make decisions on whatever operations they need to make and bombs and ammunition doesn't become a limiting factor."

There is one thing that will change at the plant when war begins, and that's security. Tightened first after September 11th, the munitions plant will be secured even more when an Iraqi war begins.

Editor's note: In the past, the News on 6 has broadcast a few stories about the McAlester ammunitions plant. Some of our viewers and site visitors have expressed concern that such stories could be damaging to security in and around the plant.

Please note that the reporting staff at KOTV has not, and will not, broadcast any information concerning military installations without security clearance from the appropriate military authorities.