Watervliet Arsenal (WVA)
Distinctive unit insignia of the U.S. Army Watervliet Arsenal featuring a silver ring around two crossed cannons with a spark above where they cross signifying the manufacturing nature of the arsenal.
ActiveJuly 14, 1813 - Present
CountryUnited States
BranchU.S. Army
TypeArsenal
RoleManufacturer of large caliber cannon, howitzer and mortar systems
Part ofU.S. Army Materiel Command, U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command
Websitehttps://www.wva.army.mil
Commanders
Current
commander
Col. Alain Fisher
TACOM distinctive unit insignia
TACOM distinctive unit insignia
A 16-inch M1920 coast artillery howitzer, stamped Watervliet Arsenal, 1921

The Watervliet Arsenal (WVA) /ˈwɔːtərvlt/ is an arsenal of the United States Army located in Watervliet, New York, on the west bank of the Hudson River. It is the oldest continuously active arsenal in the United States, and today produces much of the artillery for the army, as well as gun tubes for cannons, mortars, and tanks. It has been a National Historic Landmark (NHL) since 1966.[1][2]

Watervliet Arsenal falls under its headquarters, the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command under the U.S. Army Materiel Command.

The arsenal was founded on July 14, 1813, to support the War of 1812. It was designated as the Watervliet Arsenal in 1817. It occupies 142 acres (57 ha) of land, approximately 8 miles (13 km) north of Albany, New York. The location is adjacent to the Hudson River. The site contains manufacturing, administrative offices and storage areas. It houses the Army's Combat Capabilities Development Command Benét Laboratories, which does product development, improvement, research, and testing for all artillery related engineering.

Introduction

WVA supports the U.S. Army’s fighting force with direct fire tank guns, indirect fire artillery cannons, mortars and components, sustainment parts, and spares for all weapon systems produced at WVA.

Tenant activities

The Arsenal has the historic Iron Building, which served as the home of the Watervliet Arsenal Museum. The museum was closed in October 2013 for security reasons.[3]

Recruiting Station Albany, the headquarters of a United States Marine Corps recruiting station, is located on the Arsenal.

Watervliet Arsenal
Historic Iron Building
Watervliet Arsenal is located in New York
Watervliet Arsenal
Watervliet Arsenal is located in the United States
Watervliet Arsenal
Map
Interactive map showing the location for Watervliet Arsenal
LocationBroadway
Watervliet, New York
Coordinates42°43′06″N 73°42′31″W / 42.71833°N 73.70861°W / 42.71833; -73.70861
Area142 acres (57 ha)
NRHP reference No.66000503
Significant dates
Added to NRHPNovember 13, 1966[4]
Designated NHLNovember 13, 1966[1]

In February 2009, the headquarters of the United States Army Recruiting Battalion Albany relocated to Watervliet Arsenal from its old location on Wolf Road.

History

1813–1823

The arsenal was chosen to be built at the edge of the village of Gibbonsville, directly opposite Troy, New York. It was chosen to be built there due to its key location on the Hudson River, only 60 miles (97 km) from Lake Champlain, 140 miles (230 km) from New York City, and a short distance via the Mohawk River to Lake Ontario. During the early stages of the War of 1812, attacks could be expected from many key ports and other locations.

At the time, the Colonel of Ordnance was Decius Wadsworth. He designated the arsenal to produce fixed ammunition and small articles of equipment including gun carriages, drag ropes, ladles, wormers, sponges, and shot. The original plot of land acquired by the Department of Ordnance was 12 acres (49,000 m2). Construction began in the summer of 1813 on fourteen buildings: south and north gun houses, a brick arsenal, two stables, a guard house, commanding officer's quarters, a woodshed, two enlisted men's quarters, a hospital and one office. The cost for the land was US$2,585.

1880s

Nearly 70 years after the arsenal produced its first products, it gained national prominence when it became the Army's first large caliber cannon manufacturer in the late 1880s. During this period, production changed from the manufacturing of saddles and gun carriages to cannons. Remnants of this period are still in operation today, via the continued use of historic Building 110, "The Big Gun Shop," for manufacturing missions. This gun shop once produced 16-inch guns and many other weapons for the United States Army Coast Artillery Corps.

1970s-present

A considerable turning point in the modernization of Watervliet Arsenal was the construction of the radial forge in the 1970s, a $7 million dollar expenditure.[5][6][7]

As of 2023 Watervliet Arsenal is manufacturing cannon barrels for the M1 Abrams tank.[8]

Watervliet Arsenal released plans to replace the iconic rotary forge on June 23, 2023 as part of its modernization plan under the U.S. Army Materiel Command's planned modernization of the U.S. Army's organic industrial base. Additionally, Watervliet Arsenal plans on replacing its paint booth with an automated booth that will expand capacity and capabilities.

On July 31, 2023, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Charles Schumer announced the U.S. Congress and U.S. Army's allocation of $1.7 billion in investment in Watervliet Arsenal. This is the largest investment since REARM in the 1980s and is geared towards improving facilities, equipment and professional development and skills training of employees.

Commanding officers

No. Portrait Name (rank shown highest while in command) Dates of Command
1 No image available Cpt. Thomas L. Campbell Interim Commander July 14, 1813 - 1816
2 No image available Maj. James Daliba November 14, 1816 - May 1, 1824
3
Lt. Col. George Talcott
Lt. Col. George Talcott September 1, 1824 - January 25, 1835
4
Lt. Col. William J. Worth
Lt. Col. William J. Worth January 26, 1835 - April 30, 1838
5
Lt. Col. Rufus L. Baker
Col. Rufus L. Baker October 10, 1838 - October 10, 1851
6
Maj. John Symington
Maj. John Symington October 10, 1851 - June 23, 1857
7
Maj. Alfred Mordecai
Maj. Alfred Mordechai June 23, 1857 - May 14, 1861
8
Col. William A. Thornton
Col. William A. Thornton May 15, 1861 - December 25, 1863
9
Brig. Gen. Peter V. Hagner
Brig. Gen. Peter V. Hagner December 25, 1863 - December 3, 1880
10
Lt. Col. A. R. Buffington
Lt. Col. A. R. Buffington December 3, 1880 - November 2, 1881
11
Col. Alfred Mordecai, Jr.
Col. Alfred Mordechai Jr. November 2, 1881 - May 12, 1886
12
Col. James M. Whittemore
Col. James M. Whittemore June 5, 1886 - November 11, 1889
13
Lt. Col. Francis H. Parker
Lt. Col. Francis H. Parker November 21, 1889 - December 12, 1892
14
Lt. Col. Isaac Arnold
Lt. Col. Isaac Arnold December 19, 1892 - February 14, 1898
15
Col. Alfred Mordecai Jr.
Col. Alfred Mordechai Jr. February 23, 1898 - May 8, 1899
16
Col. Joseph P. Farley
Col. Joseph P. Farley May 26, 1899 - February 17, 1903
17
Lt. Col. Charles Schaler
Lt. Col. Charles Shaler February 18, 1903 - July 13, 1903
18
Col. Daniel M. Taylor
Col. Daniel M. Taylor July 14, 1903 - March 31, 1905
19
Lt. Col. Ira MacNutt
Lt. Col. Ira MacNutt May 1, 1905 - January 7, 1908
20
Col. William W. Gibson
Col. William W. Gibson January 20, 1908 - February 17, 1918
21
Col. John E. Munroe
Col. John E. Munroe March 1, 1918 - September 3, 1918
22
Col. Charles G. Mettler
Col. Charles G. Mettler September 3, 1918 - March 10, 1919
23
Col. J. Walker Benet
Col. J. Walker Benet March 11, 1919 - May 28, 1921
24
Lt. Col. William I. Westervelt
Lt. Col. William I. Westervelt May 31, 1921 0 September 1, 1923
25
Col. Edwin D. Bricker
Col. Edwin D. Bricker October 1, 1923 - July 30, 1929
26
Col. Herman W. Schull
Col. Herman W. Schull September 9, 1929 - Februry 27, 1932
27
Maj. Charles A. Schimelfenig
Maj. Charles A. Schimelfenig February 28, 1932 - July 31, 1932
28
Col. Gilbert H. Stewart
Col. Gilbert H. Stewart August 1, 1932 - September 12, 1938
29
Col. Richard H. Somers
Col. Richard H. Somers November 14, 1938 - July 17, 1940
30
Brig. Gen. A. G. Gillespie
Brig. Gen. A. G. Gillespie July 19, 1940 - March 31, 1945
31
Col. Clarence E. Partridge
Col. Clarence E. Partridge April 1, 1945 - April 30, 1946
32
Col. John C. Raaen
Col. John C. Raaen May 1, 1946 - September 2, 1947
33
Col. Harry N. Rising
Col. Harry N. Rising September 4, 1947 - August 15, 1952
34
Col. Richard Z. Crane
Col. Richard Z. Crane September 1, 1952 - August 31, 1954
35
Col. Elmo S. Matthews
Col. Elmo S. Matthews September 20, 1954 - June 30, 1958
36
Col. Walter M. Tisdale
Col. Walter M. Tisdale August 13, 1958 - January 31, 1962
37
Col. Fred Kornet, Jr.
Col. Fred Kornet, Jr. August 1, 1965 - September 14, 1967
38
Col. Arthur H. Sweeny, Jr.
Col. Arthur H. Sweeny, Jr. November 1967 - August 19, 1968
39
Col. William Mulheron, Jr.
Col. William Mulheron, Jr. December 20, 1968 - June 30, 1971
40
Col. Christopher S. Maggio
Col. Christopher S. Maggio July 15, 1971 - August 31, 1973
41
Col. Richard H. Sawyer
Col. Richard H. Sawyer September 9, 1973 - July 24, 1975
42
Col. Malcolm V. Meekison
Col. Malcolm V. Meekison July 25, 1975 - August 29, 1976
43
Col. Church M. Matthew, Jr.
Col. Church M. Matthews, Jr. September 21, 1976 - September 8, 1978
44
Col. Robert W. Pointer
Col. Robert W. Pointer, Jr. September 8, 1978 - July 14, 1980
45
Col. Gerald R. Wetzel
Col. Gerald R. Wetzel July 14, 1980 - July 19, 1983
46
Col. Edward V. Karl
Col. Edward V. Karl July 19, 1983 - January 22, 1986
47
Col. Robert T. Walker
Col. Robert T. Walker January 22, 1986 - July 14, 1988
48
Col. Joseph H. Mayton, Jr.
Col. Joseph H. Mayton, Jr. July 14, 1988 - July 19, 1990
49
Col. Michael J. Neuman
Col. Michael J. Neuman July 19, 1990 - March 20, 1992
50
Col. Bernard P. Thomas
Col. Bernard P. Thomas March 20, 1992 - March 31, 1994
51
Col. John R. Hostettler
Col. John R. Hostettler March 31, 1994 - May 22, 1996
52
Col. John C. Rickman
Col. John C. Rickman May 22, 1996 - July 9, 1998
53
Col. Gene E. King
Col. Gene E. King July 9, 1998 - July 11, 2000
54
Col. John R. Cook
Col. John R. Cook July 11, 2000 - July 11, 2002
55
Col. Donald C. Olson
Col. Donald C. Olson July 11, 2002 - July 29, 2005
56
Col Kevin R. Moore
Col. Kevin R. Moore July 29, 2005 - July 11, 2008
57
Col. Scott Fletcher
Col. Scott Fletcher July 11, 2008 - July 9, 2010
58
Col. Mark F. Migaleddi
Col. Mark F. Migaleddi July 9, 2010 - July 18, 2013
59
Col. Lee H. Schiller, Jr.
Col. Lee H. Schiller, Jr. July 18, 2013 - July 28, 2016
60
Col. Joseph R. Morrow
Col. Joseph R. Morrow July 28, 2016 - July 24, 2018
61
Col. Milton G. Kelly
Col. Milton G. Kelly August 21, 2018 - July 21, 2020
62
Col. Earl B. Schonberg, Jr.
Col. Earl B. Schonberg, Jr. July 21, 2020 - July 22, 2022
63
Col. Alain G. Fisher
Col. Alain G.Fisher July 22, 2022 - Present

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Watervliet Arsenal". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. 2007-09-11.
  2. ^ Robert W. Craig and Lauren Archibald (October 1985). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Watervliet Arsenal" (pdf). National Park Service. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help) and Accompanying 23 photos, exterior and interior, from 1984-1985, 1870, and 1875. (4.77 MiB)
  3. ^ Crowe, Kenneth (8 August 2014). "Plans dropped for revamped Watervliet Arsenal Museum". Albany Times Union. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  4. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  5. ^ "Watervliet Arsenal: What just happened?". www.army.mil.
  6. ^ "FINAL RCRA FACILITY INVESTIGATION REPORT MAIN MANUFACTURING AREA WATERVLIET ARSENAL, Watervliet, New York" (PDF). New York Department of Environmental Conservation. US Army Corps of Engineers.
  7. ^ Defense, United States Congress Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Department of (1973). Department of Defense Appropriations for Fiscal Year 1974: Hearings Before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, United States Senate, Ninety-third Congress, First Session, on H.R. 11575, an Act Making Appropriations for the Departartment of Defense for the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 1974, and for Other Purposes. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. RA1-942.
  8. ^ Michaels, Daniel. "At a Steam-Age Arsenal, U.S. Army Forges Cannons for a Digital Era, War in Ukraine". WSJ.