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Fifty Years of Excellence The Redstone Arsenal Complex Since 1941

Michael E. Baktr and Kaylt nt Hughes

!he morning 01"25 OClobcr 1941, whtn Maj.Clrroll D. Hudwn walked 10 the center of a a)[lon field and tumed over I shovelful of aM. This simple cere

The: Ordnance: Corps was allracted to the area hy the Jmsc:nce: of the CWS ins!.111atlon. Rcwl:I\i,.ing the lremendous KOOOIIIy of locaIin,:L shell loading.nd

mony malted the

of eonslluction of !he

plant cLose to this facility, the chief of

JU$l over tiny years :ago. fire [rudr.s raced through !he "W,[CI'CftSS Capital of the World" delivcring an

"EXTRA" edition of the

TimtJ. The 3July

t941 IlCwspIpcr'S banner headlines pnxl,imed the coru;tlUClion of • S40 million chcmk:a1 war ptanl southwest of what willi lhcn I quiet town in nonhcm

Alwma. nw: Anny's

(Ill HlIfllS\litlc lflii the

suml\lnding lrel wI! immedia[c and profound.



longlasling. nw: 1949dccision

to COf\.<;olidalC the Anny's miUilc and



Ar.;enal rortverchanged the people

and wayof life in Hunuville. The arsenal's past helps t o u p t a i n i i ' o w n a l l w e l l a s B U n l $ \ ' i l k ' s C U m ' f l 1 p o ! I i l i o n o n t h e " " ' cuuing edge in ml'-.tllcry

the Wu Dep.1lUTlCfU changed the 5lofI&e fKil ity" nam( to Gulf Ov:mlcal Warfare Depoe on 10

chemical pmduclioo and storage

First, tt-.::

Anny oetdcd about 30.000 acres of land loeaIed far enough fmen!he coast to provide sufficient pmtcclion

rounded by foothills which arrorded CA[ra pMtc!ion from ponible :Lllack. Other eoosidc:..tions irocll.l(k,d access 10 adequale rail. WI[er, and highway IranlipClr· tation: plentiful fuel and elcctrical power: ;unplc con- 5!ruaion supplies; and cnouth ..... materials for 1I\Ib !lCqllCnt In IIddition. the anllable labor [XlO1. the climate. and the gcncralliving condilions in

nonh(m Alabam. were ton'iidcred ucellcrt.



World Wll r IT Il wI! hot and sultry in Buntsvillt. Alabaml. on

Anny's sc:lcctkm of

15 the site: for i" new

from enemy aagrc:ssiOlL 1lle land WIS not only very n:asooabIy

by the city bul also sur

Ordnaroce Corps' seventh m;mufllCturing ancruJ. RedSlOOC Ordnance Plant. as lhe IlcW f.:ility ini· tially was known, wa.'I not the firsl Anny installation

localed in the

arc.ofooM Alabama.

Previously. on 4 AUgll9. 194I.the Cb:mical Warfare Service (CWS) h;td hmken Ground on anew chemical man"facturing and storage facility n;uned HUlllSville Arscllil. whid"! was 10 supplcmem!he production of !he CWS' only other chemic.ll manufilCturing plant a! Edllewood Al"ill'nal, MlI1'IVid. The Anoy I<lquired about 30.(0) x=ofland on !he cily'S IOUthwestem edge forthe new facility.

Included in !he land for lIuntsville Arsenal ...·cre

po"ionofthe Irsenal bonkring !heTennc:ssce River. the Huntsville Chemical Warfare Ikpot Wl.! estab lished by the War Dcpartmenton 6 M.n:l1 1942. 11Ic


uon.-d. and issued such CWS 1II:L[tnei

ordnance acquired a 4.ClOO-acre tr.IC!

nf and .d';"

tenllOHuntsville AT5CT\a1. RcdMonc Oo.inance Mant. which derived from the preponderance of red $Oil in the area, was the only lovemmcot-ilwnc:d Ind

  • -

    operated ;menal CSlllblish.:d by the Ordnance Corps

during World War II. It was :aJ5O the ollly Ordn= Cnrp:!i manuflCluri", ;menal loca!cd south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Tile War Ocpmment offici:aJly x!lv.too the nc:w facHity on 5 February 1942. One year lalCr on 26 r-cbruary 1943. the plant was n:dc:sig.


employ=; won the Amy-Navy

award live difftrent limes.

faclors thai comribu[ed to!he

over 7,700


tion of a depo! area.

to be used for wnSlrUC In !he tAtn:mc wuthem

decontaminating .ppa and spare p.1!U fnr II' with Huntsville Arsenal.

naled Redstone Arxnal. During World Wu I I Rcd.';!QOC


such items as buBlCr charges. mroium· and major caliber chemical a"illcry ammunition, rine grenades, demollt lon blocks. and bombsofYarying weights and sil.es. BeiwttTI Much 1942. wilen pmduaion bt"gan 31 Redslone. and the JapllllCSC fl,lnn.ll sum:nderin Sep

1945. over 45.2 milliOll unilS of wnmunhlon were loaded and assembled fnr shipment For t/"w::ir outstanding sc:rvia;s in the manufacture of munitions.

1943. 1llere

IS munitions. bulk Muses. masks. To .void

materi ....


n: seve..'

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