Ordnance Corps (United States Army)

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U.S. Army Ordnance Corps
Ordnance Corps Regimental Insignia.gif
United States Army Ordnance Corps Regimental Insignia
Active 14 May 1812 - present[1]
Country United States of America
Branch United States Army
Type Sustainment
Home of Ordnance Fort Lee, Virginia
Motto Armament for Peace[2]
Service to the Line, on the Line, On Time[3]
Colors Crimson piped with yellow[4]
Commanders
Chief of Ordnance Brigadier General Jack Haley[5]

The United States Army Ordnance Corps is a Sustainment branch of the United States Army, headquartered at Fort Lee, Virginia. The broad mission of the Ordnance Corps is to supply Army combat units with weapons and ammunition, including at times their procurement and maintenance. Along with the Quartermaster and Transportation Corps, it forms a critical component of the U.S. Army logistics system.

Mission Statement[edit]

The U.S. Army Ordnance Corps mission is to support the development, production, acquisition, and sustainment of weapon systems, ammunition, missiles, electronics, and ground mobility material during peace and war to provide combat power to the U.S. Army.[6]

History[edit]

Colonial Period to War of Independence[edit]

In the British colonies in America, each colony was responsible for its own supply of ordnance material. The first written record of an ordnance officer in British colonial America was Samuel Sharpe in the Massachusetts Bay Colony appointed in 1629 as Master Gunner of Ordnance. By 1645, the Massachusetts Colony had a permanent Surveyor of Ordnance. He was responsible for the supply and maintenance of weapons and munitions.

Prior to forming the Continental Army on 14 June 1775, the Second Continental Congress appointed a committee on 27 May to study methods of arms and ammunition procurement and storage and to appoint a Commissary General. On 19 July 1775, Ezekiel Cheever was appointed by General George Washington as Commissary of Artillery Stores, soon to be called Commissary of Military Stores with Major General Henry Knox, the Chief of Artillery.[6] During the course of the American Revolution, each major group of American forces in the field had a Commissary of Military Stores to support the soldiers.

In 1776 the Board of War and Ordnance was created for issuing supplies to troops in the field, and in 1777 a powder magazine was established at Carlisle, Pennsylvania and a foundry at Springfield, Massachusetts.[6] In January 1777, General Washington appointed Benjamin Flower as the head of the Commissary General of Military Stores. Benjaming Flower was given the rank of Colonel and served in that capacity throughout the American Revolution. The Commissary General of Military Stores was an echelon above the Commissary of Military Stores in the field.

In 1794, the Springfield Armory would become the first national armory, producing arms and ammunition until its closing in 1968.[7] Harper's Ferry armory began production in 1798.

Continental Expansion and Civil War[edit]

Part of the War Department since 1789, Congress created the separate Ordnance Department, supervised by the Secretary of War, on 14 May 1812, as part of the War of 1812 preparations with responsibility for arms and ammunition production, acquisition, distribution and storage. The act also created a new position, the Commissary General of Ordnance.[6][7][8] On 5 February 1815 Colonel Decius Wadsworth, the former Commissary General of Purchases was chosen as the Commissary General of Ordnance.[6][8][9] The act also directed the new Commissary General of Ordnance to "...enlist artisans and laborers to direct the inspection and proof of all cannon and small arms to direct the construction of gun carriages equipments implements and ammunition to make estimates and contracts for and purchases of ordnance supplies and stores and to issue them to the army to exact from armories and arsenals quarterly returns of property and to receive from all responsible officers reports of damages to ordnance material to establish ordnance depots to prepare regulations for the government of the Ordnance Department and forms of returns and reports[8]".

In order to improve and reform the military’s organization following the end of the War of 1812 the Army Reorganization Act of 3 March 1815 was passed, that among many other important changes[10] modified the responsibilities of the Ordnance Department “to include the procurement of arms and ammunition, supervision of the Army’s arsenals and armories, and recruitment and training of artificers[7]” with the responsibility to arm and equip the militia from the permanent appropriation of $200,000 per annum provided by the law of 23 April 1808.[8]

In 1821, all officers assigned to the Ordnance Department were re-commissioned into the artillery branch. The Ordnance Department would continue to function with officers from artillery. In 1832 an act of Congress would re-establish the Ordnance Department.[7][8]

On 3 August 1861 an act of Congress added to the Ordnance Department the actual title of Chief of Ordnance "with the rank pay and emoluments of the Quartermaster General[8](132)". On 1 January 1861 Brigadier General James W. Ripley was promoted over the current Commissary General of Ordnance Colonel Henry K. Craig to become the first formally recognized Chief of Ordnance.[8]

During the American Civil War, the Ordnance Department procured and provided massive amounts of weapons and supplies, and with the establishment of Sandy Hook Proving Ground, New Jersey, in 1874 the Army acquired its first full-scale testing facility. The Spanish-American War was the first conflict in which the department deployed materials overseas and provided close combat support.

World War I[edit]

At the start of World War I, the Ordnance Department was “charged with supplying the Army with arms, equipment, and ammunition…establishing and maintaining arsenals and depots for the manufacture, repair, and safe-keeping of ordnance, and provide horse equipments and field outfits for Soldiers, such as canteens, tin cups, knives, forks, and spoons[11]”.

During World War I, the Ordnance Department mobilized the United States industrial base, jointly developed weapons with European allies, and established overseas supply depots and Ordnance training facilities. In 1919, testing was moved from Sandy Hook Proving Ground to the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.

A safety campaign around ordnance by U.S. Army published during the height of World War II (c. 1942-1943) by the War Production Board

World War II[edit]

By 1940 all Ordnance training, officer and enlisted was moved from Raritan Arsenal, New Jersey to the Aberdeen Proving Ground, forming the Ordnance School.[6]

World War II expanded the Ordnance Department's responsibilities to include production, acquisition, distribution, and training missions for the Army Ground Forces, the Army Air Force, and, in some categories the Navy.[12] In August 1942, the Ordnance Department assumed responsibility for procurement and maintenance of all wheeled and motored vehicles.[6][9]

Typically, the Ordnance Department was responsible for getting weapons and ammunition to the combat troops at the divisional level. Material was delivered in theater to depots, which mainly supplied other supply installations, and Ammunition Supply Points (ASPs), which primarily distributed ammunition to combat troops. Although the precise organization structure was always adjusted to field conditions, there were usually two ASPs per division. WWII Army Divisions usually had one Ordnance Company. As the ammunition supplies were distributed down the organizational hierarchy, their transportation and allocation increasingly became the responsibility of the combat units themselves.[13]

Beginning in 1942, with the authorization of the Chief of Ordnance, a computing branch at the University of Pennsylvania's Moore School of Electrical Engineering was established as a substation of Aberdeen Proving Ground under the code name “Project PX”.[14] On 15 February 1946, the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC), the world’s general-purpose electronic computer, was formally dedicated.[12] ENIAC was designed to calculate artillery firing tables for the United States Army Ballistic Research Laboratory. The ENIAC's first use was in calculations for the hydrogen bomb.[15]

In August 1945, Colonel Holger Toftoy, head of the Rocket Branch of the Research and Development Division of the US Army’s Ordnance Department, offered initial one-year contracts to German rocket scientists as part of Operation Paperclip, a program used to recruit the scientists from Nazi Germany for employment by the United States; 127 of them accepted. In September 1945, the first group of seven rocket scientists arrived at Fort Strong, New York and then moving to Fort Bliss, Texas in January 1946.[16][17]

In 1949, the German scientists were transferred from the White Sands Missile Range Fort Bliss Range Complex to the Redstone Arsenal Ordnance Rocket Center.

Korea, Vietnam, and the Cold War Era[edit]

The Ordnance Department was renamed the Ordnance Corps in the Army Organization Act, 28 June 1950. In both Korea and Vietnam, the Ordnance Corps provided materiel supply and maintenance, characteristic of its tradition of "service to the line, on the line, on time," and was active in the development of rockets, guided missiles and satellites.[18]

War on Terrorism[edit]

Under the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) authorization, announced in 2005, the U.S. Army Ordnance Center and School was directed to relocate from Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland to Fort Lee, Virginia.[19]

Heraldic Items and Traditions[edit]

Branch Insignia[edit]

The Ordnance Corps branch insignia is represented by the “shell and flame”. Its use by the Ordnance Corps dates back to 1832; it is considered to be the oldest branch insignia of the Army. Similar insignia had been used by the British Army. After its adoption by the American Army, the design was used by the Artillery as well as the Ordnance until 1834 when the crossed cannon were adopted by the Artillery. In 1835, the shell and flame was used on a button for members of the Ordnance Corps and the design had been used in various items worn on the uniform since it was first adopted. The simplicity of the shell and flame harmonizes with the armament of days gone by, while the action it connotes is applicable with equal force to the weapons of today.[2]

Branch Plaque[edit]

The plaque design has the branch insignia, letters, and rim in gold. The background is crimson.[2]

Regimental Insignia[edit]

The regimental insignia for the Ordnance Corps was approved on 25 March 1986. It is gold color metal and enamel device 1 1/8 inches in height overall consisting of two gray antique cannons in saltire on a white disc behind an encircling scroll in the form of a buckle red belt with, between the intersecting cannons and the belt, a black antique bomb, its scarlet flames issuing at the top of the device from behind the belt, which bears the inscription "ORDNANCE CORPS U.S.A." in gold letters.[2]

The crossed cannons are representative of the Ordnance Corps' early relationship to the Artillery. The flaming bomb, also known as the shell and flame, represents the armament of days gone by, while the energy it connotes is applicable to the weapons of our own day. The cannoneer's belt, which encircles the flaming bomb and crossed cannons, is embossed with the words "ORDNANCE CORPS U.S.A." and represents the traditional association between munitions and armament. The white background symbolizes the Ordnance Corps' motto, "ARMAMENT FOR PEACE”.[2]

Ordnance Soldier’s Creed[edit]

Main article: U.S. Soldier's Creed

As an Ordnance Soldier of the United States Army, I will utilize every available talent and means to ensure that superior mobility, firepower, and communications are advantages enjoyed by the United States Army over its enemies. As an Ordnance Soldier, I fully understand my duty to perform under adverse conditions and I will continually strive to perfect my craft. I will remain flexible so that I can meet any emergency. In my conduct, I will abide by the Soldier's code. In my support mission in the field, I will use every available skill to maintain superiority; I will always be tactically and technically proficient As an Ordnance soldier, I have no greater task.[20][21]

Army Ordnance Song[edit]

Main article: The Army Song

The words and music to Arms for the Love of America were originally composed by Irving Berlin and published by the Army Ordnance Association in 1941. It was dedicated to Major General C.M. Wesson, the Chief of Ordnance from 1938 to 1942.[22]

On land and on the sea and in the air
We've gotta be there, we've gotta be there
America is sounding her alarm
We've gotta have arms, we've gotta have arms

Arms for the love of America!
They speak in a foreign land, with weapons in every hand
Whatever they try, we've gotta reply
In language that they understand

Arms for the love of America!
And for the love of every mother's son
Who's depending on the work that must be done
By the man behind the man behind the gun

-Lyrics to Arms for the Love of America

The Ordnance Order of Samuel Sharpe[edit]

The purpose of the Ordnance Order of Samuel Sharpe is to recognize those individuals who have served the United States Army Ordnance Corps with demonstrated integrity, moral character and professional competence over a sustained period of time. And whose selfless contributions to the Corps stand out in the eyes of their seniors, peers and subordinates alike.

— Samuel Sharpe selection criteria[23]

On 26 February 1628 the Court of Assistants in London directed that “five pieces of ordnance and a great quantity of other arms and great shot” belonging to a settlement near modern day Salem, Massachusetts be placed under the control of Mr. Samuel Sharpe, making him the first European “Master Gunner of our Ordnance” on the American continent.[24][25]

U.S. Army Ordnance Corps Personnel[edit]

Chiefs of Ordnance[edit]

In 1962 the Office of the Chief of Ordnance was abolished and all ordnance-related administrative functions were performed by other Army agencies. The position was re-established in 1983, as a proponent agency for all ordnance related occupational specialties and career management fields. The Ordnance Corps would join the regimental system of the U.S. Army in 1986, with the Chief of Ordnance as the head of the Corps.[26]

Commissary Generals, Commissary Generals of Ordnance, and Chiefs of Ordnance listed below:[27][28]

  • Ezekiel Cheever, 1776
  • Colonel Decius Wadsworth, 1815–1821[8]
  • Colonel George Bomford, 1832–1842[8]
  • Colonel George Talcott, 1842–1851[8]
  • Colonel Henry K. Craig, 1851–1861[8]
  • Brigadier General James W. Ripley, 1861–1863[8]
  • Brigadier General George D. Ramsey, 1863–1864[8]
  • Brigadier General Alexander B. Dyer, 1864–1874[8]
  • Brigadier General Stephen Vincent Benet, Sr., 1874–1891[8]
  • Brigadier General Daniel W. Flagler, 1891–1899
  • Brigadier General Adelbert R. Buffington, 1899–1901
  • Major General William Crozier, 1901–1918
  • Major General Clarence C. Williams, 1918–1930[29]
  • Major General Samuel Hof, 1930–1934[30]
  • Major General William H. Tschappat, 1934–1938[31]
  • Major General Charles M. Wesson, 1938–1942[32]
  • Lieutenant General Levin H. Campbell, Jr., 1942–1946[33]
  • Major General Everett S. Hughes, 1946–1949[34]
  • Major General Elbert L. Ford, 1949–1953[35]
  • Lieutenant General Emerson L. Cummings, 1953–1958
  • Lieutenant General John H. Hinrichs, 1958–1962
  • Major General Horace F. Bigelow, 1962
  • Major General William E. Potts, 1983–1986
  • Major General James W. Ball, 1988–1990
  • Major General Johnnie E. Wilson, 1990–1992
  • Major General John G. Coburn, 1992–1994
  • Major General James W. Monroe, 1994–1995
  • Major General Robert D. Shadley, 1995–1997
  • Brigadier General Thomas R. Dickinson, 1997–1998
  • Major General Dennis K. Jackson, 1998–2000
  • Major General Mitchell Stevenson, 2000–2003
  • Brigadier General William M. Lenaers, 2003–2004
  • Major General Vincent E. Boles, 2004–2006
  • Brigadier General Rebecca S. Halstead, 2006–2008
  • Brigadier General LyJack Healeynn A. Collyar, 2008–2010
  • Brigadier General Clark W. LeMasters Jr., 2010 – 2012 [36]
  • Brigadier General Edward M. Daly, 2012-2013[5]
  • Brigadier General Jack Haley 2013-Pres.

Commissioned Officer Areas of Concentration (AOC)[edit]

  • 89E Explosive Ordnance Disposal[3]
  • 91A Materiel Maintenance and Munitions Management Officer[3][37]

Warrant Officer Military Occupational Specialties[edit]

  • 890A Ammunition Warrant Officer[3]
  • 913A Armament Systems Maintenance Warrant Officer[3]
  • 914A Allied Trades Warrant Officer[3]
  • 915A Automotive Maintenance Warrant Officer[3]
  • 915E Senior Automotive Maintenance Warrant Officer[3]
  • 919A Engineer Equipment Maintenance Warrant Officer[3]
  • 948B Electronics Maintenance Warrant Officer
  • 948D Electronic Missile Systems Maintenance Warrant Officer[3]
  • 948E Senior Electronics Maintenance Warrant Officer[3]

Enlisted Military Occupational Specialties (MOS)[edit]

  • 89A Ammunition Stock Control and Accounting Specialist[38][39]
  • 89B Ammunition Specialist[39][40]
  • 89D Explosive Ordnance Disposal Specialist[39][41]
  • 91A M1 ABRAMS Tank System Maintainer (formerly 63A)[39][42][43]
  • 91B Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic (formerly 63B)[39][43][44]
  • 91C Utilities Equipment Repairer (formerly 52C)[39][43][45]
  • 91D Power Generation Equipment Repairer (formerly 52D)[39][43][46]
  • 91E Allied Trades Specialist (formerly 91E and 91W)[39][43][47]
  • 91F Small Arms/Artillery Repairer (formerly 45B)[39][43][48]
  • 91G Fire Control Repairer (formerly 45G)[39][43][49]
  • 91H Track Vehicle Repairer (formerly 63H)[39][43][50]
  • 91J Quartermaster and Chemical Equipment Repairer (formerly 63J)[39][43][51]
  • 91K Armament Repairer (formerly 45K)[39][43][52]
  • 91L Construction Equipment Repairer (formerly 62B)[39][43][53]
  • 91M Bradley Fighting Vehicle System Maintainer (formerly 63M)[39][43][54]
  • 91P Self Propelled Artillery Artillery Systems Maintainer (formerly 63D)[39][43][55]
  • 91S Stryker Systems Maintainer[39][56]
  • 91X Maintenance Supervisor (formerly 63X)[39][43]
  • 91Z Senior Maintenance Supervisor (formerly 63Z)[39][43]
  • 94A Land Combat Electronic Missile System Repairer[39][57]
  • 94D Air Traffic Control Equipment Repairer[39][58]
  • 94E Radio and Communication (COMSEC) Security Repairer[39][59]
  • 94F Computer/Detection Systems Repairer[39][60]
  • 94H Test Measurement and Diagnostic Equipment (TMDE) Maintenance Support Specialist[39][61]
  • 94M RADAR Repairer[39][62]
  • 94P Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) Repairer[39][63]
  • 94R Avionics and Survivability Repairer[39][64]
  • 94S PATRIOT System Repairer[39][65]
  • 94T AVENGER System Repairer[39][66]
  • 94X Senior Missile Maintenance Supervisor[39]
  • 94W Electronic Maintenance Chief[39]
  • 94Y Integrated Family of Test Equipment (IFTE) Operator/Maintainer[39][67]
  • 94Z Senior Electronic Maintenance Chief[39]

Notes[edit]

^1 In 1835, the Ordnance Corps had a red plume - the same as Artillery. Crimson was prescribed as the Ordnance color in 1851. In 1902, it was changed to black and scarlet. Crimson and yellow were established as the branch colors on 14 October 1921.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Army's Birthday". U.S. Army Center of Military History. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
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  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k DA PAM 600-3: Commissioned Officer Professional Development and Career Management (PDF). U.S. Department of the Army. 1 February 2010. 
  4. ^ "Ordnance Corps: Branch Colors". U.S. Army Institute of Heraldry. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "Commandant U.S. Army Ordnance Schools". Ordnance Corps Official Website. U.S. Army Ordnance Corps. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
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  11. ^ Moss, James (1917). Officers' manual. George Banta Publishing Company. p. 79. 
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  13. ^ War Department. 1944. FM 9-6: Ordnance Department Ammunition Supply, pp. 27-8
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  22. ^ "Arms for the Love of America: The Army Ordnance Song". Johns Hopkins University, Levy Sheet Music Collection. Milton S. Eisenhower Library of the Johns Hopkins University. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
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  41. ^ "89D Explosive Ordnance Disposal Specialist". U.S. Department of the Army online. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  42. ^ "91A M1 ABRAMS Tank System Maintainer". U.S. Department of the Army online. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  43. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "MOS Conversion Information". Ordnance Personnel Development Office online. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  44. ^ "91B Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic". U.S. Department of the Army online. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  45. ^ "91C Utilities Equipment Repairer". U.S. Department of the Army online. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  46. ^ "91D Power Generation Equipment Repairer". U.S. Department of the Army online. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  47. ^ "91E Allied Trades Specialist". U.S. Department of the Army online. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  48. ^ "91F Small Arms/Artillery Repairer". U.S. Department of the Army online. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  49. ^ "91G Fire Control Repairer". U.S. Department of the Army online. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  50. ^ "91H Track Vehicle Repairer". U.S. Department of the Army online. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  51. ^ "91J Quartermaster and Chemical Equipment Repairer". U.S. Department of the Army online. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  52. ^ "91K Armament Repairer". U.S. Department of the Army online. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  53. ^ "91L Construction Equipment Repairer". U.S. Department of the Army online. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  54. ^ "91M Bradley Fighting Vehicle System Maintainer". U.S. Department of the Army online. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  55. ^ "91P Artillery Mechanic". U.S. Department of the Army online. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  56. ^ "91S Stryker Systems Maintainer". U.S. Department of the Army online. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  57. ^ "94A Land Combat Electronic Missile System Repairer". U.S. Department of the Army online. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  58. ^ "94D Air Traffic Control Equipment Repairer". U.S. Department of the Army online. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  59. ^ "94E Radio and Communication (COMSEC) Security Repairer". U.S. Department of the Army online. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  60. ^ "94F Computer/Detection Systems Repairer". U.S. Department of the Army online. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  61. ^ "94H Test Measurement and Diagnostic Equipment Maintenance Support Specialist". U.S. Department of the Army online. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  62. ^ "94M RADAR Repairer". U.S. Department of the Army online. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  63. ^ "94P Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) Repairer". U.S. Department of the Army online. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  64. ^ "94R Avionics and Survivability Repairer". U.S. Department of the Army online. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  65. ^ "94S PATRIOT System Repairer". U.S. Department of the Army online. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  66. ^ "94T AVENGER System Repairer". U.S. Department of the Army online. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  67. ^ "94Y Integrated Family of Test Equipment (IFTE) Operator/Maintainer". U.S. Department of the Army online. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 

External links[edit]

Further Reading and Media[edit]