Hawthorne Army Depot (HWAD) is a U.S. Army ammunition storage depot located near the town of Hawthorne in western Nevada in the United States. It is directly south of Walker Lake. The depot covers 147,000 acres (59,000 ha) or 226 sq. mi. and has 600,000 square feet (56,000 m2) storage space in 2,427 bunkers. HWAD is the "World's Largest Depot" and is divided into three ammunition storage and production areas, plus an industrial area housing command headquarters, facilities engineering shops, etc.
Hawthorne Army Depot stores reserve ammunitions to be used after the first 30 days of a major conflict. As such, it is only partially staffed during peacetime, but provision has been made to rapidly expand staffing as necessary. The depot is run by an independent contractor under an agreement with the government.
Capabilities of the center include: demilitarization, desert training for military units, ammunition renovation, quality assurance, ISO intermodal container maintenance/repair, and range scrap processing. It is a US Navy air-to-air and air-to-ground training facility, including the Naval Fighter Weapons school.
The Naval Ammunition Depot Hawthorne was established in September 1930. It was redesignated Hawthorne Army Ammunition Plant in 1977 when it transferred to Army control as part of the Single Manager for Conventional Ammunition. In 1994, it ended its production mission and became Hawthorne Army Depot.
The depot began its existence as the Hawthorne Naval Ammunition Depot (NAD). It was established after a major disaster occurred at the Lake Denmark Naval Ammunition Depot, in New Jersey, in 1926. The accident virtually destroyed the depot, causing heavy damage to adjacent Picatinny Arsenal and the surrounding communities, killing 21 people, and seriously injuring 53 others. The monetary loss to the Navy alone was $84 million, just over $1 billion today (mostly in consumed explosives). As a result of a full-scale Congressional investigation, the seventieth Congress in 1928 directed the establishment of a Board of Officers to provide oversight of the storage conditions of explosives. A court of inquiry investigating the explosion recommended that a depot be established in a remote area within 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of the west coast to serve the Pacific area.
Construction began on Hawthorne NAD in July 1928, and NAD received its first shipment of high explosives on 19 October 1930. When the United States entered World War II, the Depot became the staging area for bombs, rockets, and ammunition for almost the entire war effort. Employment was at its highest at 5,625 in 1945. By 1948, NAD occupied about 104 square miles (269 km2) of the 327 square miles (850 km2) area under Navy jurisdiction. Subsequently, excess Navy lands were turned over to the Bureau of Land Management.
Security for the 3,000 bunkers at NAD was provided by the U.S. Marine Corps. Beginning in September 1930 and during World War II, 600 Marines were assigned to the facility. In 1977, that number had been reduced to 117; security is now contracted to a private company.
The mission and functions at NAD remained much the same over the facility's history. The mission, as stated in a 1962 Navy Command History, was to "receive, renovate, maintain, store and issue ammunition, explosives, expendable ordnance items and/or weapons and technical ordnance material and perform additional tasks as directed by the Bureau of Naval Weapons." It also served as an important ammunition center during the Korean and Vietnam Wars with several thousand structures on 236 square miles (610 km2) of land. Stored ammunition that had been examined and repacked was given the code HAW followed by the last two digits of the year (e.g., HAW 50).
In 1977, NAD was transferred to the Army, and renamed the Hawthorne Army Ammunition Plant (HWAAP). In 1980, HWAAP was redesignated as a government-owned contractor-operated facility. Day & Zimmermann Hawthorne Corporation (DZHC) is the current operating contractor (D&Z won the competition over three other bidders, namely Aerojet Services, Mason & Knight, and the British-owned ICI America, by proposing the lowest price for the plant's operation, the award was announced on 5 August 1980).In 1994, the facility received its current name of the Hawthorne Army Depot (HWAD).
In 1998–1999, the facility was used to destroy the U.S. stockpile of M687 chemical artillery shells and separate from them their 505 tons (458 metric tons) of binary precursor chemicals.
In May 2005, the facility was included on the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure list, with closure being recommended. However, the depot was subsequently dropped from the BRAC list, primarily due to the base's training capability in support of pre-deployment training for OEF-bound Marine Corps units (by MWTC), Navy, and Army SOF.
On 18 March 2013, seven U.S. Marines were killed and at least eight were wounded when a mortar exploded during a live-fire training exercise. Because of the accident, the Pentagon suspended the shell pending an investigation.Following investigation, the explosion was deemed to have been as a result of human error and the suspension was lifted.
Currently, Reserve Marines from 4th Marine Logistics Group (4th MLG) conduct annual training exercises at the Hawthorne Army Depot as well as surrounding desert areas.
Hawthorne Army Depot surrounds the small town of Hawthorne, Nevada, where most of its employees reside. Prior to the facility becoming contractor-operated, it was staffed primarily by civil service workers and military personnel, who were housed on government owned property neighboring Hawthorne, including the now-abandoned town of Babbitt and military housing known as Schweer Drive. The housing in Babbitt was made up of large buildings created to be duplexes. The system of trusses allowed all interior walls to be removed without compromising their structure. Since the disposal of Babbitt many of these "Babbitt Houses" have found their way throughout rural Nevada filling a number of uses. During the peak of operations in World War II, additional housing was provided in a former Civilian Conservation Corps camp christened "Camp Jumbo", and in a large adjoining construction camp. The local Sixth Street School (whose building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places) was expanded to serve the population growth.
The United States Forces Japan (USFJ) is an active subordinate unified command of the United States Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM). It was activated at Fuchū Air Station in Tokyo, Japan on 1 July 1957 to replace the Far East Command (FEC). USFJ is commanded by the Commander, U.S. Forces, Japan (COMUSJAPAN) who is also dual-hatted as commander of the Fifth Air Force. At present, USFJ is headquartered at Yokota Air Base in Tokyo.
Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) is a process by a United States federal government commission to increase United States Department of Defense efficiency by planning the end of the Cold War realignment and closure of military installations. More than 350 installations have been closed in five BRAC rounds: 1988, 1991, 1993, 1995, and 2005.
An ammunition dump, ammunition supply point (ASP), ammunition handling area (AHA) or ammunition depot is a military storage facility for live ammunition and explosives.
Blue Grass Army Depot (BGAD) is a U.S. Army storage facility for conventional munitions and chemical weapons. The facility is located in east central Kentucky, southeast of the cities of Lexington and Richmond, Kentucky. The 14,494-acre (58.66 km2) site, composed mainly of open fields and wooded areas, is used for munitions storage, repair of general supplies, and the disposal of munitions. The installation is used for the storage of conventional explosive munitions as well as assembled chemical weapons. The depot primarily is involved in industrial and related activities associated with the storage and maintenance of conventional and chemical munitions.
The Picatinny Arsenal is an American military research and manufacturing facility located on 6,400 acres (26 km2) of land in Jefferson and Rockaway Township in Morris County, New Jersey, United States, encompassing Picatinny Lake and Lake Denmark. The Arsenal is the headquarters of the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Armaments Center. It is known for developing the ubiquitous Picatinny rail, as well as being the army's center of expertise for small arms cartridge ammunition.
The Naval Ammunition Depot Hastings near Hastings, Nebraska was the largest United States World War II naval munitions plant operating from 1942 to 1946 and produced over 40% of the U.S. Navy's munitions.
Babbitt, Nevada, was a populated place established as a 1941 government housing facility for workers of the neighboring Hawthorne Naval Ammunition Depot. Subsequently used as a Cold War radar station, remaining town structures include the school building at the intersection of 21st Street and Yorktown Avenue and numerous concrete building foundations. An RV park is located at the east side of the former community.
The Hingham Naval Ammunition Depot Annex, sometimes called the “Cohasset Annex” or "Hingham Annex" by local residents, covered sections of the towns of Hingham, Cohasset, Norwell, and Scituate Massachusetts. It served as an annex to the Hingham Naval Ammunition Depot.
The Joint Munitions Command (JMC) is the latest in a series of commands since World War II that have managed the ammunition plants of the United States. Since 1973, those commands have been headquartered on Rock Island Arsenal. Brig. Gen. Michelle M. T. Letcher commands the JMC. The headquarters on Rock Island Arsenal is responsible for munitions production and storage (depots) facilities in 16 states. JMC employs 20 military, over 5800 civilians and 8300 contractor personnel. Of these approximately 14,000 personnel, more than 650 work in the headquarters on Rock Island Arsenal. JMC has an annual budget of 1.2 billion dollars.
McAlester Army Ammunition Plant (MCAAP) is a weapons manufacturing facility for the United States Department of Defense in McAlester, Oklahoma, US. Its mission is to produce and renovate conventional ammunition and ammunition related components. The plant stores war reserve and training ammunition. McAlester performs manufacturing, industrial engineering, and production product assurance. The plant also receives, demilitarizes, and disposes of conventional ammunition components. The plant is the largest, in terms of storage, housing close to one-third of the Department of Defense's munitions stockpile.
The Louisiana Army Ammunition Plant, formerly known as the Louisiana Ordnance Plant or as The Shell Plant, is an inactive 14,974-acre (60.60 km2) plant to load, assemble and pack ammunitions items. During production from 1942 to 1994, the Army disposed of untreated explosives-laden wastewater in on-site lagoons, contaminating soil, sediments and groundwater with hazardous chemicals. It is government-owned, contractor-operated facility located off U.S. Highway 80 in Webster Parish near Doyline between Minden and Bossier City, Louisiana. Part of LAAP is known as Camp Minden, a training center for the Louisiana Army National Guard. LAAP and Camp Minden have become nearly interchangeable terms, with most references to Camp Minden.
Camp Navajo was originally opened in 1942 in Bellemont, Arizona. It was originally designated Navajo Ordnance Depot, and its primary use was the storage of ammunition used in the Pacific Theater of World War II. It was renamed Navajo Army Depot in 1965, changed to Navajo Depot Activity in 1982, and then changed in 1993 to its current name. In 1993 the Department of Defense transferred all ammunition activities to Hawthorne Army Ammunition Plant in Nevada. Following the transfer, Camp Navajo remained federal land under the Department of the Army, overseen by the Arizona Army National Guard. The Ordnance Operations and Industrial Park are managed by the Arizona Department of Emergency of Military Affairs (AZDEMA), and the military training mission remains managed by the Arizona Army National Guard. All authority is given through the Department of Defense Army Corps of Engineers regarding engineering, design, and construction management processes for potential DoD and DoD type customers.
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Naval Support Activity Charleston, originally designated Naval Weapons Station Charleston, is a base of the United States Navy located on the west bank of the Cooper River, in the cities of Goose Creek and Hanahan South Carolina. The base encompasses more than 17,000 acres (69 km²) of land with 10,000 acres (40 km²) of forest and wetlands, 16-plus miles of waterfront, four deep-water piers, 38.2 miles (61.5 km) of railroad and 292 miles (470 km) of road. The current workforce numbers more than 11,000 with an additional 3,600 people in on-base family housing.
Hawthorne Bomb Plot is a Formerly Used Defense Site that had a Strategic Air Command (SAC) AUTOTRACK radar station during the Cold War. Operations began at a temporary RBS train site for RBS Express #2 was at the Hawthorne area in December 1961, and the 11th Radar Bomb Scoring Squadron subsequently established the fixed military installation for Radar Bomb Scoring in Babbitt, Nevada, the military housing community near the local Navy/Army depot.
Chattenden and Lodge Hill Military Camps were British Army training camps in Chattenden and Hoo St Werburgh in Kent. They were built as ordnance depots and functioned as such through to the second half of the twentieth century.
US Navy 7 Naval Ammunition Depot was located at Springhill, near Northam, Western Australia. It was one of three US Naval Ammunition Depots developed across Australia during World War II to support the service's operations in the South West Pacific.
The Roseville Yard Disaster was an accidental explosion and fire that occurred on 28 April 1973 at a major Southern Pacific railroad yard located in the city of Roseville, California. The shipment of munitions bound for the Vietnam War originated at the Hawthorne, NV Army Depot. The explosions continued for a number of days.
The Shumaker Naval Ammunition Depot was a munitions manufacturing facility of the United States Navy located in Calhoun and Ouachita counties in southern Arkansas. It operated from 1945 until 1957, producing Sidewinder missiles and other weapons. The property was sold off in 1961. Part of the original site now houses Southern Arkansas University Tech. Two of its surviving buildings, the 500-Man Barracks and the Administration Building were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2018.
California during World War II was major contributor to the World War II effort. California's long Pacific Ocean coastline provided the support needed for the Pacific War. California also supported the war in Europe. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941 most of California was shifted to the war effort. California became a major ship builder and aircraft manufacturer. Existing military installations were enlarged and many new ones were built. California trained many of the troops before their oversea deployment. Over 800,000 Californians served in the United States Armed Forces. California agriculture, ranches and farms were used to feed the troops around the world. California's long coastline also put the state in fear, as an attack on California seemed likely. California was used for the temporary and permanent internment camps for Japanese Americans. The population of California grew significantly, largely due to servicemen who were trained and stationed at the new military bases and training facilities. With all the new economy activity, California was lifted out of the great depression. Over 500,000 peopled moved to California from other states to work in the growing economy. California expanded its oil and mineral production to keep up with the war demand.
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