The McAlester Army Ammunition Plant (MCAAP) in McAlester, Oklahoma has a connection to my family, as a now departed loved one was on the building crew. He moved his family from Missouri to Oklahoma and stayed until the building was complete. The Tulsa World has the story: most of the bombs used in Afghanistan and Iraq are made in this plant, which has been in operation since 1943. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the accused killer of American Nick Berg, left this world courtesy of a McAlester Army Ammunition bomb. Who knows, maybe we’ll find Oklahoma produced the bomb that ended Osama bin Laden, as well. See an interesting video below that talks of manufacturing bombs and maging the wetlands near the facility. About 5 minutes-in is discussion of the Excalibur program.
Jobs at the plant are highly sought across the southeastern Oklahoma region for the ample benefits and pay, which is based on federal wage scales.
McALESTER – Increased production at the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant for the Afghanistan and Iraq wars has meant an economic windfall for Oklahoma’s state and local governments.
According to figures from the plant, the economic impact to state and local governments now stands at $340 million a year in payroll and contractor services – more than double what it was 10 years ago.
In 2001, the economic impact from the plant stood at $164 million.
The majority of bombs dropped on Afghanistan and Iraq have been made in McAlester, and plant officials noted there has been a 50 percent increase in the labor force to meet increased bomb production.
Before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, fewer than 1,000 people worked at the plant.
The work force now numbers more than 1,500 employees.
Bomb production, in the meantime, has risen in the last 10 years.
In 2001, the plant produced 34,000 bombs.
As of the end of the 2010 fiscal year, the plant’s yearly output of bombs stood at more than 53,500.
Another article from 2004 says the plant produces most of the bombs used for U.S. Military and suspended the production of bunker buster bombs because the high levels of TNT were suspected of causing a high-incidence of anemia in workers. I don’t have the follow-on to that story. We know bunker buster bombs are still in use.
MCAAP was originally commissioned as the McAlester Naval Ammunition Depot in 1943 and was transferred to the US. Army in 1977. It is considered the “premier bomb loading facility and the largest conventional munitions storage facility in the Department of Defense.”
McAlester Army Ammunition Plant (video)