Watervliet Arsenal provides mortars to Afghanistan
As President Obama lays out a vision to bring the war in Afghanistan to a close, the Watervliet Arsenal is playing a big role in bringing the troops home. YNN's Lori Chung explains.
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WATERVLIET, N.Y. -- "We're taking it from the rough turn state to the finished stages of machining," said Brant Wert, machinist apprentice.
Hundreds of 60 millimeter lightweight mortars are taking shape at the Watervliet arsenal, part of a $5.9 million deal to put weapons like this in the hands of the Afghan army.
“They need to learn how to use these systems so the quicker we can get them out of here to Afghanistan, the sooner they can train on and then we can begin the transition," said Col. Mark Migaleddi, Arsenal Commander.
Arsenal Commander Mark Migaleddi say that's right in line with President Obama's plan for Afghan forces to assume control in the country this spring, and cut the number of American troops there in half.
"We can turn on a dime and respond to requests like this and fortunately, we have the material on hand, we have the skilled labor on hand,” said Col. Migaleddi.
The first shipment of these carefully calculated weapon systems set to go out by the end of the month.
"Some of the dimensions that this young gentleman works to are a couple thousandths of an inch…it's very important, a mortar will save someone's life," said Raymond Gaston, Production Planning Chief.
And that's the point, at least according to workers like Brant Wert, a veteran himself, taking part in the war effort to bring the troops home.
"They have to be reliable and dependable, and the amount of quality and pride that goes into every one of these parts that I know I contribute to and make, I wouldn't settle for anything less," said Wert.