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  • Friday, January 30, 2015

    Peters Calls Arsenal ‘Pillar of National Defense’

    WATERVLIET, NY – The commander of the Watervliet Arsenal “had at least 120,000 reasons why it was important to host” a visit by New York American Legion Commander Frank Peters on the day before the Department of New York Mid-Winter Conference (held Jan 23-25 in Albany).

    “After all, that is how many members” Peters “envisions this year for his organization,” Arsenal Public Affairs Officer John Snyder wrote in a story for the Army Material Command (

    Peters at arsenal

    New York American Legion Department Commander Frank Peters receives command briefing from Arsenal Commander Col. Lee H. Schiller Jr. and Lee Bennett, director of Benet Laboratories.

    Arsenal Commander Col. Lee H. Schiller Jr. “leveraged a rare opportunity by inviting Peters, who is continually on the road fighting for Veterans rights, to the arsenal for a command briefing and tour,” Snyder wrote.

    “The arsenal has in recent months hosted a significant number of senior Army leaders to its production facilities to discuss ways to better support our nation’s troops, but this visit by Peters offered a different perspective  ̶  Discussing ways to better support our Veterans and their families.”

    This was Peters’ first visit to the historic arsenal that has since the War of 1812 manufactured the products that have helped hundreds of thousands of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines to safely come home from war. This was also the first visit by New York’s Department Commander to the arsenal in anyone’s memory here.

    Schiller went beyond simple charts and production numbers to discuss how in many ways the arsenal and Legion share common goals and values. Both organizations have strong historical ties to all branches of the military; both strive to build strong communities; and both organizations never lose sight on the proper care of the Nation’s Veterans and their family members.

    One other key point that Schiller hit on was the responsiveness that an Army-owned and operated manufacturing center provides to our nation. Most civilian visitors are not aware that Watervliet remains one of the few remaining Army-owned and operated manufacturing centers in the country.

    “Because we are Army owned, we have a direct line of communication with the Army,” Schiller said. “Due to this relationship, we are able to quickly shift production priorities to respond to any urgent troop requirement.”

    Lee Bennett, the Director of the Army’s Benét Laboratories that is collocated at the arsenal, echoed Schiller’s comments regarding today’s value of the arsenal, noting: “The beauty of our collocation is that our scientists and engineers are working next to the best machinists in the world. If there is ever an issue with a product’s technical data, we can walk across the street and come up with a quick answer or a fix.”

    Peters, throughout his tour, remarked on the amazing degree of effort that goes into each weapon system that is designed and manufactured at Watervliet.

    “Before today, I never thought much about the high degree of technology and the significant amount of machining that goes into the weapon systems that are placed into the hands of our troops,” Peters said. “But I will tell you that after today, I will promote the great work that is going on at the arsenal as a pillar of building a strong national defense for our country.”