U.S. Army Destroys Last Landmine Containing Nerve Agents

The U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency (Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.) destroyed its last landmine containing VX nerve agent munitions on Dec. 24 at the Anniston Chemical Agent Disposal Facility in Anniston, Ala. "We have reached a truly remarkable milestone following more than five years of deliberate, but careful, operations," said Timothy K. Garrett, ANCDF site project manager. "All nerve-agent munitions -- those containing GB and those containing VX -- have been safely processed."

The destruction took place at six disposal sites: Anniston; Umatilla, Ore.; Newport, Ind.; Pine Bluff, Ark.; Tooele, Utah; and Johnston Island, about 800 miles southwest of Hawaii. "I commend Anniston and all CMA destruction sites on this extraordinary achievement. By destroying the VX agent at each of CMA's destruction sites, you have made the world a much safer place," Conrad Whyne, CMA's director, said Dec. 30.

A stockpile of VX chemical weapons remains at the Blue Grass Chemical Activity near Richmond, Ky., according to DoD. Construction is under way on a neutralization facility there, and the U.S. Army Element Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives will carry out the nerve agent's destruction. Destruction of chemical weapons is finished at Newport, Aberdeen, and Johnston Island; operations continue at Tooele, Umatilla, Anniston, and Pine Bluff, which are destroying or preparing to destroy blister agent and the only remaining nerve agent for CMA's destruction mission: GA at Tooele.

VX was developed in the early 1950s, and the nation's original stockpile of about 4,400 tons was produced at Newport Chemical Depot between 1961 and 1969. Newport's production facility was destroyed in 2006. DoD said VX was never used in combat by the United States.

"The elimination of this deadly chemical agent from each site's stockpile is a relief to the stockpile communities and a sign of our commitment to other nations as we move one step closer to a safer world," Whyne said.

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  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - January 2019

    January / February 2019

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