Getting our troops out of Afghanistan. The Watervliet Arsenal is helping to make that happen by supplying close to 1,000 weapons to the Afghan National Army. Our Megan Cruz has the details of this very important mission.
WATERVLIET, N.Y. -- "It's an order we got in January, around the same time the President announced our number one priority is training and equipping the Afghan National Security forces," said Lt. Col. Will McDonough of the U.S. Army.
And for the latter half of that mission, the Army looked to Watervliet.
"We knew we could rely on the Watervliet arsenal for on-time and quality deliveries," said McDonough.
The order: 918 cannons called 60-millimeter mortars. It cost the U.S. government nearly $6 million. The Arsenal shipped the last of the weapons to Afghanistan Monday.
As Arsenal Commander Colonel Lee Schiller overseas the final shipment, he says it's one of the biggest and most important orders the Arsenal's been tasked with in many years. What usually takes a couple years, McDonough says they wanted, and got, in eight months.
Why the rush?
"To get our forces out of Afghanistan and to allow the Afghans to secure themselves," said McDonough.
"For us to be at the tip of the sphere of the national security strategy by supporting the Afghans in their own mission in taking over the mission and bringing our servicemen and women home, tremendous sense of pride," said Watervliet Arsenal Commander Col. Lee Schiller. "Tremendous sense of professionalism in our workforce."
The goal is to get 34,000 U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by December 2014.
McDonough says this is the weapon for the job.
"This is a good weapons system for them to learn," said McDonough. "It's very basic in its construct, but it's also very reliable."
As reliable as the arsenal that made them.
"We've been doing this for 200 years," said Schiller.