Ordnance Corps
The United States Army Ordnance Corps is a Sustainment branch of the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

, headquartered at Fort Lee, Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...


Mission Statement

The U.S. Army Ordnance Corps mission is to support the development, production, acquisition, and sustainment of weapon systems, ammunition, missiles, electronics, and ground mobility material during peace and war to provide combat power to the U.S. Army.

Colonial Period to War of Independence

In the British colonies in America, each colony was responsible for its own supply of ordnance material. The first written record of an ordnance officer in British colonial America was Samuel Sharpe in the Massachusetts Bay Colony appointed in 1629 as Master Gunner of Ordnance. By 1645, the Massachusetts Colony had a permanent Surveyor of Ordnance. He was responsible for the supply and maintenance of weapons and munitions.

Prior to forming the Continental Army
Continental Army
The Continental Army was formed after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War by the colonies that became the United States of America. Established by a resolution of the Continental Congress on June 14, 1775, it was created to coordinate the military efforts of the Thirteen Colonies in...

 on 14 June 1775, the Second Continental Congress
Second Continental Congress
The Second Continental Congress was a convention of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies that started meeting on May 10, 1775, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, soon after warfare in the American Revolutionary War had begun. It succeeded the First Continental Congress, which met briefly during 1774,...

 appointed a committee on 27 May to study methods of arms and ammunition procurement and storage and to appoint a Commissary General. On 19 July 1775, Ezekiel Cheever was appointed by General George Washington as Commissary of Artillery Stores, soon to be called Commissary of Military Stores with Major General Henry Knox, the Chief of Artillery.. During the course of the American Revolution, each major group of American forces in the field had a Commissary of Military Stores to support the soldiers.

In 1776 the Board of War and Ordnance was created for issuing supplies to troops in the field, and in 1777 a powder magazine
Armory (military)
An armory or armoury is a place where arms and ammunition are made, maintained and repaired, stored, issued to authorized users, or any combination of those...

 was established at Carlisle, Pennsylvania
Carlisle Barracks
Carlisle Barracks is a United States Army facility located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. It is part of the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command and is the site of the U.S. Army War College...

 and a foundry at Springfield, Massachusetts
Springfield Armory
The Springfield Armory, located in the City of Springfield, Massachusetts - from 1777 until its closing in 1968 - was the primary center for the manufacture of U.S. military firearms. After its controversial closing during the Vietnam War, the Springfield Armory was declared Western Massachusetts'...

. In January 1777, General Washington appointed Benjamin Flower as the head of the Commissary General of Military Stores. Benjaming Flower was given the rank of Colonel and served in that capacity throughout the American Revolution. The Commissary General of Military Stores was an echelon above the Commissary of Military Stores in the field.

In 1794, the Springfield Armory would become the first national armory, producing arms and ammunition until its closing in 1968. Harper's Ferry armory began production in 1798.

Continental Expansion and Civil War

Part of the War Department
United States Department of War
The United States Department of War, also called the War Department , was the United States Cabinet department originally responsible for the operation and maintenance of the United States Army...

 since 1789, Congress created the separate Ordnance Department, supervised by the Secretary of War, on 14 May 1812, as part of the War of 1812
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

 preparations with responsibility for arms and ammunition production, acquisition, distribution and storage. The act also created a new position, the Commissary General of Ordnance. On 5 February 1815 Colonel Decius Wadsworth, the former Commissary General of Purchases was chosen as the Commissary General of Ordnance. The act also directed the new Commissary General of Ordnance to "...enlist artisans and laborers to direct the inspection and proof of all cannon and small arms to direct the construction of gun carriages equipments implements and ammunition to make estimates and contracts for and purchases of ordnance supplies and stores and to issue them to the army to exact from armories and arsenals quarterly returns of property and to receive from all responsible officers reports of damages to ordnance material to establish ordnance depots to prepare regulations for the government of the Ordnance Department and forms of returns and reports".

In order to improve and reform the military’s organization following the end of the War of 1812
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

 the Army Reorganization Act of 3 March 1815 was passed, that among many other important changesmodified the responsibilities of the Ordnance Department “to include the procurement of arms and ammunition, supervision of the Army’s arsenals and armories, and recruitment and training of artificers” with the responsibility to arm and equip the militia from the permanent appropriation of $200,000 per annum provided by the law of 23 April 1808.

In 1821, all officers assigned to the Ordnance Department were re-commissioned into the artillery branch. The Ordnance Department would continue to function with officers from artillery. In 1832 an act of Congress would re-establish the Ordnance Department.

On 3 August 1861 an act of Congress added to the Ordnance Department the actual title of Chief of Ordnance "with the rank pay and emoluments of the Quartermaster General(132)". On 1 January 1861 Brigadier General James W. Ripley was promoted over the current Commissary General of Ordnance Colonel Henry K. Craig to become the first formally recognized Chief of Ordnance.

During the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, the Ordnance Department procured and provided massive amounts of weapons and supplies, and with the establishment of Sandy Hook Proving Ground
Sandy Hook Proving Ground
The Sandy Hook Proving Ground was a military facility, established by the Secretary of War on August 7, 1874, to serve as the United States Army's first proving ground for the testing of ordnance and materiel...

, New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

, in 1874 the Army acquired its first full-scale testing facility. The Spanish-American War
Spanish-American War
The Spanish–American War was a conflict in 1898 between Spain and the United States, effectively the result of American intervention in the ongoing Cuban War of Independence...

 was the first conflict in which the department deployed materials overseas and provided close combat
Close combat
*Close combat is a generic term for both Close Quarters Battle and Hand to hand combat.*Mêlée generally refers to disorganized close combat.*CQB is an acronym for Close Quarters Battle, such as that which occurs in urban warfare....


World War I

At the start of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, the Ordnance Department was “charged with supplying the Army with arms, equipment, and ammunition…establishing and maintaining arsenals and depots for the manufacture, repair, and safe-keeping of ordnance, and provide horse equipments and field outfits for Soldiers, such as canteens, tin cups, knives, forks, and spoons”.

During World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, the Ordnance Department mobilized the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 industrial base, jointly developed weapons with European allies, and established overseas supply depots and Ordnance training facilities. In 1919, testing was moved from Sandy Hook Proving Ground
Sandy Hook Proving Ground
The Sandy Hook Proving Ground was a military facility, established by the Secretary of War on August 7, 1874, to serve as the United States Army's first proving ground for the testing of ordnance and materiel...

 to the Aberdeen Proving Ground
Aberdeen Proving Ground
Aberdeen Proving Ground is a United States Army facility located near Aberdeen, Maryland, . Part of the facility is a census-designated place , which had a population of 3,116 at the 2000 census.- History :...

, Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...


World War II

By 1940 all Ordnance training, officer and enlisted was moved from Raritan Arsenal, New Jersey to the Aberdeen Proving Ground, forming the Ordnance School.

World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 expanded the Corps responsibilities to include production, acquisition, distribution, and training missions for the Army Ground Forces, the Army Air Force, and, in some categories the Navy. In August 1942, the Ordnance Corps assumed responsibility for procurement and maintenance of all wheeled and motored vehicles.

Beginning in 1942, with the authorization of the Chief of Ordnance, a computing branch at the University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania is a private, Ivy League university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Penn is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States,Penn is the fourth-oldest using the founding dates claimed by each institution...

's Moore School of Electrical Engineering
Moore School of Electrical Engineering
The Moore School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania came into existence as a result of an endowment from Alfred Fitler Moore on June 4, 1923. It was granted to Penn's School of Electrical Engineering, located in the Towne Building...

 was established as a substation of Aberdeen Proving Ground under the code name “Project PX”. On 15 February 1946, the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC
ENIAC was the first general-purpose electronic computer. It was a Turing-complete digital computer capable of being reprogrammed to solve a full range of computing problems....

), the world’s general-purpose electronic computer, was formally dedicated. ENIAC was designed to calculate artillery
Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that operate by projection of munitions far beyond the range of effect of personal weapons...

 firing tables
External ballistics
External ballistics is the part of the science of ballistics that deals with the behaviour of a non-powered projectile in flight. External ballistics is frequently associated with firearms, and deals with the behaviour of the bullet after it exits the barrel and before it hits the target.-Forces...

 for the United States Army Ballistic Research Laboratory
Ballistic Research Laboratory
The Ballistic Research Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland was the center for the United States Army's research efforts in ballistics and vulnerability/lethality analysis....

. The ENIAC's first use was in calculations for the hydrogen bomb.

In August 1945, Colonel Holger Toftoy
Holger Toftoy
Major General Holger Nelson Toftoy was a United States Army officer linked to early rocketry such as the Redstone missile....

, head of the Rocket Branch of the Research and Development Division of the US Army’s Ordnance Corps, offered initial one-year contracts to German rocket scientists
Aerospace engineering
Aerospace engineering is the primary branch of engineering concerned with the design, construction and science of aircraft and spacecraft. It is divided into two major and overlapping branches: aeronautical engineering and astronautical engineering...

 as part of Operation Paperclip
Operation Paperclip
Operation Paperclip was the Office of Strategic Services program used to recruit the scientists of Nazi Germany for employment by the United States in the aftermath of World War II...

, a program used to recruit the scientists from Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 for employment by the United States; 127 of them accepted. In September 1945, the first group of seven rocket scientists arrived at Fort Strong
Fort Strong
Fort Strong is located on Long Island in Boston Harbor.It was originally named Long Island Military Reservation until 1899.Camp Wightman, a Civil War training camp, was located on the island in 1861....

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 and then moving to Fort Bliss
Fort Bliss
Fort Bliss is a United States Army post in the U.S. states of New Mexico and Texas. With an area of about , it is the Army's second-largest installation behind the adjacent White Sands Missile Range. It is FORSCOM's largest installation, and has the Army's largest Maneuver Area behind the...

, Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 in January 1946.

In 1949, the German scientists were transferred from the White Sands Missile Range
White Sands Missile Range
White Sands Missile Range is a rocket range of almost in parts of five counties in southern New Mexico. The largest military installation in the United States, WSMR includes the and the WSMR Otera Mesa bombing range...

 Fort Bliss Range Complex to the Redstone Arsenal Ordnance Rocket Center.

Korea, Vietnam, and the Cold War Era

In 1950 the Ordnance Department was designated as the Ordnance Corps.
In both Korea and Vietnam, the Ordnance Corps provided materiel supply and maintenance, characteristic of its tradition of "service to the line, on the line, on time," and was active in the development of rockets, guided missiles and satellites.

War on Terrorism

Under the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC)
Base Realignment and Closure, 2005
The preliminary 2005 Base Realignment and Closure list was released by the United States Department of Defense on May 13, 2005. It is the fifth Base Realignment and Closure proposal generated since the process was created in 1988. It recommends closing 33 major United States military bases and...

 authorization, announced in 2005, the U.S. Army Ordnance Center and School was directed to relocate to Fort Lee, Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

. Under BRAC, the U.S. Army Ordnance Center and School relocated from Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland to Fort Lee.

Branch Insignia

The Ordnance Corps branch insignia is represented by the “shell and flame”. Its use by the Ordnance Corps dates back to 1832; it is considered to be the oldest branch insignia of the Army. Similar insignia had been used by the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

. After its adoption by the American Army, the design was used by the Artillery as well as the Ordnance until 1834 when the crossed cannon were adopted by the Artillery. In 1835, the shell and flame was used on a button for members of the Ordnance Corps and the design had been used in various items worn on the uniform since it was first adopted. The simplicity of the shell and flame harmonizes with the armament of days gone by, while the action it connotes is applicable with equal force to the weapons of today.

Branch Plaque

The plaque design has the branch insignia, letters, and rim in gold. The background is crimson.

Regimental Insignia

The regimental insignia for the Ordnance Corps was approved on 25 March 1986. It is gold color metal and enamel device 1 1/8 inches in height overall consisting of two gray antique cannons in saltire
A saltire, or Saint Andrew's Cross, is a heraldic symbol in the form of a diagonal cross or letter ex . Saint Andrew is said to have been martyred on such a cross....

 on a white disc behind an encircling scroll in the form of a buckle red belt with, between the intersecting cannons and the belt, a black antique bomb, its scarlet flames issuing at the top of the device from behind the belt, which bears the inscription "ORDNANCE CORPS U.S.A." in gold letters.

The crossed cannons are representative of the Ordnance Corps' early relationship to the Artillery. The flaming bomb, also known as the shell and flame, represents the armament of days gone by, while the energy it connotes is applicable to the weapons of our own day. The cannoneer's belt, which encircles the flaming bomb and crossed cannons, is embossed with the words "ORDNANCE CORPS U.S.A." and represents the traditional association between munitions and armament. The white background symbolizes the Ordnance Corps' motto, "ARMAMENT FOR PEACE”.

Ordnance Soldier’s Creed

As an Ordnance Soldier of the United States Army, I will utilize every available talent and means to ensure that superior mobility, firepower, and communications are advantages enjoyed by the United States Army over its enemies. As an Ordnance Soldier, I fully understand my duty to perform under adverse conditions and I will continually strive to perfect my craft. I will remain flexible so that I can meet any emergency. In my conduct, I will abide by the Soldier's code. In my support mission in the field, I will use every available skill to maintain superiority; I will always be tactically and technically proficient As an Ordnance soldier, I have no greater task.

Army Ordnance Song

The words and music to Arms for the Love of America were originally composed by Irving Berlin and published by the Army Ordnance Association in 1941. It was dedicated to Major General C.M. Wesson, the Chief of Ordnance from 1938 to 1942.

The Ordnance Order of Samuel Sharpe

On 26 February 1628 the Court of Assistants in London directed that “five pieces of ordnance and a great quantity of other arms and great shot” belonging to a settlement near modern day Salem, Massachusetts
Salem, Massachusetts
Salem is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 40,407 at the 2000 census. It and Lawrence are the county seats of Essex County...

 be placed under the control of Mr. Samuel Sharpe, making him the first European “Master Gunner of our Ordnance” on the American continent.

Chiefs of Ordnance

In 1962 the Office of the Chief of Ordnance was abolished and all ordnance-related administrative functions were performed by other Army agencies. The position was re-established in 1983, as a proponent agency for all ordnance related occupational specialties and career management fields. The Ordnance Corps would join the regimental system of the U.S. Army in 1986, with the Chief of Ordnance as the head of the Corps.

Commissary Generals, Commissary Generals of Ordnance, and Chiefs of Ordnance listed below:

Commissioned Officer Areas of Concentration (AOC)

  • 89E Explosive Ordnance Disposal
  • 91A Materiel Maintenance and Munitions Management Officer

Warrant Officer Military Occupational Specialties

  • 890A Ammunition Warrant Officer
  • 913A Armament Systems Maintenance Warrant Officer
  • 914A Allied Trades Warrant Officer
  • 915A Automotive Maintenance Warrant Officer
  • 915E Senior Automotive Maintenance Warrant Officer
  • 919A Engineer Equipment Maintenance Warrant Officer
  • 948D Electronic Missile Systems Maintenance Warrant Officer
  • 948E Senior Electronics Maintenance Warrant Officer

Enlisted Military Occupational Specialties (MOS)

  • 89A Ammunition Stock Control and Accounting Specialist
  • 89B Ammunition Specialist
  • 89D Explosive Ordnance Disposal Specialist
  • 91A M1 ABRAMS Tank System Maintainer (formerly 63A)
  • 91B Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic (formerly 63B)
  • 91C Utilities Equipment Repairer (formerly 52C)
  • 91D Power Generation Equipment Repairer (formerly 52D)
  • 91E Allied Trades Specialist (formerly 91E and 91W)
  • 91F Small Arms/Artillery Repairer (formerly 45B)
  • 91G Fire Control Repairer (formerly 45G)
  • 91H Track Vehicle Repairer (formerly 63H)
  • 91J Quartermaster and Chemical Equipment Repairer (formerly 63J)
  • 91K Armament Repairer (formerly 45K)
  • 91L Construction Equipment Repairer (formerly 62B)
  • 91M Bradley Fighting Vehicle System Maintainer (formerly 63M)
  • 91P Artillery Mechanic (formerly 63D)
  • 91S Stryker Systems Maintainer
  • 91W Metal Worker (formerly 44B)
  • 91X Maintenance Supervisor (formerly 63X)
  • 91Z Senior Maintenance Supervisor (formerly 63Z)
  • 94A Land Combat Electronic Missile System Repairer
  • 94D Air Traffic Control Equipment Repairer
  • 94E Radio and Communication (COMSEC) Security Repairer
  • 94F Computer/Detection Systems Repairer
  • 94H Test Measurement and Diagnostic Equipment (TMDE) Maintenance Support Specialist
  • 94L Avionic Communications Equipment Repairer
  • 94M RADAR Repairer
  • 94P Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) Repairer
  • 94R Avionics and Survivability Repairer
  • 94S PATRIOT System Repairer
  • 94T AVENGER System Repairer
  • 94X Senior Missile Maintenance Supervisor
  • 94W Electronic Maintenance Chief
  • 94Y Integrated Family of Test Equipment (IFTE) Operator/Maintainer
  • 94Z Senior Electronic Maintenance Chief

External Links

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