Rain can’t dampen groundbreaking

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 31, 2002

Even the rain and mud couldn’t put a damper on the groundbreaking ceremonies at Lockheed Martin’s Pike County Operations facility on Wednesday.

More than 100 elected officials, military leaders and community leaders were on hand as the center broke ground ­ or mud ­ on the new production facility for the Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Weapon System. The Pike County Operations facility will become the final assembly center for the THAAD system, a $4.1 billion state-of-the-art defense system that should be deployed by 2007.

And that designation will drive an additional $13 million investment in the Pike County facility and the addition of up to 160 new jobs. Moreover, it reaffirms the prominence of the Pike

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County Operations within the Lockheed Martin corporation.

Already nationally recognized for its workforce and product ­ winning both the prestigious Shingo Prize and the Alabama Manufacturer of the Year award this year ­ the Pike County facility is recognized for its critical role in our country’s defense. It performs final assembly, test and storage of missiles including the Hellfire II and Longbow Hellfire antitank missiles; the Javelin antitank missile; and the AGM-142 air-to-surface missile. It has also built the missile for the Patriot (PAC-2) air defense system and is scheduled to build the U.S. Marine Corps’ Predator and the 21st Century Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM).

The continued investment and growth in this facility is a testament to the workforce and the community. The missile techs and support personnel at the operations center, along with the managerial leadership, have proven their commitment to quality and efficiency. And, they because they take such pride and ownership in their work, they excel in both areas.

The community, as well, continues to support Lockheed Martin with open arms, acknowledging the company’s role as a good corporate citizen and the invaluable training and opportunities it provides to hundreds of Pike County residents.

Now, with this latest contract, that workforce could expand to 500 people in the next 10 to 13 years, adding more jobs and more economic benefits to our community.

Moreover, the employees and team at Lockheed Martin will be involved in producing a critical part of our nation’s defense, certainly and admirable and important responsibility in everyone’s eyes.

So let the rains come on groundbreaking day; we see the bright future ahead.


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