COLUMBUS, Ohio –
Mission Park was previously nothing more than a stretch of grass on Defense Supply Center Columbus, but on Sept. 23 DSCC officials revealed the new park that represents the installation’s support organizations and workforce whose efforts ensure the ultimate success of the nation’s military services.
A fitness trail links land and sea vehicles, weapons systems and historic displays that reflect DSCC’s contributions to the nation’s defense since 1918.
“This park speaks especially to the DLA Land and Maritime mission,” Navy Rear Adm. John King, Land and Maritime commander, said. “On land or water - DLA Land and Maritime has consistently provided unequaled service to America’s military as they’ve engaged in worldwide operations supporting peace, justice – and yes – even humanitarian support efforts.”
The idea for the park came about almost two years ago from employees looking for another place to walk during lunch. A slew of associates assisted in making the idea reality, including welders, painters, crane operators, sign makers and others, King said.
Several displays are spread throughout the park, including the submarine sail of the USS Birmingham (SSN-695). This sub was the eighth submarine built in the Los Angeles Class fast attack submarines, otherwise known as the “688” class—nuclear-powered submarines designed to hunt and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships, Capt. Roger Alvarez, Maritime Supplier Operations director, said. More than 80,000 parts to support this platform are managed at Land and Maritime.
Some former crew members of the Birmingham attended the ceremony, along with the first commanding officer of the submarine, Navy Capt. (Ret.) Paul Callahan. Callahan spoke at the ceremony and shared some of his experiences and history of the vessel.
“I’m very thankful I get to talk about the Birmingham one more time,” Callahan said. “We’re a highly integrated group of people. We’re small, out at sea a long time, and there’s a certain bond and affection we have for each other.
“I still feel a kinship with them even though it’s been 38 years since they decommissioned the ship.”
In addition to the submarine sail, other maritime displays include an anchor from the USNS Kiska (T-AE 35), a Navy Mark 45 five-inch gun, and a propeller from the Navy’s Advanced Capability (ADCAP) Mark 48 Torpedo. With a 650 pound high-explosive warhead and the ability to dive to depths greater than 1,200 feet, this torpedo is one of the principal weapons in the U.S. Navy submarine arsenal, Alvarez said. Maritime manages over 9,000 parts that support this torpedo.
Equally important, several land-based vehicles still used today on the battlefield fill the park, including the MAXXPRO Dash MRAP vehicle. The MaxxPro is designed to endure improvised explosive device (IED) attacks and can withstand ballistic arms fire and mine blasts, Army Col. Yee Hang, Land Supplier Operations director, said. The MaxxPro was specifically designed for Afghanistan and is an all-wheel drive vehicle.
Associates of DSCC manage more than 3,100 parts in support of the MAXXPRO MRAP. The DASH on display was blown up in southern Afghanistan, but “it did what it was designed for, and no lives were lost as it protected everyone,” Hang said.
Along with the DASH, Mission Park is also the new home for a M998 High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle, RG-31 Medium Mine Protected Vehicle, and M-60 main battle tank. Altogether, DLA Land and Maritime manages more than 13,500 parts for these vehicles.
“The military equipment you see here today was operated by our fathers, mothers, sons and daughters – and the price that they were willing to pay makes all other considerations pale in comparison,” King said.
Several other vehicles, including a M1 Abrams Tank, are slated to be added to the park in the coming months. Officials also aim to use the park as a future outdoor gathering point for ceremonial activities, cultural events, and daily fitness activities.