To Commemorate the Dedication and Unveiling of the Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant Historical Marker

Thursday, June 6, 2002

Congressional Record 107th Congress Second Session Thursday, June 6, 2002

Mr. President, I rise today to call my colleagues' attention to a significant event taking place in my home state of Michigan. On June 6, 2002 in the City of Warren, elected officials, business and community leaders, and members and staff of the Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command, will join with the Warren Historical Commission and the Michigan Historical Commission to dedicate and unveil a Historical Marker at the Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant site. Also joining them will be veterans and former workers of the Tank Plant who well remember the contributions of this facility to the American war effort. Together, they will reflect back over 60 years ago, when on 113 acres of farmland in what was then Warren Township, the Detroit Tank Arsenal emerged as the nation's largest defense plant. And they will note that the Tank Arsenal marked the beginning of a legacy of how government and business can unite for the common purpose of equipping our military and advancing our defense capability.

The Detroit Tank Arsenal success story began in 1940 when the U.S. Army contracted with the Chrysler Corporation to create a separate armored force of ground vehicles. Albert Kahn was called upon to design the mammoth structure needed to mass produce the Army's tanks and when it was completed it was the largest building of its type in all the world. The first prototype rolled off the assembly line on Good Friday, April 11, 1941. By early December 1941, the plant had shipped its 500th tank. Production continued to increase to a total of five assembly lines, and in December 1942, the plant set an all-time monthly production record by delivering 907 Sherman tanks.

President Roosevelt visited the Detroit Tank Arsenal in 1942 as part of his tour of the nation's defense facilities. He made the plant his first stop, touring the operations and watching the tanks run along the arsenal's test tracks. After returning to Washington, the president called the Detroit Tank Arsenal "an amazing demonstration of what can be done by the right organization, spirit and planning." FDR further proclaimed the Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant in Warren "The Arsenal of Democracy."

During World War II the Detroit Arsenal lived up to its motto "Enough and On Time" by delivering more than 22,234 tanks such as the Sherman. Production continued through the Korean and Vietnam Wars, throughout the Cold War, and right into Desert Storm. By 1996, however, all tank manufacturing ceased at this facility. But the Tank-Automotive Center that was created through the Arsenal in 1942 has evolved into the Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command which is housed close to the original plant site. I am sure that my Senate colleagues join me in paying tribute to the great history of the Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant and in celebrating the future of progress that it opened to us.

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