Redstone Arsenal: Top 8 Cool Facts

Located in Northern Alabama, Redstone Arsenal is one of the top, and most important Army installations in the United States. Many Army personnel have set foot on this Army property at one time or another. But, do they know much about Redstone?

In today’s post, I am going to provide you with the top 8 cool facts about Redstone Arsenal.


#1: When It Was Established

Redstone Arsenal was established in 1941 but was first named Huntsville Arsenal. It was originally 3 separate entities:

  1. Huntsville Arsenal
  2. Huntsville Depot
  3. and Redstone Ordnance Plant

The first 2 were operated by the Chemical Warfare Service and the last by the Army Ordnance Department.

#2: Before Army Use

The area where Redstone Arsenal sits has some amazing history from before the United States Army took control of it.

There have been a plethora of prehistoric sites discovered, many of which date back to the Paleo Indian period.

Before the Civil War, the area was large, family owned plantations and after the war, the land was divided up into small parcels for farmers. Many of these were ex-slaves. It was considered prime farmland.

Over 500 families were displaced when the Army took it over in 1941.

#3: Chemical Weapons

Because of the great concern that the Japanese or Germans may use chemical weapons on us, as a retaliatory measure, chemicals were produced and stockpiled at Redstone Arsenal. These included:

  • Mustard Gas
  • Phosgene
  • and Lewisite

While these were against the Geneva Convention, the U.S. agreed they would only use them if the enemy used chemicals.

#4: Operation Paperclip

At the end of World War 2, the United States and Russia agreed to each take German scientists. The ones who came to the U.S. were sent to, and did their works at Redstone Arsenal. This included Wernher von Braun who helped lead the United States in the race to reach the moon.

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#5: Major Cleanup

Redstone Arsenal, because of all the “rocket science,” was a site that was found to have heavy contamination.

The area is under major contamination cleanup and it is estimated it will continue until 2040 or beyond.

#6: Home To

Redstone Arsenal is home to:

  • U.S. Army Aviation and Missile LCMC
  • U.S. Army Materiel Command
  • Missile Defense Agency
  • U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command
  • and Aviation & Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center

#7: The Army Is A Landlord

About 1,800 acres of Redstone Arsenal is leased to NASA by the U.S. Army.

#8: Redstone Rocket

Those German scientists that were brought to Redstone Arsenal helped carry the United States into the ultimate technology we use daily… Satellites!

The developed Redstone Rocket which later became the Jupiter C missile that took the first American satellite into orbit… Explorer 1.

Final Thoughts

Redstone Arsenal is the core of much of the defense of the United States. Thanks to all the men and women who have worked and trained here to carry the Army to the high standards it must have.

What are your thoughts? Please post all comments below.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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