West Point Cadets Benefit from Half Century of Explosives Experience

Category: Cadet News
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Five West Point cadets traveled to the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Chemical Biological Center’s (DEVCOM CBC) Aberdeen Proving Ground research campus in Maryland to learn about pyrotechnics and explosives chemistry from 50-year pyrotechnics and explosives research and development veteran Joseph Domanico on a June 4 field trip. Instruction included a lecture by Domanico followed by a tour for the cadets and other guests of DEVCOM CBC’s explosives test chamber and an explosives and smoke obscurants demonstration on an Army test range.

The United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point and DEVCOM CBC have enjoyed a collaborative relationship for more than 30 years. It started with summer internships and has expanded to cadets performing collaborative research with DEVCOM CBC scientists during the academic year using laboratories at the USMA Department of Chemistry and Life Sciences while receiving guidance from DEVCOM CBC mentors. These collaborations have included chemical warfare agent degradation strategies, battery development, agent and explosives detection, energetics additive manufacturing capabilities, and propellant development.

The explosives chemistry collaboration began when, during one of his regular visits to West Point, DEVCOM CBC’s Deputy Director for Research, Matthew Shue, saw that a couple of USMA professors were working with students on constructing a medieval cannon and replicating an authentic medieval gunpowder recipe.

He immediately realized that there was a potential role for Domanico in pyrotechnics and explosives chemistry instruction for these cadets. Then, on one of USMA’s Department of Chemistry and Life Sciences Chair, COL John Burpo ’92’s regular visits to DEVCOM CBC, Shue took him on a tour of the Obscuration and Nonlethal Engineering Branch where Center pyrotechnics and explosives experts perform research, development, prototyping and testing of novel energetic payload materials and the devices that employ them. Burpo was impressed and agreed that a field trip to DEVCOM CBC would enrich the Academy’s new explosives chemistry course which he started up just this year.

Shue saw real value for both parties, “USMA is the Army’s university, its cadets are its future leaders. So, any opportunity we have to work with the cadets and faculty is an opportunity to show the next generation of Army leaders how we perform our mission and its value to the warfighter and the nation.”

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Excerpt and image taken from https://www.dvidshub.net.

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