APG 100th birthday tours provide peeks at the past, windows to future Army innovations

Richard Wiltison leads a tour of the Aberdeen Proving Ground Friday, Oct. 20, 2017. U.S. Army photo by Jon Bleiweis, APG News

On the 100th birthday of Aberdeen Proving Ground, visitors got a chance to take a trip through time via a pair of tours on the installation.

Tours of the Aberdeen Proving Ground and its U.S. Army Research Laboratory were given Friday, Oct., 20, as the part of the installation’s year-long centennial celebration.

The historical tour of APG North, led by Research, Development and Engineering Command Historian Jeffery Smart and Deputy Command Historian Richard Wiltison, took riders on an hour-long trip through time, chronicling the founding of the proving ground, the reasons it was needed after World War I and how it has evolved and expanded over the past 100 years.

Stops included the original post headquarters at Bldg. 310, Plum Point and the Fallen Star Memorial.

Glenn Van Syckle, a logistician with the Communications-Electronics Command Logistics Readiness Center who has worked on post for seven years, said he was fascinated by the tour and impressed with how technology for the Hubble telescope and the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, known as the ENIAC, were developed on the installation.

“It’s a treat for me to learn about all this type of history that’s really forgotten,” he said. “Other than the tours, it’ll be forgotten.”

Randall Honeyman, a retired staff sergeant who worked at APG from 1992-94 as an instructor of armament and weapons, said he never took a tour of APG during his stay.

“I’m curious about the history of APG and what it’s done,” he said before the tour. “Where it came from to where it is now.”

The attendees also heard remarks from APG Garrison Commander Col. Robert L. Phillips III prior to the tour, who talked about how the installation has transformed over recent years into a hub of innovation.

“We’re transforming to meet the needs of the Army and our defense mission,” he said. “APG is really the home of innovation for the Army right now. The way the wars are being fought and won today and in the future — all that research, development, engineering and testing — it’s all occurring right here on APG.”