Bomb Factory

Where do American bombs come from? Just one place - the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant, in the foothills of southeastern Oklahoma. Opened in 1943, McAlester makes almost every conventional bomb used by the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. The explosives are produced in huge factories, in a compound consisting of 3,000 buildings, of which 2,200 are storing facilities. The complex spreads out over an area three times the size of Manhattan, for an obvious reason: if something goes boom in the world's largest accumulation of explosives, you want to avoid a chain reaction.

For the past sixty years, the production process has remained almost the same. The bombs are still hand-filled by about a thousand workers who proudly serve their country. Take Carol, a trained nurse who worked here during the Vietnam War. After September 11, she returned to the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant. "As a nurse, I saved lives", she says. "Now I produce bombs. That is somewhat of a paradox. But I believe, bombs save more humans than they kill."

With increased demand for bombs, more employees have been hired and the work week extended from four to five days. James has been at the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant for three months. He cleans the pipes where the ignition wires are placed. "You can't earn more money anywhere else in southeastern Oklahoma", he says. He strives to create the best quality. "Our children will use the bombs. They must be good."

Full text by Peter Hossli (German) : Bombe um Bombe