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Frontiers February 2013 Issue

Ashort, 20-minute drive from Boeing’s facilities near St. Louis where em-ployees make F-15 and F/A-18 jet fighters is St. Charles, once the home of frontiersman Daniel Boone and the original state capital of Missouri. Located along the banks of the meandering Missouri River, St. Charles was where, in 1804, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark deployed on their Corps of Discovery expedition to reach the Pacific Ocean, a journey that produced legendary scientific discoveries. It is also home to Boeing employees who make some of the “smartest” and most reliable weapons used by the U.S. military and allies. The St. Charles site consists of several nondescript buildings on several hundred acres of rolling green hills, woodlands and meadows. In fact, some of the picturesque hills surrounding the riverfront community aren’t hills at all. Protected during storms by 50-foot-high (15-meter) lightning rods, they are military-grade bunkers that house live ord-nance built at the Boeing St. Charles facility. Boeing employees here mainly produce the Standoff Land Attack Missile (Expanded Response), the Harpoon anti-ship missile, PHOTOS: (Far left) Assembly mechanic Fred David prepares a harpoon anti-ship missile for encapsulation, which would allow it to be launched from a submarine. RON BOOKOUT/BOEING (Above) A Boeing F-15 drops five inert MK-84 2,000-pound (900- kilogram) Joint Direct Attack Munitions, or JDAMs, during a training flight. U.S. AIR FORCE as well as the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) guidance kits and the Small Diam-eter Bomb. What they do is Lean+ and efficient production at its best. A team of just 20 munition mechanics at the St. Charles site assembles approxi-mately one JDAM kit every seven minutes. On any given day, the team will build more than 40 kits by the lunch hour, at which time they switch the line over to Small Diameter Bomb production. Employees here take great pride in what they do, said Tom Reynoso, a sheet metal worker and riveter on the Harpoon program. His son is in the U.S. Air Force. “Knowing the product I work on protects our military men and women in uniform, in-cluding my own son, gives me an enormous sense of pride and purpose,” Reynoso said. Nearly 1,000 Boeing employees work at the site, yet many more St. Louis employees reside across the river in St. Charles county. “I love living and working in St. Charles because it’s a small community with a charm-ing history and great local events,” said Sarah Reeves, a supplier quality engineer for Boeing’s Weapons & Missile Systems program. “The site is a challenging, rapidly paced environment, and our employees are very engaged. There are so many opportu-nities to get to know virtually everyone.” Added David Fernandez, team leader of the weapons paint shop: “If you want to know the meaning of ‘One Boeing,’ just come to St. Charles and see how we interact with one another.” McDonnell Douglas, a Boeing heritage company, began acquiring property on what is now the St. Charles site in the mid-1960s, and started construction of the BOEING FRONTIERS / FEBRUARY 2013 15


Frontiers February 2013 Issue
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