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August 11 Forum to Reflect on Dahlgren’s Contribution to Development of Nuclear Capability

“World War II Ends: Dahlgren Tests Validate New Atomic Capability” is the theme of a community forum sponsored by the Dahlgren Heritage Foundation on August 11.

Hosted by the University of Mary Washington’s Dahlgren Campus, Center for Education and Research, in King George, the community forum will be open to the public and offered at no charge. The event will begin at 4:30 p.m. with an informal reception and the program will begin at 5 p.m.

The Dahlgren Heritage Foundation is targeting 2015 as a year-long opportunity to observe the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II through the lens of the innovations and technology developed and tested by the U.S. Navy at Dahlgren, Va. that helped determine the outcome of that war and continue to be critical to the tactical and strategic capabilities to U.S. armed services today and into the future. The centerpiece of this year-long commemoration is a series of quarterly community forums.

Vice Adm. William Hilarides, commander for Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) in Washington, D.C., is the featured guest speaker for the August 11 forum. Hilarides oversees a global workforce of more than 56,000 military and civilian personnel responsible for the development, delivery and maintenance of the Navy’s ships, submarines and systems.

A 1981 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Hilarides has served at sea on U.S. attack submarines and ballistic-missile submarines in deployments to the North Atlantic, Mediterranean, Arctic and Western Pacific.

The forum will also feature a guest panel discussion that will include Dr. James Colvard, a former technical director for the Naval Surface Warfare Center at Dahlgren and former special assistant to the Secretary of the Navy, and Chris Kolakowski, director of The MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk, Va. The panel will be moderated by Ed Jones, president of the Dahlgren Heritage Foundation.

UMW’s Dahlgren Campus is located at 4224 University Dr., King George, Va. From Fredericksburg, travel east on Route 3/Kings Highway for 15.3 miles. Turn left onto Rt. 206 east (Dahlgren Rd.). Follow Rt. 206 east for 9.3 miles and turn left onto U.S. 301 north (James Madison Parkway). Travel 2 miles, then turn left onto University Drive. As you pass Walmart, the road will bear left to the Dahlgren Campus.

The World War II commemorative programming of 2015 will also provide a platform for the Foundation to prepare for the centennial of the Navy base at Dahlgren in 2018. The Foundation anticipates that the Dahlgren Heritage Museum will factor into the base’s centennial observance and will serve as helpful catalyst not only to tell the history of Dahlgren, but also to promote its future.

The goal of the Foundation is to generate a public understanding of the impact the U.S. Navy base at Dahlgren and the surrounding community has had in using science and technology to strengthen national defense, particularly through support for warfighters.

Dahlgren’s function as the Navy’s principal proving ground at the outset of World War II provided a critical capability for proofing and testing every major naval gun and all ammunition supplied to the Fleet to directly influence and support force readiness throughout the global conflict.

Dahlgren’s ballistic ranges, coupled with the scientific and technical expertise resident at the base at the outset of World War II, played an important role in the nation’s development of its first atomic weapon delivery system.

Dahlgren’s ballistic ranges continue to provide a unique capability for proofing and testing every major naval gun and Fleet ammunition, as well as supporting RDT&E and proof testing for leading-edge weapons systems for Navy and other U.S. armed services.

The siting of the Naval Ordnance Relay Calculator (NORC) computer and further evolutions of computer systems employed at Dahlgren have been key to development of leading-edge ballistics research, space geodesy and space surveillance, and computer/ weapon systems integration, and have provided essential operational support to Navy and other U.S. armed forces on both strategic and tactical levels.

Today, Dahlgren has grown to serve as home to multiple DoD commands that execute a broad spectrum of scientific and response-force missions serving all branches of the U.S. armed services.

NSF Dahlgren makes a significant economic contribution to the local community and the installation’s military commands, as a whole, serve as the largest employer in King George County, and one of the largest employers in the greater Fredericksburg area.

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