Tour Stop K: Ordnance Magazine
This small, tin-roofed building hardly suggests its central role in the mission of the officers and troops once stationed at Fort Omaha. Constructed in 1883–84, the ordnance magazine was the chief storage place for weapons and ammunition. It was General Crook's intention to maintain an army of "soldiers fit for combat—not for parade," and his successors continued to regularly train their men to be accurate marksman.
Nickel-plated Colt revolvers; Springfield, Remington and Winchester rifles; and Gatling and Hotchkiss guns (the last two were early predecessors of rapid-fire machine guns) were weapons integral to the success of many U.S. Army engagements on the frontier. Developing technology kept this magazine filled with up-to-date weaponry and ammunition. Rifles made room for cylinders of igniters for portable flame throwers and for grenade launchers.
When the Army Balloon School was located at Fort Omaha, the magazine was converted into a Signal Corps monitor radio station. When the Navy occupied the post from 1947–1974, the building was restored partly to its original function, the storage of small arms and ammunition.
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