Mr. Frederick J. Clas was born in Albany, New York in 1922 and began his career as an 18-year old machinist at Watervliet Arsenal in 1940.
He served for two years as an Army enlisted man during World War II, Mr. Clas remained at Watervliet for more than four decades until his retirement in 1985.
For the final 21 years of his tenure there, he was Director of Arsenal Operations. Among his many accomplishments were the successful introduction of carbide into machine cutting tools, which increased their productivity 500 to 1000 percent; the use of high speed photography in the study of chip formation; the installation of flexible manufacturing systems, presently the largest in the country; and the establishment of performance standards more stringent than most in private industry.
His efforts resulted in a greater than 99 percent completion on scheduled production rate during World War II and a better than 98 percent rate during the Vietnam Conflict. Mr. Clas served under eighteen commanding officers during his tenure as Director of Arsenal Operations. The smooth transition from each of these to the next could not have been accomplished without his experience and expertise.
The dedication of most of his professional career to the able management of cannon production has been a major service to the Ordnance Corps and to the United States Army.