Mr. Louis Dellamonica

Mr. Louis DellamonicaBorn 23 March 1912 in Yerington, Nevada, Louis Dellamonica earned a degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Nevada in 1934. He began working as an Electrician at the Hawthorne Naval Facility, Nevada, in 1941. He began work in the battery shop, but his recognized talent soon led to more challenging tasks. Hawthorne was a Loading, Assembly, and Packing (LAP) plant for ammunition. As the facility expanded to support wartime requirements, Dellamonica was tasked with designing and overseeing the installation of new, anti-spark, explosion-proofed electrical and lighting systems in the plant and on the production lines.

1948, his position was converted to Electrical Engineer and in 1977 to General Engineer. In 1978 he was appointed Chief of the Engineering Division. During this period Dellamonica shouldered increasing responsibilities. Following World War II, as many ammunition facilities were shutting down, Hawthorne continued operations and even expanded. Dellamonica acquired machinery from closing installations to install in new LAP lines at Hawthorne. He was increasingly involved in improving and modernizing the production lines. He and his engineering team became adept at modifying Hawthorne's four production lines to accommodate new or different ammunition items.

In addition to LAP operations, research, development, and testing were also carried out at Hawthorne. Dellamonica developed test systems for the increasing work done on rockets, to include the 2.75-inch and 5-inch Zuni rockets. He also devised testing equipment for naval mines being loaded at Hawthorne.

In 1969, Dellamonica took on his biggest project, the design and construction of the Western Area Demilitarization Center (WADF) at Hawthorne to be used for the demilitarization of ammunition. He drew up the plans and oversaw contractor construction of a complex that eventually expanded to 15 buildings. As the WADF was nearing full completion in 1976, the Army was designated as the Department of Defense Single Manager for Conventional Ammunition. Hawthorne therefore became an Army depot and Dellamonica a Department of the Army Civilian.

He was soon involved in insuring that the WADF conformed to Army safety, environmental, and operational standards. The Army estimated that 25 million dollars would be needed to modify and upgrade the WADF. Dellamonica designed and implemented the needed changes and improvements for 8 million dollars. He continued to upgrade and modernize the facility in the years to come. He introduced a series of new, safer, more efficient ammunition demilitarizing techniques, to include contour drilling, Hot Gas Decontamination, plasma arc demilitarizing, Propellant to Fertilizer Conversion, Thermal Shock Cryogenic Treatment, and Hot Paraffin Melt Out.

Thanks to Dellamonica's efforts, 67,000 tons of ammunition has been safety demilitarized at Hawthorne Army Depot. At age 94, Louis Dellamonica retired in 2007 after more than 65 years of devoted service.