America’s largest Native American defense manufacturer is based right out of Southeastern Oklahoma.
The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma is America’s third largest Native American Tribe. The Tribe owns many different companies, from Texoma Print Services and Choctaw Archiving to Choctaw Global Staffing, in order to create jobs and revenue for its members. But one Choctaw company in particular serves a specific need for America’s military.
Choctaw Defense is an American manufacturer that creates indispensable equipment for the United States’ military. The company uses a lean manufacturing business model to cut down on waste and provide the highest quality equipment to its customers.
“Our superior track record includes a 20 year history of proven success with military and prime contractor customers,” says Stephen R. Benefield, the company’s president and CEO.
It’s a major operation, spanning three manufacturing facilities and a total of 350,000 square feet of space in the Oklahoma communities of McAlester, Antlers, and Hugo. Choctaw Defense manufacturers a wide variety of military and commercial fabricated products and has produced thousands of aluminum and steel military shipping and storage containers since 1988. In addition to those containers, core products include all-terrain trailers (MTVR), Battle Damage Assessment and Repair Kits (BDAR), Ground Support Equipment, and CAMEL II water systems for the U.S. Army – all crucial pieces of military hardware.
The CAMEL II, for instance, is especially important for the Army because it can hold 800 gallons of water and be transported easily. Troops stationed in areas without ready access to water use these insulated, freeze-protected trailers to keep soldiers hydrated in temperatures spanning -25 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Today, Choctaw Defense has more than 200 employees fulfilling contracts for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines, not to mention Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon.
With the acquisition of the new contracts and the addition of the two new ventures, Choctaw Defense is on target for steady and sustainable growth. Ongoing activities at its manufacturing plants include a contract to produce MTVR trailers for the U.S. Marine Corps. To date, the company has produced 1,700 trailers and is still rolling more off the lot.
The Alliance for American Manufacturing believes a strong national defense is inherently American-made, and it’s companies like Choctaw Defense that help keep it that way. Let’s put the job of manufacturing for soldiers, sailors, pilots and marines back into the hands of the people our nation’s warriors risk their lives to protect: hard-working Americans.
This post was written by Choctaw Nation member and AAM Social Media Intern, Bailey Pilgreen.