Letterkenny hosts Army’s vice chief of staff on first visit to industrial depot
Photo by Pam Goodhart, Letterkenny Army Depot
Underscores critical support to nation’s defense
By JANET GARDNER
AMCOM Public Affairs
Top Army leaders – including Army vice chief of staff Gen. Daniel Allyn – who visit Letterkenny Army Depot in Pennsylvania gain a close-up view of the value the Army’s organic industrial base depots provide in ensuring the nation’s warfighters have the equipment they need to have the advantage on the battlefield.
Allyn made his first-ever trip to Letterkenny Army Depot on March 24. He was escorted by Letterkenny commander Col. Deacon Maddox and Aviation and Missile Command commander Brig. Gen. Douglas Gabram. Letterkenny is a subordinate element of AMCOM.
“This visit to Letterkenny by the vice chief of staff underscores the critical support that the Army’s depots provide to the nation,” Gabram said.
Allyn not only reviewed depot manufacturing processes but also talked one-on-one with the employees who have built Letterkenny’s reputation as a Center of Industrial and Technical Excellence for air defense and tactical missile systems. Employees conduct maintenance, modification, repair, storage and demilitarization operations on tactical missiles and ammunition.
“The Letterkenny Army Depot’s innovative and enduring workforce is second to none,” Allyn said. “The expertise these employees possess enables them to prototype, manufacture and sustain our most critical combat equipment and enablers; the workforce is the bedrock of the depot and is steadfast in their commitment to our nation.
“This community's unique ability to surge capability in order to provide first class logistics support to our joint warfighters while simultaneously contributing to our international partners requirements is a testament to the strength and agility of our phenomenal organic industrial base.”
As Allyn’s aircraft touched down on the depot’s helipad, Gabram and Maddox officially welcomed him. They then boarded a bus for a short ride to the first of two facilities highlighted on the one-hour visit.
At the Ground Systems Readiness Facility, Allyn observed various stages of reset, recap and new build programs in production. State-of-the-art milling machines, such as the depot’s 9-axis Mazak machine that takes a block of aluminum and fabricates it into a one-piece construction design, were showcased in the manufacturing and fabrication annex.
Along the tour route, Allyn observed Patriot shelters, route clearance vehicles undergoing customer-specific modifications or combat-induced repairs, Patriot reset prime movers and the Sentinel common platform upgrade. As the group walked through the facility, Maddox pointed out the facility’s unique capabilities, including the high-bay space, heavy-crane capacity, and adaptable industrial space to accommodate surge requirements and the spectrum of weapon systems programs delivered by Letterkenny.
The group then walked through the Missile Systems Readiness Facility where Allyn spoke with depot artisans working on major end items of the Patriot radar on the production floor.
The tour finished in the circuit card room with Allyn getting a first-hand look at the intricacies of the skillsets performed by depot artisans. He sat behind a power zoom stereo microscope and viewed the reconstruction of a 9-layer circuit card that required micro-miniature soldering. Marcia Storts of the Theater Missile Systems Division explained the level of detail on the circuit card under the microscope.
Throughout the entire visit, both Gabram and Maddox emphasized the depot’s highly skilled workforce and Letterkenny’s unique “systems approach” in providing air defense weapon system readiness. This approach entails the production of complete unit sets, from weapon systems platforms to missile re-certification.
At the end of the day, Maddox said the tour provided Allyn with an understanding of how the depot’s “workforce skills are critical to the nation, particularly our ability to defend against air threats, and that what we do here in central Pennsylvania plays a vital role, not only in the Army’s readiness strategy, but also in those of our international partners.”
Echoing those same sentiments, Gabram said, “As Gen. (Dennis) Via, U.S. Army Materiel Command commander, has championed, these organizations represent a long-term insurance policy to the nation.
“They are a critical capability that cannot be built overnight, and they possess an unmatched capacity to accommodate strategic surge requirements. Their skills, and the men and women who work within our depots are true artisans. Their skills take decades to master, and our nation is better positioned for an uncertain future through their expertise and the systems in place at the depots. The strategic readiness of our Army and our nation are enhanced because of the experts working in our nation’s depots.”
The Army’s organic industrial base consists of a series of depots and arsenals under the direction of AMC headquarters responsible for providing many of the “hard iron” aspects of war equipment, such as tanks, artillery, ammunition and aircraft. AMCOM is a major subordinate command to AMC that oversees Letterkenny’s support of Army missile systems.
Letterkenny, located in south central Pennsylvania, is one of five “hard iron” depots within AMC and provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of route clearance vehicles, power generation and a broad range of support services.