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Letterkenny welcomes new commander

July 09, 1998

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer

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New Command at LetterkennyBy DON AINES / Staff Writer, Chambersburg

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- With the passing of the colors Wednesday, Col. Thomas W. Resau handed over command of Letterkenny Army Depot to its 41st commander.

Col. Henry W. Suchting, 45, will command the depot for the next two years, a time during which the military presence there will continue to decline, while private sector investment increases.

"The depot has adapted its mission and changed with world events," Maj. Gen. James W. Monroe told an audience of more than 300 people in the missile maintenance building. A steady drizzle forced the ceremony indoors.

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Monroe, commander of the U.S. Army Industrial Operations Command, officiated at the ceremony. During Resau's tenure, Monroe said the colonel completed the tactical missile maintenance consolidation ordered by the 1993 Base Realignment and Closure Commission and maintaining the production of Paladin self-propelled howitzers.

The general credited Resau with helping begin the transition ordered by the 1995 Base Realignment and Closure Commission. He said the partnership with the Letterkenny Industrial Development Authority had already created more than 100 jobs through interim leases to private industry and will mean "increased economic opportunities for displaced depot workers" and others in the future.

"These great men and women are confident they can carry out their mission because they have confidence in their equipment," Resau said of the soldiers, sailors and Marines who rely on the surface-to-air and air-to-air missiles serviced at the depot.

"I am confident there are better days ahead for this piece of ground we call Letterkenny," Resau said of the ongoing realignment.

"Everyday is a great day to be a soldier, and this is a great day for me," said Resau, who will become chief of staff of the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.

"Similar weather, same boss," Suchting recalled of his first meeting Monroe 15 years ago when Monroe was a battalion commander in Germany.

"My one focus will be to match the outstanding support Letterkenny provides to all our armed forces," the Baltimore native and West Point graduate said.

Suchting, previously a divisional assistant chief of staff for logistics in Fort Hood, Texas, said he will continue the working partnership with the depot's unions and industrial development authority.

Created in the early days of World War II, the depot was until recent years Franklin County's biggest employer. The depot and its tenant activities still employ approximately 2,500 people.

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