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Letterkenny undergoes change of command

July 19, 2002|by STACEY DANZUSO

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - With the symbolic passing of Letterkenny's red and yellow flag, Col. William A. Guinn became the depot's 43rd commander Thursday morning.

Guinn gave local officials and depot workers a peek at his personality during the Change of Command ceremony, where he cracked jokes about the mobile life of an Army officer.

"We've had nine moves in the past 13 years. We have a dog with more frequent flyer miles than most people in the audience," he said.

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Guinn and his wife, Karen, arrived at the depot this week from his most recent post as deputy director of logistics in the Pacific at Camp H.M. Smith in Hawaii.

Guinn replaces Col. Robert English III, who after completing a two-year tour as depot commander now heads to Huntsville, Ala., where he will serve as military deputy at the Integrated Material Management Center of the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command.

During Thursday's ceremony, English reflected on the changes he has seen while stationed at Letterkenny.

"When I assumed command, it was during a time of relative peace. I'm leaving during a worldwide war against terrorism," English said. "The Army is in transition for a more effective and deployable fighting force."

Lt. Gen. Roy E. Beauchamp, deputy general for U.S. Army Material Command, said teamwork is essential in operating the depot.

"Teamwork and good leadership and good management at every level, and by everybody, are just as important in this organization as they are in any combat formation," Beauchamp said, describing the depot and its operations as a complex business.

"What you do here affects every soldier in the United States Army every day, providing secure, safe and effective weapons on the battlefield," he said.

Beauchamp, who is the top officer in the ordnance field, also commended English for improving the quality of life for workers at the depot and dealing with the increased security since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Under English's command, the depot expanded its support of Reserve forces and took on new endeavors, including specially modifying humvees with different weapons and systems for Special Forces.

English has also worked to drum up support for the depot, which was dramatically downsized in the mid-1990s. It will be up to Guinn to keep the depot's mission current as local officials hope to keep it off the Congressional Base Realignment and Closure Act in 2005.

Guinn was born in San Bernardino, Calif., and during his military career has also commanded a battalion in Bosnia, Croatia and Germany, served as Division Material Management Center's Readiness Officer in Fort Carson, Colo., and worked on several other assignments.

Guinn has received several achievement medals and commendations.

Letterkenny Army Depot opened in 1942, chosen as the site of an ammunition depot because of its protected inland location while still close enough to ports and rail lines.

The depot now comprises 16,000 acres and conducts maintenance, modification, storage and demilitarization operations on ammunition and tactical missiles, including the Patriot missile system.

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