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Shuster: General is going to bat for Letterkenny

July 02, 2004|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

Chambersburg, Pa. - The U.S. Army general in charge of the military's tactical missile maintenance program will recommend to the Department of Defense that all missile maintenance work be moved to Letterkenny Army Depot, according Congressman Bill Shuster.

Shuster, R-Pa., said Thursday he recently met with Brig. Gen. James Pillsbury, commander of the Army Aviation and Missile Command, who told him he wants all armed forces missile maintenance moved to Letterkenny.

The depot, which employs about 2,000 civilian workers, faces possible closure by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission next year. The House of Representatives, however, has voted to delay the commission for two years, said Shuster, who was visiting his new district office at the Heritage Center at 100 Lincoln Way East.

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Shuster said the Senate has not voted to delay the commission, and the matter will have to be decided in a conference committee.

"I think we've got a real good chance to keep it open. Our focus has to be on keeping it open and expanding Letterkenny," said Shuster.

The congressman said Pillsbury told him the 17,000-acre depot has the trained work force to handle the missile mission, the storage capacity for the work and no encroachment issues with the thinly-populated areas around the depot.

In addition to tactical missile work already being done at the depot, Shuster said Letterkenny has benefited from increased workload as a result of the war on terrorism, with military vehicles being upgraded for special forces and other units being rearmed faster and at a lower cost than by the manufacturer.

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