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Letterkenny Army Depot gets a new commander

August 11, 2007|By ASHLEY HARTMAN

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - Col. Robert A. Swenson ended his two-year command of Letterkenny Army Depot and his 27 years of military service with high praise Friday as the command was handed over to Col. Steven A. Shapiro.

"I think Letterkenny is the best job a colonel can have," said Swenson, 48. "Although I'm no longer a part of Letterkenny, it will always be a part of me."

"Under Swenson, the depot has turned into a world-class facility," said Maj. Gen. James R. Myles of the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command.

Myles also said Letterkenny has grown in size, increased in efficiency and become more solvent under Swenson's leadership.

In 2005, there were 2,700 government employees and contractors working at the depot, and the number now is more than 3,000, according to depot figures.

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"Letterkenny is directly involved in this fight against terror," Myles said. "(Swenson) sent soldiers to install counter-IEDs (improvised explosive devices) in Iraq and Afghanistan. These systems are helping keep soldiers alive."

Swenson passed the colors of command to Shapiro, 43, who most recently was operations officer for the 3rd Corps Support Command in Wiesbaden, Germany, and Balad, Iraq.

"I'd like to initially maintain the outstanding reputation that Letterkenny has, and I'd like to improve the reputation if possible, and I would like to grow business," Shapiro said.

When Shapiro was promoted to colonel in 2006, he was able to compete for the colonel-level commander post.

"I was just lucky enough to get selected," Shapiro said.

Shapiro is relocating to Letterkenny from Carlisle, Pa., where he attended the Army War College for one year.

"I knew Steve from Fort Bragg (N.C.)," Swenson said. "Letterkenny could not be left in better hands."

Shapiro's military campaigns have included Operation Desert Shield/Storm, Operation Joint Endeavor, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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