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Letterkenny Depot in Chambersburg would get almost $23 million in 2009 defense budget

May 06, 2008|By

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Letterkenny Army Depot would receive almost $23 million to build an Army Reserve Center and upgrade munitions bunkers in the 2009 U.S. Department of Defense budget, according to a joint press release from U.S. Sens. Arlen Specter and Bob Casey.

The Senate Armed Services Committee completed a markup of the 2009 defense authorization bill that would include $14.9 million for the reserve center and $8 million for the igloos, according to the senators. The committee was to report its legislation to the full Senate on Monday, the release stated.

The reserve center would have facilities to train as many as 300 reservists and would include administrative offices, classrooms, an assembly hall, arms vault, physical training area, kitchen, maintenance and storage space. It will also have a maintenance facility that "will house higher-level maintenance operations for the entire region."

The release stated that current reserve facilities have insufficient storage for military equipment.

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The Letterkenny Munitions Center has 902 reinforced concrete "igloos" used to store 100,000 tons of munitions from all of the armed services valued at $6 billion, the release stated. The igloos date to the construction of Letterkenny during World War II and, periodically, Congress has allocated money to upgrade some of the bunkers.

A similar $5.5 million project to modify 92 igloos was begun in 2005, replacing the 4-foot-wide doors on bunkers with 10-foot doors to accommodate the larger precision munitions now stored at the center, such as Patriot missiles. That project also removed steps into the bunkers, allowing access to loading vehicles.

In 2006, Depot Deputy Commander John Gray said there were plans to modify more than 100 more of the igloos, a project that was awaiting congressional funding.

Casey and Specter said in the release that Letterkenny is important to the national defense and regional economy. More than 3,000 federal and contract employees work at Letterkenny, making it the largest workplace in Franklin County, according to depot figures.

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