Army depot remains strong

March 05, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- Here's a bright spot in Franklin County manufacturing: Letterkenny Army Depot is hiring.

The county's largest employer, with 3,400 people on the payroll, needs civilians with general automotive skills, Commander Steven Shapiro said.

He expects the depot's work force to be 5 to 10 percent larger by the end of the year, largely thanks to President Barack Obama's commitment to pull combat troops from Iraq and focus more on Afghanistan.

The equipment returning with troops needs to be refurbished, Shapiro said.

"This is a big deal for us," he said.

Also, Letterkenny opened a new facility in Kuwait in December 2008. That facility works with route-clearing vehicles that are used when looking for improvised explosive devices, he said.

The Kuwait facility will be in a position to repair equipment headed to Afghanistan, Shapiro said.

"One of the things that's offset the recession, locally and globally, is Letterkenny Army Depot," said L. Michael Ross, president of the Franklin County Area Development Corp.


Ross said the depot not only survived the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission cuts, but came out stronger and more diversified. He called the depot "a godsend to us."

"The depot continues to grow," Ross said.

The development corporation helped the depot create a work-force training center last year. It's working on a new entrance on Pa. 997 as well as barracks to be used by National Guard members in training.

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