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Change of command at Letterkenny Army Depot

September 25, 2009|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- Letterkenny Army Depot marked the beginning of a new era Friday when it passed into the command of its first female leader.

Col. Cheri A. Provancha took the colors of command from Col. Stephen A. Shapiro, officially assuming the post as leader of the depot.

No depot does its job better than Letterkenny, said Maj. Gen. James R. Myles of the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command.

"When I think of Letterkenny Army Depot and this work force, there are five words that come to my mind," he said. "Remarkable. Selfless. Historical. Life-saving. Heroic. Those five words to me embody what this work force is all about."

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Soldiers like Provancha, who recently completed her second lengthy tour of duty in Iraq, use weapons systems built at Letterkenny every day to stay alive, he said.

Letterkenny, she said, was a name well known, even in the foxholes of war.

"There, I saw firsthand the power and passion of the Letterkenny community," she said. "It was there I saw soldiers walk away unscathed from otherwise deadly attacks, because of the MRAP and Rhinos."

Outgoing commander Shapiro downplayed his role in moving the depot into a position of status in the Army.

"I actually, kind of, sat back here for two years and, in my opinion, watched greatness happen," he said.

Greatness he said is the new Theater Readiness Monitoring Facility, the Army Reserve Center under construction, the mine resistant ambush protected vehicles rolling out of LEAD each week and the new employees rolling in.

It was also the three Shingo awards and the Army Superior Unit Award issued Friday from the Secretary of the Army for the depot's work in 2007, Myles said.

Before passing the colors to Provancha on Friday, Shapiro cut the ribbon and opened the Theater Readiness Monitoring Facility, making Letterkenny the Army's single point of access for missiles.

Being the first female commander of LEAD did not color Provancha's words Friday as she addressed the workers or enter her mind as she took hold of the colors.

"Until someone brought it up to me today, I didn't know I was the first female commander of Letterkenny," she said. "I think of myself as a soldier. I am always a soldier first."

Myles said it was Provancha's excellence as a solider and dedication to her county that made her the best choice to lead Letterkenny for the next few years.

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