The Richmond Register

Local News

March 29, 2012

French soldiers take look at depot’s ammunition storage

RICHMOND — A delegation of French officers, including the commanding general of France’s Joint Ammunition Agency or le Service Interarmees des Munitions, visited the Blue Grass Army Depot last week during a week-long tour of U.S. weapons storage sites.

Brig. Gen. Stephane Ovaere and four members of his staff toured the Madison County depot March 21.

The five Frenchmen were in the U.S. to study infrastructure and daily operations of the American Joint Munitions Command to which the local depot belongs.

Activated about one year ago, the French joint ammunition command is responsible for all ammunition support to that nation’s army, navy, and air force both in France and abroad, according to the release.

Ovaere and his team visited the Blue Grass Army Depot because similar ammunition storage facilities play a key role in their agency’s mission, the release stated.

“We visited Blue Grass Army Depot to see how an American depot operates,” Ovaere Clerk said.

The French delegation was brief by commander Col. Brian Rogers and got close-up looks at the depot’s Ammunition Operations Center, small arms warehouse, ammunition inspection building, a loading platform, an ammunition igloo and a detonation chamber.

Although most of the depot’s operations are similar to those in France, Ovaere said the Kentucky depot stood out because it operates more like a business, the release stated.

As part of the U.S. Army’s Working Capital Fund, the Blue Grass depot receives no direct government appropriations. It earns money by providing materials and services to other military operations, including the militaries of some allied nations.

The depot must provide a better deal than other competing suppliers to remain in operation, Rogers told a group of visiting reporters in August.

Ovaere said he also was interested in learning about the depot’s security, pyrotechnics, risk management and the prospect of obtaining a detonation chamber for his agency.

After the tour, the French delegation enjoyed an American lunch served by the depot’s Family Morale Welfare and Recreation operation.  

During the lunch, Rogers presented Ovaere with a framed photo and depot medallion, a book about Battle of Richmond and a University of Kentucky T-shirt.

In appreciation, the French delegation presented a gift to Rogers and medallions to everyone present at the luncheon.  

Ovaere also invited Rogers to and visit his installation in France.

Bill Robinson can be reached at brobinson@richmondregister.com or at 624-6622.

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