As part of a visit across several Kentucky military sites, military liaisons (MLA) from four of the six Kentucky Congressional districts made a stop in Richmond to tour the Blue Grass Army Depot (BGAD) installation for a military assets and equity update.
Kentucky liaisons of Reps. Andy Barr (R-KY), Brett Guthrie (R-KY), James Comer (R-KY), Hal Rogers (R-KY) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) were joined by liaisons of representatives of both Virginia and Tennessee in their tour Thursday afternoon.
“This is an opportunity for the U.S. Army to show our Congressional delegations and their military liaisons how the U.S. Army is maximizing the value of every dollar extended to us by the U.S. taxpayer,” BGAD Commander Colonel Joseph Kurz said. “So we wanted to impress upon the staffers here today why it matters so much that we have a budget from Congress. That we have predictable and consistent funding from U.S. members of Congress so that the Army can deliver readiness to our current warfighters.”
The group received tours of two facilities on-site led by Kurz and other BGAD officials after touring Fort Knox and the National Guard base in Frankfort earlier.
First, the group was escorted to a building with existing infrastructure from the 1940s, which housed their chemical defense equipment distribution (CDE) operations. Here, employees receive, store, inspect, replenish and ensure readiness of individual chemical equipment for joint warfighters worldwide.
Here, CDEs are sheltered, managed and shipped out all over the world, explained the CDE Chief, Greg Gaerke.
He explained to the MLAs that the CDE building is the depot’s own mini FedEx and Amazon hub, where they pack, ship and store all chemical defense equipment.
In this facility, boxes and crates which equipment is shipped in is made in house, which according to Colonel Kurz, saves so much of the taxpayers dollars by constructing the boxes and containers in house.
Colonel Kurz said that although the building was built nearly 80-years-ago, it has undergone “modernization” of its current infrastructure including increased lighting, water systems, fans and leveled concrete for safety.
“We are in a constant upkeep for safety of our employees,” he said.
From there, military liaisons spoke with John Warns, a logistics manager, who showcased to the group Force Providers, which he described as “a city in a container.”
Force Providers are 21, 150-man camps that increase combat capabilities by providing superior living conditions which include bathrooms, showers, laundry and kitchen facilities with fuel support, water and waste management as well as environmental control units and power generation and distribution units.
“This allows us to drop containers in third world countries with our soldiers and they will have a whole base camp to live in,” Kurz said.
From here, MLAs were taken to the consolidated shipping center, a newer facility, which combines truck and rail strategic readiness outloading to better be in compliance with warfighter demands.
This, according to Kurz, is another attempt to be of better use to the taxpayer monies, by shortening the distance that depot workers have to transfer and ship materials across the installation.
It was here that Kim Martin, a container control officer at the depot, demonstrated the 16-step process of receiving an order with a bird’s eye view map of the near 15,000-acre installation and demonstrated the entire process of completing an order and sending it out to the designated purchaser.
“This is the well oiled machine of 16 different steps to make sure that the warfighter gets they need,” Martin said.
This facility includes a dual-sided six rail dock, U-shaped loading configuration, truck loading port, blocking and bracing woodshop, state-of-the-art shipping center and expanded container storage.
It is here that the depot has concurrent receiving, packing and shipping of non-compatible and combat-unit configured munitions. It includes five staging bays and one shop bay with 4,000 sq. ft. of administration areas and a trucker lounge.
MLA Hunt VanderToll (Rep. Barr) said they were thankful to the Army for hosting the group.
“This shows them our modernization -- that we are good stewards of taxpayer dollars in terms of where we are modernizing our processes and our facilities to deliver that readiness to our warfighters,” Kruz said.
Reach Taylor Six at 624-6623 or follow her on Twitter at @TaylorSixRR.