LEGHORN ARMY DEPOT, Italy - Nowhere else in the U.S. European Command does the term "Power Projection" mean more. As the U.S. Army's only location in Europe with prepositioned stocks of heavy equipment and materiel, Leghorn Army Depot is literally overrun with rows of warehouses and maintenance shops where workers store, maintain, issue, and "reset" billions of dollars in military equipment and supplies.

Yet according to base officials, the World War II-era warehouses that are now storing and maintaining the Army's most modern armored vehicles have only received a minor facelift in 60 years, leaving most of them unventilated, without climate and humidity controls, and without the proper mechanical lift/storage and distribution systems.

Until now.

"Starting this year, the local DPW and I got together with the Army Materiel Command and started renovations on some of the warehouses," said Linda Eckley, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District project engineer. "It was definitely time."

Most of the renovations overseen by the District - including to facilities 5030, 5040, 5060, 5070, 5080, 5090, 5110 and 5120 - will be complete before the end of the year, with some minor modifications taking place in early 2010.

Work on the projects, totaling just over $1 million, has ranged from minor repairs to the water, lighting, and electrical systems to complete refurbishment to floors, bathrooms, office space, and mechanical and communication rooms.

One of the most important upgrades to all the warehouses, said Eckley, were the fire protection systems, including internal and external sprinkler systems upgrades, general fire-proofing of the tie rods, and replacing external fire stairs.

"The emergency exit stairs on some of these facilities were basically unusable," said Eckley. "For the people that worked in the mezzanine area above, there was no safe exit."

Most important, officials say, is the reliability of the equipment in the facilities. Because prepositioned vehicles and materiel are the first to fight, having old warehouses unable to provide proper storage and maintenance is a hazard on the battlefield as it puts Soldiers at unnecessary risk by delivering less-capable equipment than required.

"This is a strategic deployment hub for the Army," said Eckley. "And our job here is to help the AMC ensure that the infrastructure is modernized and maintained as best as possible to keep the materiel in a high state of readiness. I think we've been working very well together."

Some of the District's other projects in Livorno include repairs to a security gate, sandblast and paint booths, and a pressure washer, improvements to landscaping for Building 5861, installation of a few humidity monitors, exhaust systems, and oil/water separators, and the laying of pavement at a wash rack, test track, and in front of Building 5881.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16