ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala.--Maj. Gen. Scott West saw the depot for the first time on June 23 as the commanding general of TACOM Life Cycle Management Command, a post he has held since April.

However, this wasn't his first visit to the installation. He came to the depot on an official visit in 1979 while stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., as a first lieutenant.

Before becoming the TACOM CG, West served as the 21st Theater Support Command commanding general, United States Army Europe and Seventh Army.

TACOM LCMC, which falls under the Army Materiel Command, is the next level of headquarters above Anniston Army Depot.

At Anniston, the general saw production operations in nearly every shop in the Nichols Industrial Complex.

He began his tour at the Career Academy where high school seniors are beginning their depot careers. The academy, which recently graduated its eighth class, instructs cooperative education student in trades like machining, welding, hydraulics, and electronics. Students in this program are expected to enter the technical school co-op program after high school graduation.

West toured the well-known Stanley Maintenance Facility where vehicles such as the M1 Abrams, Paladin, Field Artillery Ammunition Support Vehicle and M88 are disassembled and reassembled.

Throughout the tour, West stopped to talk to the employees on the shop floor. "I've seen a lot of vehicles, but it's good to see the hard-working welders, machinists, and mechanics," he said as he stopped to personally thank many of the employees for the service they perform to support the Soldier in the field.

The general was enamored with what he saw. "When you're repairing weapons and vehicles, it key to remember that someone's sons and daughters will be using that equipment and it could be the difference between life and death", he said. "The flexibility and agility of the American business has gone off shore and if we don't pay attention to places like Anniston, we're going to be in trouble. Seeing the work that goes on here solidifies why it is so important."

Component repair, painting and testing are accomplished in support shops through the depot's Nichols Industrial Complex.

Other areas of interest to the general were the final paint shop, the new powertrain facility, the reciprocating engine shop, the small arms repair center, the turbine engine new production and overhaul shops and the Stryker vehicle repair facility.

Day two here for the general encompassed a tour of the Anniston Chemical Agent Disposal Facility where he received chemical demilitarization updates and a briefing from the Anniston Defense Munitions Center when he was updated on the missile recycling program.

"While Anniston may be just a spot on the map filled with its uniqueness, what's most important are the people and the mission they perform," he said. "One has to come from Warren, Michigan to see it. I am intrigued by what I've seen. It reaffirms my faith in the workforce. You're one of the best and that is the key to our success."