By Lally Laksbergs, AMCApril 30, 2018
Keith Siniscalchi, civilian deputy to the commander, Tooele Army Depot (TEAD), retires today after more than 35 years of service to the nation. Siniscalchi started working at TEAD in March 1982, as a supply clerk in inventory management, and continued through 13 different jobs until his current position began in January 2015.
"Those that know Keith know the caliber of leader, the caliber of the man and the character that he possesses," said Col. Jimmy Brown, commander, TEAD. "Keith will tell you, first and foremost, that it's understood we're in the business of readiness, so the nation has what it needs from a munitions perspective. But ultimately, at the end of the day, the one thing he cares most about is every single employee on this Depot.
Keith, you are the shining example of what right looks like when it comes to not only leadership, but being a man of character and faith."
Siniscalchi was recognized at a small ceremony surrounded by colleagues and family. He received several awards and acknowledgements to include the Ordnance Order of Samuel Sharpe, a high level award that recognizes individuals who have served the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps with demonstrated integrity, moral character and professional competence over a sustained period of time, and the Department of the Army Meritorious Civilian Service Award, the second highest award granted by the Secretary of the Army or a major Army commander to civilian personnel.
Siniscalchi reflected on the workforce's dedication that has never wavered through the past 17 commanders he has worked with.
"They're patriots," he said. "The people at TEAD are family, sometimes a little dysfunctional, but still a group of people committed to a common purpose - the defense of our way of life."
Siniscalchi remembers a specific work experience that he considers a highlight of his career.
"TEAD was called upon to build add-on armor kits for M929s [5-ton military dump truck,]" he said. "The workforce went from zero to production in less than six weeks. This was a phenomenal effort by the employees. Their commitment and dedication to the warfighters made this happen."
But it wasn't all just work that made his time at the Depot memorable…love was involved.
"I met the love of my life at the Depot," he reflects. "We met once and I was "twitterpated", but didn't see her again for over a year. I just started a new job and one day she walked into the office to give me a phone message…we became best friends and eventually she was foolish enough to marry me."
That was more than 25 years ago.
Keith's wife, Frances Siniscalchi, was also recognized during the ceremony with presentations of the Department of the Army Commander's Award for Public Service, an honorary award presented for commendable service or achievement, and the U.S. Ordnance Corps Association Keeper of the Flame award, in appreciation for the invaluable service ordnance spouses provide to the Ordnance Corps.
When asked why he stayed working at TEAD for 35 years his response reflected a personal conviction to civil service.
"What we do has purpose," said Siniscalchi. "Our actions directly support this nation and protect the constitution…this is consistent with my belief system."
"Tooele Army Depot is just a location. It's a noun. It's a place. It's a facility that's designed to store, ship and receive munitions. That's all it is," said Siniscalchi. "But what Tooele Army Depot really is all about are the people."
Siniscalchi mentioned that the U.S. currently has service members in more than 175 different countries around the world and over the past 35 years the Depot has been part of at least 20 conflicts or contingency operations…TEAD has had a direct or indirect impact with each of those.
"When I say that I mean that when a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine went to training, they used ammunition, and the ammunition had to come from somewhere," he said. "Although we should be praying for peace, we should always be prepared for war."
Siniscalchi shared some insight into what new employees at the Depot, and anywhere in civil service, should consider.
"Pursue your dreams. Take advantage of every opportunity to develop yourself - education, training, new job experiences. Learn as much as you can to support the mission. Believe in yourself and invest in the Thrift Savings Plan!" shared Siniscalchi.
TEAD's mission over the past 75 years has always been one of providing support to the warfighter anywhere in the world.
When asked how he wanted to be remembered at TEAD, Siniscalchi kept it simple, "my dedication to the mission and people."