CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. – Letterkenny Army Depot’s upholstery shop recently switched gears from its military mission to produce personal protective equipment for a local health system.
WellSpan Health officials reached out when they learned Letterkenny’s upholstery shop was making masks for the depot workforce. It didn’t take long for the depot to configure its diverse capabilities and adapt procedures for the new project that will create 70,000 isolation gowns for the healthcare organization.
While it is a shift from the tents and vinyl products the shop routinely repairs and produces in support of defense programs, this Public-Private Partnership that helps the local community prepare and respond to COVID-19 is a win-win endeavor, said Letterkenny Army Depot Commander Col. Greg Gibbons.
“As part of the Army’s Organic Industrial Base, Letterkenny is prepared to respond when the nation calls,” Gibbons said. “Part of that is response is flexibility – and we’re proud to provide a solution for our local community.”
Without missing a beat or losing focus on mission readiness, Letterkenny Army Depot’s Manufacturing and Fabrication Division Chief George Coble said directorates across the depot worked to reallocate resources and staff the upholstery shop with 36 employees who began production on May 1.
“As a result of our capabilities, we can adjust to changing requirements, and this is what we have done,” Coble said. “We can support the warfighter while pivoting to support the health care industry during this state of pandemic.”
Public-Private Partnerships allow the Army’s Organic Industrial Base facilities like Letterkenny Army Depot to manufacture or sell products or services to the private sector. However, such a partnership with the medical community is unprecedented, said Dale McClanahan, Letterkenny Army Depot’s chief of business development.
“This is not our normal course of business, but we are honored to be able to assist the local medical community,” said McClanahan.