By Brett KangasApril 18, 2011
DOVER AFB, Del. (April 18, 2011) -- Army officials helped Dover Air Force Base welcome its newest tenant unit with a much-awaited ribbon-cutting ceremony April 15.
The Joint Personal Effects Depot was originally stood up by the Army Human Resources Command immediately following the events of Sept. 11, 2001. It is the facility that receives the personal effects of killed, wounded or missing members from all military services, including the Coast Guard, Department of Defense civilians and contractors, as well as embedded media. These personal effects are photographed, inventoried, and prepared to be returned to their owners, or to their next of kin.
The JPED was relocated from Fort Myer, Va., in March 2003 to its most recent location at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.
In July 2008, construction began on JPED's new home at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Construction of the state-of-the-art, $17.5-million facility was completed last month. The JPED recently commenced split-operations between the APG facility and the Dover facility, with the final relocation to be completed in June.
On hand to participate at the ribbon-cutting ceremony were Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick, U.S. Army deputy chief of staff for G-1; Maj. Gen. Merdith (Bo) Temple, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers deputy commanding genera; Col. Mark Camerer, 436th Airlift Wing commander; Lt. Col. Kelly Kyburz, JPED commander, and 1st Sgt. Alfred Venham, JPED 1st Sgt.
Presently, the JPED family includes more than 155 civilian contractors, one Department of the Army civilian and 34 servicemembers (28 Army, three Air Force, and three Marines). The new facility is co-located on the Mortuary Affairs campus with the Charles C. Carson Center for Mortuary Affairs, historically known as the "Dover Port Mortuary," and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System facility.
The new JPED location allows for better coordination of each organization's efforts to service the nation's wounded and fallen servicemembers, officials said.
According to Col. Richard "Tony" Teolis Jr., director of the Casualty and Mortuary Affairs Operations Center, the relocation of the facility from APG to Dover will aid in the processing time of personal effects, as well as financial savings from eliminating the cost of receiving the personal effects at Dover AFB and then transporting them to APG for processing.
The facility is also known for the role it plays in the lives of the fallen members' next of kin.
"These items mean so much to these families, in different ways, because it's oftentimes the last tangible thing they might have," said Kyburz.
(Brett Kangas writes for the 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office.)