ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. (Sept. 10, 2012) -- Secretary of the Army John McHugh visited Anniston Army Depot, Ala., Sept. 7.

Accompanying him were Gen. Dennis Via, commanding general of the U.S. Army Materiel Command; Maj. Gen. Michael Terry, commander of TACOM Life Cycle Management Command; and other AMC and TACOM LCMC leaders. He also met with U.S. Congressman Mike Rogers, Alabama 3rd Congressional District.

While this was McHugh's first visit to the depot, one of his priorities has been returning the Army's equipment to its best possible condition.

"Obviously our Army depots help [keep equipment in its best possible condition] and they continue to be a critical part of the mission that we assign to our Soldiers," said McHugh. "There are not a lot of places in this country where you have the variety, depth of programs and skill set of workers who can do this kind of mission. I receive a lot of briefings in Washington, and we talk about various functions that depots perform. But there is no substitute for coming and seeing the people out there on the floor doing the hard work."

Depot Commander Col. Brent Bolander briefed McHugh and his senior leadership on the installation's numerous capabilities, infrastructure and strategic vision.

They began their visit by touring the depot's Combat Vehicle Repair Facility where combat vehicles, both wheeled and tracked, are completely overhauled. The process consists of completely disassembling a battle-damaged or worn vehicle, repairing or replacing any or all components and reassembling the vehicle to a like-new condition for the Army, National Guard, Army Reserve, and the Marine Corps -- at a fraction of the cost of a new vehicle.

An important stop on the tour was made at the machine shop, where depot employees perform fabrication for assured mobility system projects including the SPARK II Mine Roller, Husky Iron Scrape components and Husky Chevron Armor kits.

"These initiatives, completed ahead of schedule, were only successful because of the hard work of the depot's workforce," Bolander added, while alluding to a very flexible, multi-skilled workforce of approximately 6,000 employees.

Throughout the visit, McHugh thanked depot workers for their contributions.

"I've been to Iraq and Afghanistan some 22 times now and have seen the warfighter out there every day relying on the vehicles and weapons that are worked on here," he said. "The work that is done at Anniston is a critical part of not just keeping them safe, but helping them to be successful. I know the warfighters are grateful for that, and so am I."

In the Small Arms Repair facility, employees demonstrated the firing of the M2 .50 caliber machine gun. The depot is the primary Small Arms Rebuild Center for America's military forces. The facility's capabilities include providing complete overhaul for both individual and crew served weapons ranging from the M9 9MM pistol to the MK19 40 MM automatic grenade launcher.

Anniston Army Depot is one of several locations supporting the AMC and TACOM LCMC mission of developing and delivering materiel to support the joint warfighter. Specifically, Anniston provides industrial and technical support to joint services for repair, overhaul, modification and upgrade of combat vehicles, artillery systems, bridging systems, small arms and secondary components.

"This is a great facility, great workers, and I was critically impressed with the variety of programs that they have here." McHugh added.

Anniston Army Depot is located on 15,319 acres in Calhoun County. Anniston Army Depot has 2,393 buildings, 430 miles of roadway, 102 miles of fencing and 37 miles of railroad with a plant replacement value of approximately $2.5 billion. The infrastructure is capable of repeated 70-ton combat vehicle traffic and has heavy lift capability within key facilities. Anniston Army Depot has a live firing range capable of firing weapons up to 155 mm.