NEWS | July 6, 2021

Letterkenny team deploys, provides forward missile support

By Dorie Heyer, Army Letterkenny Army Depot

Two Letterkenny Army Depot employees from the Directorate of Missile and Aerospace Readiness deployed to the U.S. Central Command region. Mike Rogers, an equipment specialist in DMAR, and Todd Santiago, an electronics technician in DMAR, deployed to re-pin a U.S. Patriot missile that was unlocked and had shifted out of position in its canister June 14 – 19.

Earlier this year, certified missile technicians in DMAR validated the field re-pinning process for missiles in the field utilizing fly-away kits designed for field operations.

Taking the lessons learned from the validation training, Rogers and Santiago deployed with short notice to successfully complete the mission.

“It was a rewarding mission in many different ways,” Rogers said.

He noted the support and willingness to learn what the DMAR team encountered from the soldiers assigned to the unit.

“They were like sponges soaking up information regarding the mechanics of the missile launch canister and the missile round loaded within the canister,” Rogers commented. “We used the opportunity to provide them with insight on the theory of mechanical operation of the launch canister to help them better understand how their operations impact the missile and launch canister.”

Once on site, Rogers and Santiago executed the assessment and re-pin of the missile quickly and efficiently. The DMAR team also used the deployment to improve processes and refine operations.

“With the proper training, I’ve learned that we are able to be mission ready within a short timeframe,” Santiago said. “I also feel prepared to provide recommendations for future missions to ease physical and financial burdens associated with traveling with the required equipment.”

The team learned that de-pinned missiles can shift and cause severe damage without ever puncturing the canister cover – a new revelation since the training and process validation earlier in the year. The deployment also provided Rogers and Santiago with the opportunity to make improvements to the fly-away kits for future missions.

“This was a valuable trip, and the lessons learned by the team were extremely beneficial because an actual shifted missile in the field could not be replicated in a training environment,” said Michael Craul, branch chief in DMAR. “They are now able to take what was assessed in a field environment and revamp the tooling kit.”

Letterkenny Army Depot is the Army’s premier professional organic maintenance facility that provides overhaul, repair and modifications for tactical missile air defense and space systems, electric power generation equipment and various military vehicles, support systems and protection programs. Letterkenny Army Depot was established in 1942 and is a government-owned and operated industrial installation located in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.

For more information about LEAD, visit https://www.letterkenny.army.mil/