It wasn’t so many years ago that people were beginning to wonder about the future of the Tracy Defense Depot. They wonder no more.
The questions came at a time of consolidation of military supply operations in the U.S. and around the world, and the depot — now known as Defense Distribution Depot San Joaquin — had competed for, but lost, in the competition to be the site for the Defense Logistic Agency’s principal distribution point.
And while a facility in New Cumberland, Pa., won the competition, the local depot — a combination of the former Defense Depot Tracy and Sharpe Army Depot in Lathrop — landed on its feet to become the center of the agency’s consolidated supply operations on the West Coast.
SHIPSHAPE:The future of the Tracy Defense Depot southeast of Tracy was once up in the air. Now, as publisher emeritus Sam Matthews explains, it is a highly regarded and integral part of the U.S. military supply chain.
Press file photo
Since then, a huge new warehouse (Building 56) has been put into operation at the Chrisman Road main depot site (the former Sharpe Army Depot site in Lathrop is used only for long-term storage), and operations at the local depot have received a raft of honors for moving supplies in a timely and cost-effective manner to the western U.S., Pacific, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The depot’s solid position in the world of military logistics was underscored for me Tuesday, when I went out to the Chrisman Road facility originally called “the Quartermaster,” to take in change-in-command ceremonies.
The traditional passing-the-flag ceremony from the retiring commander, Army Col. Doug Serrano, to the new commander, Army Col. David Rodriguez, was held in the new massive Building 56. Outside, work is progressing on another large warehouse that will replace several smaller World War II-era buildings.
Inside the cavernous building, speakers ticked off accomplishments of the depot in recent years, including winning President George W. Bush’s Award for Installation Excellence in 2005 and the gold-level Eureka Award from the California Council for Performance Excellence in 2006 and entering competition for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.
Some depot facts passed along at the Tuesday ceremonies:
n The depot is the second largest of 26 Defense Distribution Agency depots.
n The depot stores 750,000 different items valued at $5 billion.
n In 2006, four million items valued at $4.5 billion were shipped to military customers around the world.
n On a monthly average, the depot’s Consolidation and Containerization Point ships more than 800 seavans and nearly 300 air pallets to 4,000 customers in the Pacific.
n Depot employees assemble heat-and-serve meals that are called Unitized Group Rations, which are shipped overseas by the seavan-load.
n Depot salaries totaled $96 million in the past year, and the depot spends $39 million a year with transportation companies
Elks a busy bunch
In reporting Tracy Elks celebrating their lodge’s 50th birthday last week, space limitations did not permit the inclusion of the Elks’ community-service projects in the article. Tracy Elks have a good time at their social events, but they also don’t shortchange community service.
Here are some of the highlights:
This past year, the lodge gave out $7,800 in local, state and national college scholarships. The lodge also gave Christmas food and toy baskets to 46 Tracy families.
Elks purple piggy banks were emptied into a fund of $10,494 given by the local lodge to the California-Hawaii Elks Major Project for providing assistance to crippled children.
A “hoop shoot” free-throw contest held during the past 30 years will be augmented this year with a “soccer shoot.”
The Elks sponsor Boy Scout Troop 525, Girl Scout Troop 1943 and Cub Scout Pack 555.
Hastie is home
Former Mayor Dick Hastie, hospitalized in San Francisco for much of the past two months for a virus-caused abscess on his bottom, is home again.
He was discharged Sunday from California Pacific Medical Center’s convalescent facility in San Francisco — a week earlier than originally planned — and is now recuperating at the Highland Avenue home of his daughter, Raeann Ruiz.
Dick, who showed up Tuesday at Rusty’s on Grant Line Road to roll for drinks with friends (he didn’t pay), reports he is gaining strength daily and able to get around with the aid of a walker. The only positive aspect of his illness was losing 35 pounds, and more pounds will continue coming off, the slimmed-down Richard O. reports.