Col. Stephen M. York appeared at the Better Business Bureau 2019 Torch Awards to talk about the state of his command, Red River Army Depot. Touching on the past, where things are now and looking to the future, he painted a hopeful picture for the depot and the community.
"The depot dealt with some layoffs last year, which were unfortunate for all involved," he said, acknowledging the 900 contract workers and federal term employees rendered unemployed.
"It was necessary due to the current workload on the depot, which entered a lull period following peak operational tempo during the previous years of war. However, since then, we've been able to rehire some of them and continue to do so, from a dozen to 50 at a time."
He said Red River Army Depot has to make adjustments based on workload, which goes in cycles. But despite that, he spoke of Red River's position in the defense apparatus and the community as secure.
"At the end of the day, leadership has guaranteed viability of Red River, a strong part of the organic industrial base of the Department of Defense. The work cycle goes up and down, a cyclical process. I think we are coming out of a lull period and are going into an upward trend," he said.
York pointed to several items as indicating an increasing period of activity.
"We didn't get the AMPV maintenance mission," he said, referring to a new armored vehicle system the Army is bringing online. "However, we will be part of the support structure of the vehicle, so we have that. Also, we got the maintenance mission for the RTCH (wretch)," which is a cargo handling vehicle used by all of the armed services.
"In addition, after years of war, our supply stocks are depleted and there's a lot of work going into restocking supplies to be ready for the next missions. We are actively involved in that mission," he said. "Also, we still have active missions going on, including theater support for missions in Kuwait, especially. And the Army itself is one of our chief customers. All of this and more is going on to help us build and maintain readiness."
"We are a part of this community," he said. "The people who work in at this facility live here, shop at local stores, frequent local businesses. We are tied together."