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Much of the news lately from Camp Darby has been about closings or reductions.

The base’s high school closed last summer, its elementary school population has shrunk and the military dining facility’s last days are approaching.

But the Livorno, Italy, base welcomed 39 million euros’ worth of new facilities at the adjacent Leghorn Army Depot last week.

“This is a great day for AMC, and a great day for the Camp Darby community,” Lt. Gen. William Mortensen, deputy commander of the Army Materiel Command, said in a news release supplied by the 405th Army Field Support Brigade. Mortensen was the presiding officer in a ribbon-cutting ceremony on base.

Jennifer King, a public affairs officer for the brigade, said the project includes 10 buildings and support facilities that will give the largely Italian workforce based at Leghorn Army Depot modern facilities for the first time in decades.

U.S. and Italian personnel assigned to the 1st Battalion, 405th AFSB restore and upgrade used Army vehicles and equipment, much of it used in Iraq or Afghanistan. It’s the largest AMC operation in Europe.

In recent years, some of the materiel has been stored in temporary tents. Before that, it generally was left in the open, with the air from the nearby Mediterranean Sea causing more damage to the already worn equipment.

King said the project includes seven warehouses to store vehicles and equipment, a new battalion headquarters and maintenance, and washing and painting facilities. Some of the facilities are already in use while the move is made from the depot’s existing World War II era facilities.

Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for almost 38 years.
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