The myriad changes the depot has endured since its 1940 birth have been shepherded by a list of military leaders. Many of them performed superbly. Add to that list U.S. Army Col. S.B. Keller, the depot's commander who is moving to her next assignment at Fort Belvoir, Va. On Friday, she'll relinquish her command to Col. Timothy M. Sullivan, a Jacksonville State University graduate who has served in Saudi Arabia, Bosnia and Iraq.
Join this editorial board in wishing Keller well with her new duties, and in welcoming Sullivan to the depot's top spot.
In all fairness to the incoming commander, following Keller may prove to be a difficult chore — even for a military veteran with a diverse resume. That's a credit to Keller, whose three years at the depot saw her guide in a lengthy list of alterations and improvements in Bynum.
During Keller's time in the Anniston, the depot:
• Celebrated its 100th repaired Stryker vehicle — a number that's grown higher in recent months.
• Broke ground on a new water-treatment plant.
• Continued to donate six-figure checks to local charities that came from donations from depot employees.
• Opened a child-care facility for depot workers and military personnel.
• Kept advancing the importance of public-private partnerships as a sign of the depot's ability to effectively manage increasing workloads.
Depot visitors with only a casual knowledge of the facility would be amazed to see first-hand its multi-faceted missions. What started as a World War II supply depot and made its name as the tank-repair capital of the world is now a 25-square-mile property that houses more than 2,000 buildings and whose workers — military and civilian — repair or make everything from tanks, armored launch vehicles, howitzers, Stryker vehicles, rifles, pistols, grenade launchers, mortars and gun mounts.
If the Army fires it, fights with it or drives it, the depot likely works on it.
That versatility has been an ongoing process that began decades ago. But in recent years, that effort has ramped up as commanders such as Keller and civilian leaders have preached a sermon of versatility and efficiency in an effort to protect the depot from any military base-closure list.
As Calhoun County residents know well, the specter of the Base Realignment and Closure commission presents a constant concern for any military community.
Keller's three years as commander have witnessed countless modifications and upgrades at Anniston Army Depot; there's been a whirlwind of change. More than ever before, it's cemented as a cornerstone of the military and northeast Alabama.
The depot and this community have benefited from Keller's service here.