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 Tuesday, August 04, 2015

About Us:

The New Cumberland military installation and mission has changed over the years as the defense needs of the nation have dictated. The mission has always been to support our men in women in uniform. DLA Distribution Susquehanna, Pennsylvania performs its mission as a modern military distribution complex responsible for providing Department of Defense (DoD) owned commodities to all branches of the armed forces and other agencies of the federal government throughout the world. DLA Distribution Susquehanna, Pennsylvania is the largest DoD distribution center under the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and within DLA Distribution.

To provide integrated distribution solutions in support of America's Armed Forces around the clock, around the world through effective receipt, storage, control and shipment of materiel.

An ever-improving organization that is the distribution services provider of choice and the employer of choice.

DLA Distribution Susquehanna, Pennsylvania lives and works by these values.

2009-2013 Business Plan

The New Cumberland military installation has changed over the years as the defense needs of the nation have dictated.

Prior to World War I, the Army's depot structure was primarily designed to support the defense of the U.S. mainland instead of overseas deployment.  The Army needed to create depots overnight near the Atlantic coast to support a WWI build-up.  Three reserve depots were established beginning with New Cumberland, Pennsylvania to store supplies for all the Army bureaus for deployment overseas to troops in Europe. As cargo moved primarily by rail systems, New Cumberland was selected in 1917 due to the bordering Pennsylvania Railroad and one of the largest classification rail yards located nearby in Enola.


On February 22, 1918, President Wilson approved an expenditure of $250 thousand dollars from the appropriation for National Defense of $100 million dollars to cover purchase of land for two reserve depots, one of them located near Harrisburg P.A. and the other near Schenectady, N.Y.  The federal government purchased 832 acres, from seven deeds held by farm owners, for $160,167.

On May 14, 1918, there was a flag raising ceremony in front of the Reserve Quartermaster Warehouses.  The New Cumberland Band furnished the music and the Blue Devils of France, a light infantry group of the French Army trained for warfare in the Alps, were guests at the ceremony.

Construction began on the new supply depot under the supervision of the US Army Corps of Engineers. Building the depot cost $5 million, with as many as 3,380 people employed during construction.  Laborers were said to have earned $2.80 a day while saddle horses earned $3.00 per day.  Eight warehouses and two open sheds were constructed. Other buildings included a medical infirmary, fire station, bakery and pump house, barracks, lavatories, mess halls, officer's quarters, PX and guardhouse.

Over ten miles of permanent railroad track was laid, connecting with the Northern Central Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, the main line from Baltimore through Harrisburg to central New York. A little more than four miles of road were constructed. A highway was graded along the west boundary for public use in lieu of the previously used Cherry Lane. Another existing public road, Marsh Run Road, leading along a portion of the southern boundary, was not discontinued for public use.

A considerable portion of the land was planted in wheat and hay and harvested by a local farmer. By this arrangement, the government acquired one hundred tons of baled hay and straw and over a thousand bushels of wheat, all transferred to Camp Meade, Maryland.  The wheat was sold for $2500, impressing the Utilities Officer to write to Washington stating that 450 acres could be cultivated without interfering with operations.  He was informed that the Chief of Storage declined to authorize farming operations.

A stone quarry opened at the northwest corner of the reservation and two stone crushers installed produced 90 cubic yards of crushed stone per week. Water was supplied by pipe from a small reservoir of the Riverton Consolidated Water Company when some of the springs and wells on the property were analyzed and condemned due to impurities.

The Army was still expanding their system of depots when an Armistice was suddenly announced on November 11, 1918 and the hostilities stopped. Following the Armistice, the installation was used as a receiving point for supplies returning from overseas.  Anywhere from 100 to 300 boxcars of war material were on sidings at all times waiting to be unloaded.  More than 2,000 such boxcars were unloaded in 1919, and material-handling equipment of the time consisted of two-wheel hand trucks and four-wheel trailers.

After WWI, the Army depots consisted of three types stateside: Reserve, Intermediate, and Area.   This installation was designated an Army Reserve Depot until 1927, then a General Depot until 1942 for the storage of quartermaster, signal, ordnance, engineering, and chemical wear materiel.  Originally called the Marsh Run Storage Depot by the locals - the official title being the U.S Quartermaster Interior Storage Depot, the site served as a receiving point for supplies returning from overseas.

November 20, 1934, the Secretary of War transferred to the control and jurisdiction of the Secretary of Agriculture, 0.9 acres, more or less, as a right of way for a highway across the reservation. Revocable lease to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania dated June 1936 of approximately 72 acres, for airport, for a period of one year, at an annual rental of $515.00.  Revocable permit to the Department of Agriculture, dated February 1937 - to use and occupy approximately 89,600 square feet of space at the New Cumberland General Depot for a period of five years for the use of its Plant Quarantine and Control Administrations. Revocable permit to the Works Progress Administration dated October 1936 - to use and occupy approximately 68,890 square feet of storage space, for the period ending June 30, 1937.

From 1918, the name of the depot changed several times from Quartermaster to Army Reserve Depot, then to General Reserve Depot, until the name returned to Quartermaster Depot in 1941.


Much of the WWI vintage arms and equipment in storage required maintenance.  After two decades of peace they were becoming obsolete and the Army functioned with much of the same depot and arsenal system. Finally in the summer of 1940, Congress provided appropriation for depot expansion and modernization after the fall of France to Nazi Germany.

This depot increased to 843 acres before the war to provide use of facilities at the adjacent State Airport. Storage facilities at New Cumberland more than doubled during 1941, providing 3.2 million square feet of covered space and 943,000 square feet of open storage. A railroad classification yard and a chemical warfare clothing impregnation plant were also constructed. The receiving and shipping operations of the depot were among the most active in the supply system with the primary mission that of a filler depot to several points of embarkation for overseas shipment.

By 1940, most of the original farm buildings were demolished except for a German bank barn used to stock animals that was renovated into the Officer's Club in May of 1942 and is currently named the Susquehanna Club, which is used for social functions by the installation and local community.

During WWII, the Supply departments were reorganized and placed under the Army Service Forces (ASF), established in 1942 to centralize all logistical operations, including the management of depots. At the outbreak of WWII, this depot was redesignated an Army Quartermaster Depot and renamed as Army Service Forces Depot from 1943-46.  It held the name of New Cumberland General Depot from 1946 to 1962.

The depot also served as a WWII reception center for newly inducted soldiers with more than 90 percent (some 500,000) of central Pennsylvania inductees processed through the New Cumberland site. Sets of post cards printed at that time depict their activities, which soldiers mailed home to their families.  These post cards can still be found at antique shops in the area.

Immediately after World War II, operations involved receiving and disposing of excess supplies and equipment, with the Quartermaster Supply Section as regional supply point. A prisoner of war camp of German and Italian prisoners was established here from November 1944 to January of 1946, with as many as 1,500 prisoners at one time. After hostilities ended, the camp became a Branch U.S. Disciplinary Barracks in June of 1945 and functioned as such until it was deactivated in 1959. In addition, in 1946, a War Reserves Branch (WRB) was established to store supplies and equipment.

Named the Army Service Forces Depot in 1943, the installation name changed to the New Cumberland General Depot in 1946. The nine-hole Riverview golf course still operating was also developed in April 1946.

In 1948, the depot became a separate installation under the Quartermaster General. During the Korean Conflict (1950-1953), activity increased and so did construction.  Four additional warehouses brought the total amount of covered storage space to 4,200,000 square feet.  These four buildings were known as the "Golden Mile" as they stretched a mile-long from end to end.

The Ordinance Supply Section was busy with the return of stocks from Europe for reclassification and issue. In May 1951, the aviation logistical support mission transferred from the Air Force to the Army Transportation Corps over the late 50's. Four depots were selected to provide depot supply and maintenance support for Army aircraft and equipment, including New Cumberland.

In addition to Army aircraft maintenance, missions on depot included a Signal Field Maintenance Shop servicing electronic components and the Machine Accounting Service Division processing data utilizing conventional electric accounting machines. A transceiver was installed linking the depot with inventory control points for the receipt of shipping instructions. Many support procedures were being mechanized..


During the 1960's many improvements were made to the facilities, the major project being the conversion of nearly 1 million square feet of warehouse space to controlled-humidity storage and the demolition of more than 70 buildings once used as disciplinary barracks. A million-dollar air maintenance hangar and shops were constructed and connected directly to the Harrisburg-York State Airport to support aircraft maintenance.

By this time the depot employed some 1,600 persons with an annual payroll in excess of $10 million, nearly 85,000 tons of supplies were received and more than 103,000 tons were shipped.  Within the 894 acres, there were 24 miles of railroad track with a railroad siding capacity of 700 cars and a 250-car capacity classification yard.

Army depots were placed under the control of the U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC) in August 1962, with control over all wholesale materiel operations pertaining to development, testing, production, and supply including operations of depots. The depot underwent another name change in 1967, from the New Cumberland General Depot to the New Cumberland Army Depot (NCAD), and it became a field installation of the U.S. Army Supply and Maintenance Command under AMC.

Marking the depot's 50th birthday in 1968, an extensive wildlife preservation program was initiated in the marsh areas of the depot.

In 1967 the depot undertook a new mission known as the SEA-VAN containerization program handling the receiving and shipping of less than carload amounts of supplies and equipment from supply depot to the soldiers in Europe.  It was redesignated the Consolidation and Containerization Division in 1970.

Modernization began in 1970's to include computers and automated systems. The Control Data Corporation CDC 3300, a 3rd generation computer, was installed allowing NCAD to become the third AMC depot to implement the Systemwide Project for Electronic Equipment at Depots (SPEED).  A dual processor CDC 3300 became operational in 1975, providing the same capability as three previous computers. A storage modernization system was installed in the "Golden Mile" that included an automated material handling system and a prototype automated bin retrieval system with storage banks and computer control equipment.

A Rotor Blade Inspection and Minor Repair Program to process all blades in the Army system was established in 1970 including a $2.2 million rotor blade overhaul facility and whirl tower. During the Vietnam War, the New Cumberland Army Depot primarily focused on overhaul/repair of the CH-47 Chinook helicopter, especially the rotor blades. The first Air Force C-5A "Galaxy" arrived at Olmstead State Airport in 1971 to test-load and air lift the CH-47 Helicopters.

On June 21, 1972, central Pennsylvania was hit by what has been called the most devastating disaster in central Pennsylvania history, Hurricane Agnes.  Although the depot suffered no major damage, surrounding floodwaters made it inaccessible by road and the depot was shut down for five days.  Depot flight-crews evacuated 3,500 people and delivered 150,000 pounds of emergency supplies while logging 179 missions.  Two years later, in September 1974, Tropical Storm Eloise again led to flooding in many areas.  Depot flight crews answered the call once more, logging 32 hours while flying 23 missions in support of flood victims.

The depot's mission was modified to include the Aviation Support Command. In 1974, AMC selected NCAD as the East Coast secondary item stockade and issue point as part of a revised distribution plan for secondary items. In 1976, the Defense Supply Agency designated NCAD as the principal distribution depot supporting U.S. Army units in Europe and the eastern continental United States under the Direct Support System. The primary mission during this period was supply and maintenance operations, especially the overhaul and modification of Chinook helicopters and helicopter components.

The Air Delivery mission was transferred to NCAD in 1973 to collocate the Air Delivery mission with the Aircraft Maintenance mission at New Cumberland Army Depot. The Air Line of Communications (ALOC) or air shipment for Class IX repair parts was initiated in the beginning of 1977. The Unit Material Fielding Point was also added to the depot mission by 1982.

The Army announced in the mid 70s the possible realignment of the Aircraft Depot Maintenance workload to Corpus Christi, Texas. The phase-out of air maintenance and the rotor blade program at New Cumberland was completed by October 1, 1985. At which time, the WWI era Warehouses 7 & 8 and Sheds 9 & 10 were demolished along with the air maintenance hangar and shops to make way for a new landmark on the installation.


During the 1980's, NCAD's mission was modified to function solely as a supply depot. Several structures on the western portion of NCAD were demolished to make room for the construction of a major state-of-the-art storage and distribution center.

Ground was broken in May 14, 1985 for the Eastern Distribution Center (EDC), sixty-eight years from day of the installation's first groundbreaking. Among those joining Depot Commander Col. William A. Henry, USA, in turning the first shovel of dirt were Governor Dick Thornburgh, US Senator John Heinz, US Representatives Bill Goodling and George Gekas. After 49 years, 19.7 acres of state owned land adjacent to NCAD were returned to federal ownership in July 1985 as Governor Dick Thornburgh turned over a parcel at Capital City Airport to the depot for its EDC project. The state received $11,600, the same amount it had paid when it originally purchased the land from Uncle Sam in 1936.

Construction of the Eastern Distribution Center began in November, 1986 after many months of preliminary site preparation work including installing water lines, building a chlorination plant and several access roads. By 1988, the building was under roof and the in house towlines, conveyors, and automatic guided vehicle systems, as well as the computer mainframes were being installed.  Construction of the EDC was completed on July 21, 1989 with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. In February 1991, the buttons were pushed to begin the material handling systems of the EDC.

The completion of the EDC was none too soon; in December 1989, depot workers provided support for "Operation Just Cause" in Panama. The depot went into overdrive as it supported "Operation Desert Shield," and the extra effort continued through "Operation Desert Storm." The Air Line of Communication Outloading operation was the first supply function to move into the EDC before it was fully operational.  The move came in October 1990 as a result of Desert Storm and 1,892 air pallets were built in that first month.

In April 1990 the Department of Defense directed that all the distribution depots of the military services and the Defense Logistics Agency be consolidated into a single, unified materiel distribution system to reduce overhead and costs and designated DLA to manage it. The consolidation began in October 1990 and was completed in 1992. The Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process, instituted in 1993, significantly affected the way the agency organized for its contract administration and supply distribution missions.  Officials merged, realigned, or closed several DLA primary-level field activities.

NCAD was deactivated in April of 1991 and assigned to the Defense Logistics Agency as Defense Distribution Region East (DDRE), a regional headquarters responsible for the management of eight depot operations in eastern United States. At the time of deactivation, NCAD had the distinction of being the oldest, continuously operated depot in the US Army.

On April 17, 1991, the Defense Depot Mechanicsburg, a DLA agency tenant located at the Naval Support Activities in Mechanicsburg, PA. and the New Cumberland Army Depot, located at New Cumberland, PA. were consolidated to form a single united, joint DLA command named Defense Distribution Depot Susquehanna, Pennsylvania (DDSP). With its two sites, DDSP became the biggest and busiest distribution depot in the Department of Defense.

In May 1997, the Defense Logistics Agency began taking steps to consolidate distribution management even further by eliminating multiple regional commands. After DLA performed an extensive analysis of potential site locations for one consolidated Headquarters, an announcement was made on September 16, 1997 selecting New Cumberland, Pa. as the site for the new Defense Distribution Center (DDC).  DDSP became the largest of the existing depots under the DDC command.

2000 to present

Plans were set in place to reconfigure operations at DDSP for an internal shift in workload from the west to east site starting October 1999 and targeted for completion by September 2005. The New Cumberland site was to be the hub of the mission's activity, focusing on the receipt, storage, and distribution of high-demand supply items, with the Mechanicsburg site to primarily store low-demand and inactive items, as well as the large construction material.

This initiative was the result of a projected decrease in workload of up to 40 percent from 1998 to 2005. Workload was projected to reduce considerably, and over 300 positions were eliminated just prior to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. As a result of Operation Noble Eagle and Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom, the receipt and shipment of material destined for overseas increased quickly.  The workforce worked mandatory overtime, and on holidays for over a year to keep up the pace as hiring eventually was increased.  Whereas, an average of 610 463L air pallets had been built in a month before 9/11, this number increased to an average of 2000-3000 air pallets a month in the years following. The Consolidation and Containerization Point operation, the transshipment of overseas material, increased to over 25% of the total workload.

The future planned military construction projects allowed for the reconfiguration of operations, as special services were transferred from the east site and stock was consolidated. The Rack Expansion of the EDC began in 1998 and opened for storage in mid 2000, while materiel continued to be in loaded from Mechanicsburg. In 2001, a WWI era warehouse was demolished to make way for a humidity controlled facility to consolidate and extend the shelf life of Air Drop Equipment. In 2002, ground was broken for a new warehouse to consolidate the medical mission into one building at New Cumberland. The second largest building at New Cumberland, completed in 2007, contains material handling equipment used to consolidate and process fast moving clothing and textiles products under one roof.  This new general purpose, bulk warehouse is a key building block in DDSP's depot modernization program. The program will replace six World War I era warehouses with three state-of-the-art facilities.

On November 1, 2007 the Installation Services' functions transferred in their entirety from DDSP to the DLA Enterprise Support (DES) Activity currently located on the New Cumberland installation. DES was established to centralize support functions under one umbrella within DLA and to take the burden of the installation support functions away from the mission commanders.

Under the 2005 Defense Base Closure and Realignment  or BRAC - Defense Logistics was mandated to reorganize its infrastructure to more efficiently and effectively supports its forces, increase operational readiness and facilitate new ways of doing business. As a result, two BRAC Warehouses are projected to be operational in 2011 to provide a combination of 584 thousand square feet of floor space enlarging the total covered storage space to 9.6 million sq ft.

On June 30, 2010 DDSP was renamed DLA Distribution Susquehanna, Pa as part of the agency's unified "We are DLA" campaign. The Defense Distribution Center was renamed DLA Distribution and DES was renamed DLA Installation Support at Susquehanna. The New Cumberland installation's official name is the Defense Distribution Center Susquehanna with the DLA Distribution Susquehanna, Pa as the host command.

DLA Distribution's mission is to manage material distribution functions for Department of Defense customers, except those for fuels and munitions. It runs as a business on capital provided by direct appropriation.  Simply put, the DLA Distribution and its depots in the US and around the world are responsible for the receipt, storage, and issue of supplies.

The success we've come to enjoy, and that our customers have come to expect, is based on a combination of factors.... employee expertise and dedication, dependability, trust and a spirit of cooperation. These, coupled with our facilities and modern technologies, have enabled DLA Distribution Susquehanna, Pa. to provide first class support for many, many years. But the most important factor has to be our team members, the men and women who give their all, all the time. When the end result is support of our military forces, no less than a total effort can be acceptable.



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