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Savanna Army Depot: Throughout the Years

Savanna Army Depot: Throughout the Years

before closing in 2000 spanha Ellen White was home to one of the largest munition depots in the country it was during World War two that I began to bloom and help AIDS soldiers and civilians both on the battlefield and all made up of 13,000 62 acres the Savannah Army Depot played a big role in the war effort mainly by manufacturing munitions the property was purchased by the US Army in 1917 as a test facility and the making of artillery shells and bombs began in the 1930s the Depot has processed handled and stored munitions explosives and industrial chemicals since the operation started now the oldest Depot in the history of industrial operations command the Savannah Army Depot is open because the Rock Island Arsenal needed a place to test the weapons they produced depot employees had to be taught how to properly assemble disassemble and handle missiles bombs and other munitions a majority of the munitions shot during the artillery testing were blanks because the mission was simply to test-fire the guns after years of testing other Depot's weapons the testing facility transformed into a weapons depot in 1921 with the growth of the Depot and the need for jobs employment jumped to considerable amount this caused nearby towns to flourish and begin to expand 7,000 people and they was working three shifts and they come from the coconut bent Wisconsin's yelled burped black Bill Clinton and some I would be there they be from jo'burg and they'd be so early governor to be dedicated to theatrical things as World War two progressed the use of igloos increased hey those are between 1,000 and 2,000 square feet of storage space reinforced Ababwa steel unsecured with a sturdy fort under halos were then covered with dirt in order to camouflage them from aerial surveillance it was in 1948 the one of the 407 igloos at the Savannah Army Depot explode leaving behind a 100 feet wide by 50 feet deep crater which is still visible today we did fight part of the doors open that we did after World War two employment and production slowly declined in the 1950s there was an average of 2,000 employees but by the 1960s the number decreased to 1,000 eventually by 1995 the number had dwindled to a mere 450 workers the workers of the Depot all had unique jobs some of which had jobs that allow them to see the country certain individuals even got to ride trains with the munitions to other arsenals around the country in 1977 the government considered closing the depot but because of the local workers who joined together and lobbied Washington DC the Savannah Army Depot remained open a main addition to the Savannah Army Depot was the ammunition inspector school it was the only school of its kind in the United States the school trained men who inspected and supervised the storage and transportation of most of the ammunition that was held in reserve at storage points around the world the usual students in the school worse million employees but occasionally some uniforms were sprinkled in the classrooms of instructors the United States they came in for training about ammunition and different aspects that work that were taught in school and there were classes continually and then women the occasional United States servicemen was sent here to study a specific problem the newest expansion that the school had was the installation of the guided missile program aside from all of the work that was done the Savannah Army Depot there were also many forms of entertainment for the workers and their families this included organized sports games such as baseball basketball and wrestling there was also swimming pool open to families and workers a bowling alley was also installed in the late 1960s fire-safety played a big part in the Savannah Army Depot for over 80 years there has been a fire program and they had a fire school that trained fire fighters both male and female women played a big part in the fire program mostly during the Second World War you can see an advance in technology over the years especially in the changes in the fire truck each decade other examples is the aerial ladder truck because it was the first in the area live training also played a large part in the program but in the 1990s the live-fire training phased out the Savannah Army Depot had been without a small arms firing range since around the mid-1980s the construction of the range was finished in the spring of 1994 and was located in the grove of evergreen trees behind the fire station on May 14 1996 a historical marker was placed near the welcome center it describes the role the Depot played throughout its history today it is dedicated to the men and women who have worked and served at the Savannah Army Depot finally the dreaded day came in March of 2000 the Depot had officially stopped production and shut down many people were laid off and searching for new jobs the closing had a big effect on the neighboring towns such as Savannah and Hanover close there was devastation for all the local community around us because they didn't move especially they the school everything like – Utah did affect all of us Hanover Savannah of Thompson all Carolina we had people from all over that worked there was a big because of the fall of Russia in December of 1991 President George Bush and President Clinton oversaw production of the US military as the Cold War had ended and it was no longer needed the Savannah Army Depot was one of these cuts to reduce US defense overhead after the closing the Illinois Department of Natural Resources bought the land and found that it was home to 46 thunde and endangered plants and animals today the depot and its buildings remain in their original positions as a reminder of what was once the center of military development of the area throughout the years the Savannah Army Depot has played a big part in Illinois history while there was by creating ammunition for soldiers in the war or by providing jobs for thousands of local residents the Savannah Army Depot impacted individuals lives in many ways the area's during World War Two was its turning point where expansion started to begin and more and more good things came out it was because of the Savannah Army Depot that the lives of individuals were changed memories were made and everlasting bonds were created for the employment benefits and when I gave them the paperwork there yet well I don't I don't worry very well would you please fill out those papers for me and that's how we met the Savannah Army Depot may have closed in 2000 but the impact it had on the lives of its workers will last forever

Reader Comments

  1. My dad went to ammunition inspector school back in the early 60's and we lived in Hanover, IL Thanks for this documentary.

  2. I was stationed at SAD in the 516th MP Co from '71 to '72. Pictures of the underground magazines brought back some memories. I remember that we called them "igloos".

  3. Thank you for doing this documentary. My mom worked as a firefighter (driver) during WW II and got fired for driving a firetruck into a ditch because she was angry with her boss. She later worked at the Depot (which she always called "the ordinance depot") and ran a small restaurant in town where she claimed to have met Bob Hope.
    In the fall of 1942, she met my father (an army enlistee from Kansas) at a USO function and married him 4 weeks later just before he shipped out to the south Pacific.

    I'm sure there are hundreds of similar stories about how the Depot shaped peoples' lives.

  4. Great job!  I was tasked by Col (then Major) Tirone to assist with the "End of an Era" book, and recognized the fire department pages you used. Imagine what a gold mine all of the Commander's newspaper scrap books, dating back to 1918, were to an amateur historian. I experienced a good few years there until they tossed us out, and continued my career on the outside. Thanks for bringing to mind old friends and comrades – Mike Krizsanitz, Firefighter EMT, Savanna Army Depot 1998-2000

  5. Thank you for this great documentary! I saw a picture of my father Warren Uecker at about your 5 minute mark on the video. He was one of the fireman there during WWII. Thanks to my brother and neice for finding this and alerting the eest of the Uecker family. We loved our Dad/ Grandfather!!!!

  6. Well done Ashley and Austin!  -Joe Tirone, COL, U.S. Army, Retired, Last Commander of Savanna Army Depot, 1998-2000

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