Pueblo Army Depot 1962
The History of the Pueblo Depot
Construction of the Pueblo Ordnance Depot (POD) started February 1942, and was fully operational by the end of that summer. Originally intended for the storage and supply of military equipment, the U.S. Army quickly realized the potential of the depot and the possibility for future missions.
From the end of World War II and into the 1950s, facilities were expanded and constructed to continue to support the Korean War. Maintenance for missiles, artillery, fire control, optical equipment, ammunition renovation and demilitarization were some of the major missions. The depot was one of the largest employers in the region with approximately 8,000 employees. In 1952, the first mustard agent-filled munitions were shipped for storage at the depot.
In 1962, the depot became Pueblo Army Depot (PAD). In this decade and into the 1970s, the depot’s primary mission was missile systems repair and maintenance. The missile maintenance mission, with the exception of Pershing missile maintenance, was transferred to Letterkenny Army Depot, Pennsylvania, in 1974. The miles of warehouse space once stored more than $75 million of propaganda war art liberated by Allied troops during World War II and 160,000 Army historic collectibles and American Soldier art from the Republic of South Vietnam. In 1976, Pueblo was given depot “activity” status and assigned to Tooele Army Depot Complex, Utah.
In December 1987, the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics entered into the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. Pueblo Depot Activity was assigned the disassembly and elimination task, completing the INF and Pershing mission with distinction in May 1991. The depot was realigned under the Base Realignment and Closure Act in 1988, which ushered in the mission of the safe, secure storage and eventual demilitarization of the chemical weapons stockpile and environmental remediation.
The depot was in the forefront of supporting Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, shipping a large portion of the contingency stocks, in addition to ammunition and supplies, to Southwest Asia.
During 1994, the depot shipped approximately 80,000 tons of ammunition and supplies to other depots to complete its downsizing mission. The next year, the depot’s name changed to Pueblo Chemical Depot (PCD), reflecting its last mission.
In 1997, the United States ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention, an international treaty prohibiting development and use of chemical weapons and mandating chemical weapon destruction.
In 2002, neutralization followed by biotreatment was selected to destroy the more than 780,000 mustard-filled munitions stored at the depot. In 2004, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP). Construction was completed in 2012, followed by extensive testing of all systems. On September 7, 2016, processing began at the PCAPP Main Plant.
The Explosive Destruction System (EDS) augmented the pilot plant to destroy a number of problematic munitions that could not be easily destroyed by the main plant’s automated equipment. During two campaigns from March 2015 to December 2018, the EDS eliminated 951 items resulting in 3.82 tons of mustard agent being reported as destroyed to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
The Program Executive Office, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives, or PEO ACWA, has purchased and is awaiting shipment of Static Detonation Chambers (SDCs), to aid in the destruction of the chemical weapons stockpile at PCAPP. The heat produced in this electrically heated containment vessel detonates the munition to destroy the agent and munitions components. The main plant and SDCs will work to destroy the remaining stockpile by the December 2023 treaty deadline
For more information, visit the Pueblo Chemical Depot Facebook page or https://www.cma.army.mil/PCD.