What happens when a military vehicle goes out of commission? It likely ends up at the Sierra Army Depot, a military equipment storage facility located in Herlong, Calif. The massive 36,000-acre site houses thousands of tanks, trucks, and other combat vehicles. The facility’s officials want it known that the patch of land is not a military junkyard.
In a YouTube video from 2014, viewers are given a firsthand look at the massive military depot where an endless stream of combat vehicles are not only stored, but also offered a second life.
Check out the video below:
Don Olson, Deputy Commander at the depot, stresses that the purpose of the facility is to fix up military vehicles and even uniforms and other supplies that have seen combat. More than $1 billion worth of clothing has been shipped to the facility, along with 26,000 vehicles.
“If it can still shoot, roll, or otherwise function, Don and his team take it into inventory, fix it up and ship it right back out to troops,” the video’s presenter explains.
“If we did not do this, the army would be buying all this stuff again. And they’re not having to do that now,” Olson explains.
Sierra Army Depot’s mission is simple: save taxpayer dollars. Olson stresses that it is their job to fix, reuse, or otherwise repurpose anything that comes through their door.
“Anything that’s in the army’s supply system, we can receive it here,” Olson says.
Not only does Olson work with the military, but he and his team have also branched out and collaborated directly with manufacturers. This allows the facility to remanufacture items like combat gear that otherwise might have been thrown away after one use.
“We got with the manufacturer and said, ‘look, can we do something about this?’ Can we make it usable again for the soldier?'” Olson explained in referencing pieces of body armor.
The big stuff, including M1 tanks, Humvees, transport trucks, trailers, and other vehicles see more potential uses. Some will be sold to allied forces. Others may be repurposed for police or civilian work. A good portion of usable equipment, like the Army’s water purification trailers, can even be valuable in helping with natural disasters.
“It’s all about trying to get some value out of something,” Olson says.