The Defense Electronics Supply Center (DESC) and
Gentile Air Force Base
In June 1993 the Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission recommended closing Gentile Air Force Station and moving the Defense Electronics Supply Center from Kettering to suburban Columbus. Although Kettering officials lobbied to save the base and the 2,100 jobs affected, the recommend- ation was eventually approved. DESC formally closed on 5-23-96. The city of Kettering plans to convert the site into a business park.
DESC/GENTILE HISTORY 1845: John Stoneberger builds a house along Wilmington Pike that will laterbecome the Gentile commander's residence.
1920s: Aviation business owner Al Johnson operates an airfield on site. Johnson Flying Service and Johnson Airplane and Supply Co.later moves to Dayton Municipal Airport in Vandalia.
1943: Occupying 22 buildings in downtown Dayton and outlets around the United States, the Army Signal Corps spends $3 million to build centralized depot.
1944: New depot is finished in August, dedicated in October.
1944-45: More than 200 Italian soldiers help unload supplies into the warehouses. The soldiers had been held as British prisoners of war. They were given the choice of remaining in prison camps or working at installations.
1945: Signal Corps functions merges with Army Air Force; installation designated 862nd Army Air Force Specialized Depot.
1947: Air Force becomes a separate military service. Gentile becomes an AirForce depot.
1951: Gentile Air Force Depot is named in honor of World War II flying ace Maj. Don S. Gentile of Piqua after his death on a training flight.
1955: Air Force Logistics Command separates installations and organizations. Depot operation becomes Dayton Air Force Depot and installationbecomes Gentile Air Force Station.
1962: Defense Electronics Supply Center is established on Jan. 1 as a unit of the Defense Supply Agency. The reorganization is an effort to consolidate military purchasing operations. The Air Force continues to own Gentile station.
1977: Defense Supply Agency becomes Defense Logistics Agency on Jan. 1. Also this year, the Pentagon announces a study of the depot operation that might eliminate 550 jobs at DESC.
1979: DESC's warehousing operations end. About 350 positions are eliminated, but DESC softens the blow by retraining warehouse workers for other jobs.
1993: In a move that jolts Kettering and the Dayton area, the Defense Department on March 12 recommends moving DESC to the Defense Construction Supply Center Columbus and closing Gentile installation as part of its report to the 1993 Base Closing and Realignment Commission.
1993: Base closing commission on May 21 agrees to consider moving the Columbus center to Gentile as an alternative to moving DESC. DESC backers say they believe financial data favors this option.
1993: Base closing panel on June 27 votes unanimously to move DESC and close Gentile.
1993: Base closing list -which must be approved or rejected in entirety -wins final approval from Congress on Sept. 20.
1996: DESC formally closes on May 23, 1996.
Sources: DDN 6-28-93 "DESC move approved"
DDN 6-29-93 "Officials seek post-DESC plan"
DDN 12-5-93 "DESC history"
DDN 6-1-95 "DESC gets last command"
DDN 2-18-96 "DESC cleanup starts"
DDN 5-23-96 "Ceremony to close DESC"