GARDONE VAL TROMPIA, Italy –
Introduced during the Reagan era and broadly in use by around 1990, the M9 Beretta was the standard sidearm for the Army, Navy and Air Force for over 30 years. Nearly every Soldier who served during the Gulf War up until today has seen, held or fired the M9 Beretta.
The M9 Beretta is a legendary pistol from a legendary company – one that members of the 405th Army Field Support Brigade’s Logistics Readiness Center Italy were privileged to visit recently.
Employees from LRC Italy – joined by members of Southern European Task Force-Africa and U.S. Army Garrison Italy – toured the Beretta firearms factory and headquarters in Gardone Val Trompia to appreciate the company’s rich history while learning about its current manufacturing techniques, research and development, and quality control procedures.
The professional development site visit to the Beretta factory included a guided tour of the Beretta family’s private weapons collection, a tour of the manufacturing and assembly lines, and the customization facilities.
During the visit senior staff members from the Beretta factory, better known as Fabbrica D’Army Pietro Beretta S.p.A., provided overviews of the various Beretta arms as well as a brief history of the legendary Italian gun manufacturer. The LRC Italy employees were also shown some of Beretta’s newest releases, and they visited the engraving department, wood shop and component testing facilities.
It really ties back to Beretta’s history, and the history Beretta has with the U.S. Army, said Keli’i Bright, LRC Italy director.
“For me, it was very interesting – the way they can do mass production as well as extreme customization,” Bright said. “The one etching that we were privileged to observe, the guy was already in his ninth week of etching that weapon – full time, 40 hours a week.”
“It’s not unusual for them to spend up to 500 hours just customizing the etching on a weapon,” said Bright. “That’s why they have these $100,000 shotguns.”
LRC Italy conducts professional development site visits and engagements as often as possible and whenever feasible. Last October, LRC Italy visited the Maserati headquarters in Modena, Italy.
Bright said it’s good to get out of the office with the team to help foster esprit de corps while making a concerted effort to understand and appreciate host nation culture. And being professional logisticians, Bright and his team go to these billion dollar manufacturing companies looking for best practices and ways to improve their sustainment and logistical support operations.
“If we can learn something more about logistics and operations from the very best in the business, that’s great for us,” said Bright.
When we went there, it wasn’t just LRC Italy.” said Bright, adding that they brought some of their teammates from USAG Italy as well as SETAF-AF G4 logistics and members of SETAF-AF deputy chief of staff for engineering.
To round out their site visit to Beretta and with donated funds, Bright and his team from LRC Italy presented a plaque to the Beretta team as a token of appreciation and respect. The U.S. Army plaque they donated now hangs proudly among dozens of similar plaques from Italian military and police units who have also visited the Beretta factory over the years.
Beretta’s output is approximately 1,500 weapons a day and covers just about the entire range of portable weapons: over-and-under and side-by-side rifles for hunting and competition in different calibers and finish grades, semiautomatic rifles and carabines, express double rifles, semiautomatic pistols from .22 short to .45 automatic calibers, and assault rifles. An estimated 90 percent of Beretta’s production consists of sporting firearms, with more than 75 percent of its arms being exported to about 100 countries.
LRC Italy is one of seven LRCs under the command and control of the 405th Army Field Support Brigade. LRCs execute installation logistics support and services to include supply, maintenance, and transportation as well as clothing issue facility operations, hazardous material management, personal property and household goods, passenger travel, non-tactical vehicle and garrison equipment management, and property book operations. When it comes to providing day-to-day installation services, LRC Italy directs, manages and coordinates a variety of operations and activities in support of U.S. Army Garrison Italy.
LRC Italy reports to the 405th AFSB, which is assigned to U.S. Army Sustainment Command and under the operational control of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, U.S. Army Europe and Africa. The brigade is headquartered in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and provides materiel enterprise support to U.S. Forces throughout Europe and Africa – providing theater sustainment logistics; synchronizing acquisition, logistics and technology; and leveraging U.S. Army Materiel Command’s materiel enterprise to support joint forces. For more information on the 405th AFSB, visit the official website at www.afsbeurope.army.mil and the official Facebook site at www.facebook.com/405thAFSB.