• Soldiers with the 831st Iowa National Guard Engineering Company march during the last stretch of a 10-mile flag detail in Middletown, Iowa. The Soldiers helped dedicate the opening of the Middletown Armed Forces Reserve Center, Oct. 18.

    Marching with flag

    Soldiers with the 831st Iowa National Guard Engineering Company march during the last stretch of a 10-mile flag detail in Middletown, Iowa. The Soldiers helped dedicate the opening of the Middletown Armed Forces Reserve Center, Oct. 18.

  • Soldiers raised the American flag during a dedication ceremony Oct. 18 at the Middletown Armed Forces Reserve Center.

    Flag raising

    Soldiers raised the American flag during a dedication ceremony Oct. 18 at the Middletown Armed Forces Reserve Center.

MIDDLETOWN, Iowa -- Soldiers and the local community gave the new facilities housing the local National Guard and Army Reserves units, rave reviews.

A dedication ceremony and open house was held Oct. 18 for the Middletown Armed Forces Reserve Center and Field Maintenance Shop No. 15. The new center derived from the Base Realignment and Closure Commission's decision in 2005 to combine the local Army Reserves and National Guard facilities into one location.

Land inside the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant became that new location.

The building is home to the 831st Engineer Company and the 389th Engineer Company. The 389th currently has 85 members deployed to Iraq, where it has been since April.

Soldiers began the ceremony earlier in the day with a flag-lowering ceremony at the Burlington Armory, in Burlington, Iowa, followed by a 10-mile road march of the U.S. flag and company guidon to the reserve center.

Among the speakers at the event was U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa.

"Everyone here in Middletown should be very proud of this new facility. It represents our state's and our nation's commitment to our National Guard and Reserve Soldiers, and it is an investment in the future of Middletown," he said.

Brig. Gen. Janet Phipps, assistant adjutant general for the Iowa National Guard, spoke of the spirit of engineers in Southeast Iowa.

Col. Scott Ayers, Iowa National Guard director of installation management, applauded the various contractors and sub-contractors who finished the project that normally takes 18-to-24 months, in 15 months.

After the ceremony, guests and dignitaries where invited to tour the facilities during an open house.

Among those in attendance for IAAP included plant commander, Lt. Col. Michael Bruens and civilian executive assistant Jim Nelson.

Both said they hope IAAP employees will also be able to use the new facilities.

"At this time we have not entered into any formal discussions or agreements on use of the AFRC facilities," said Nelson. "There may be opportunities to explore such as utilizing the auditorium for Change of Command ceremony in case of bad weather, use of space for our Emergency Ops Center (EOC), use of fitness center, use of indoor firing range for qualifying.

"Conversely, we have an (Memorandum of Agreement) with the Army Reserve in place that allows them to use the IAAAP for training events. An agreement with the Iowa National Guard may also be formalized in the future."

Iowa AAP produces large caliber munitions including 120 mm tank rounds and 155 mm artillery rounds.

Page last updated Mon October 24th, 2011 at 13:03