FORT SILL, Oklahoma (Jan. 28, 2021) -- When 1st Battalion, 22nd Field Artillery was reactivated here in October the unit was temporarily housed in Fritz Hall to perform its basic combat training mission.
Its future facility Fox Hall was being extensively renovated as part of the 434th Field Artillery Brigade’s upgrade of BCT facilities.
On Jan. 21, post and community leaders, cadre, families, and friends watched as Lt. Col. Robin VanDeusen, 1-22nd FA commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmy Alexander cut a ribbon to reopen Fox Hall as their unit’s new headquarters.
“It’s great. It’s very well refurbished,” VanDeusen said. “Having the proper facilities to train and work in will allow us to focus on taking care of the trainees.”
The D Battery of trainees is already in its new digs having checked in Jan. 11 after holiday block leave, VanDeusen said. E Battery began Jan. 25.
Fox Hall, Bldg. 6007 Rothwell St., is a 383,000 square-foot facility that can house 1,200 trainees, said Capt. James Tartaglia, 1-22nd FA executive officer.
The renovation included expansion of the battalion administrative area, heating and cooling system upgrades, asbestos removal, and exterior facade repair.
The BCT training facilities or “starships,” referring to their spaceship-like floorplans, can house one combat training battalion with its five training batteries, said Tartaglia. Each starship features open bay barracks, classrooms, battery headquarters, supply and arms rooms, and battalion headquarters.
In his speech, VanDeusen said Fox Hall was previously occupied by 1st Battalion, 79th Field Artillery, but it moved out in December 2018.
The commander said he walked through Fox Hall several times during the renovation process last year. “It has been amazing to watch a transformation from a mass of exposed wires and pipes into a newly renovated battalion.”
Cadre began to occupy the battalion headquarters toward the end of November and early December, VanDeusen said.
In addition to BCT, 1-22nd FA is responsible for the English as a Second Language virtual training team mission. The ESL battery was expected to stand up this week, VanDeusen said.
VanDeusen also spoke about Fox Hall’s namesake, forward observer 1st Lt. John Fox, World War II Medal of Honor recipient.
Col. Daniel Blackmon, 434th FA Brigade commander, said Fox Hall is now a modern facility. The renovated starships did away with their dining facilities. They also increased capacity for classrooms and instruction, as well as for battalion residence programs like the Training and Doctrine Command Optimization of Medical Services, or TOMS.
When 1-22nd FA was reactivated it became the fifth basic training battalion in the 434th FA Brigade, said Blackmon at the reactivation ceremony. It increased the basic training capacity from about 17,000 to about 22,000 trainees per year.