By By Tiffany Nabors, The BayonetMay 20, 2010
The staff at the Army National Guard Warrior Training Center unveiled a new headquarters building during a ribbon cutting ceremony Monday at Camp Butler.
Battalion Commander LTC Robert Harris said the new facility is an example of the unit's expansion on the Harmony Church site, which was acquired in 2003.
"This is a great day for the Army National Guard, and more specifically the Warrior Training Center," Harris said. "It's a symbol of our growth and maturity."
The unit dates back to 1994, when the Army National Guard Bureau created the Pre-Ranger Course to increase the Ranger School success rate for ARNG Soldiers. Over the years, the unit has taken on other responsibilities and currently conducts Pre-Ranger, Combatives, Air Assault, Pathfinder, Pre-Master Gunner and Bradley Crew Evaluator courses.
Battalion deputy commander SGM(R) Tom Siter said the unit's accommodations have drastically improved over the years.
"When we first moved out here, it was a dilapidated motor pool that was (being) used for storage," he said. "At that time, the parking lot had grass growing through it, and it was really in a bad state."
But the unit has slowly gained new facilities and capabilities, with training increasing from 200 to 6,000 Soldiers each year, Siter said.
COL Steven Bapp, special assistant to the commanding general for the Army National Guard, called the latest addition a state-of-the art, modern facility that will support their mission.
"In our last building, we had three and four people occupying one office," Siter said. "It was so congested and tight, it was affecting the way we were conducting day-to-day business. This is really going to enhance our productivity."