By Staff Sgt. Alyn-Michael MacleodJune 17, 2010
MIDDLETOWN, CT (June 12, 2010) - The community of Middletown received a special gift as simple shovels-full of dirt represented hope and a new beginning at the ground-breaking ceremony for the Middletown Armed Forces Reserve Center.
The event was hosted by Maj. Gen. William Monk III, commanding general of the Army Reserve's 99th Regional Support Command, headquartered at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.
Guest speakers U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman, U.S. senator for Connecticut, U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, representing the Third District of Connecticut, Governor M. Jodi Rell, governor of Connecticut and Mayor Sebastian Giuliano, mayor of Middletown were joined by local military and civic leaders.
"BRAC (Base Closure and Realignment Commission) 2005 designated 25 new construction projects in the northeast that will get our Soldiers out of these worn-out centers and maintenance shops and give them the very best possible facilities in which to prepare for missions at home and abroad." said Monk in front of a standing-room-only crowd.
"Today's ground-breaking ceremony marks the beginning of one of these projects - so it is very much a special occasion, and a great day for the Army," he added.
The $54-million, 168,000-square-foot AFRC, along with its accompanying 36,000-square-foot Joint Vehicle Maintenance Shop and 4,000-square-foot unheated storage building, is part of construction undertaken as a direct result of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission's recommendations made in 2005.
"This is a great project in every way," said Lieberman. "In the spirit of cooperation we are here and it is where the journey ends that matters. It ends in the right place with an extraordinary building and that is going to go up right here."
"People here in Connecticut and Connecticut - based Guard and Reserve units and those of course in our country have given extraordinary service since the beginning of the war on terrorism after we were attacked on 9/11," said Lieberman. "These are Citizen- Soldiers ..... who have given unprecedented service, brought their special skills and put their lives on the line in combat zones throughout the world."
Liberman went on to say that the Middletown AFRC would be a state-of-the-art training facility where Connecticut and the surrounding areas could send those who were patriots, those who have "chosen to serve their country at their risk so we can enjoy the blessings of freedom."
The AFRC is scheduled to be home to Soldiers from the Army Reserve's 2200th Military Intelligence Detachment, 439th Quartermaster Company, 395th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 344th Military Police Company and 617th Quartermaster Detachment, as well as the Connecticut National Guard's 143rd Area Support Group, 118th Medical Battalion, 141st Medical Company, Bravo and Delta Companies, 1st Battalion, 102nd Infantry, and the Statewide Human Resources Office.
"Consolidating these units here will allow us to close the older and less-efficient Army Reserve Centers in Middletown, New Haven and Milford, and the Connecticut National Guard readiness centers in Manchester and Newington," said Monk "This, in turn, will save us significant sustainment and maintenance dollars, and allow us to instead use those scarce funds for other urgently needed training, equipment and facility requirements."
"More than simply a money-saving proposition, stationing Army Reserve and Army National Guard units together strengthens them as units," Monk expounded.
"It will reinforce the bonds that have been forged in eight years of war. It will give these Soldiers the opportunity to work and train together, to leverage their various capabilities, and it will perpetuate the one-team-one-fight service philosophy that is the very foundation of our seamless multi-component operations in Iraq and Afghanistan."
Special Guest included Ms. Lois Santiago, representing U.S. Senator Chris Dodd; Ms. Stephanie Podwell, representing U.S. Congressman Christopher Murphy; Mr. Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut attorney general; Ms. Nancy Wyman, Connecticut state comptroller; Mr. Paul Doyle, Connecticut state senator; Mr. Joseph Serra, Connecticut state representative; Mr. Matt Lesser, Connecticut state representative; Maj. Gen. Thad Martin, Adjutant General of the State of Connecticut; Mr. Ronald E. Weil Sr and Mr. Carl Venditto, Army Reserve ambassadors; Col. Gerald Lukowski, Construction Facilities Management Officer for the Connecticut Army National Guard; Col. Keith Landry, commander, US Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District, Mr. Mike Kolakowski, president, KBE Building Corporation; Mr. Simon Etzel, senior VP, KBE Building Corporation; Mr. Peter DeRita Sr., Mr. Peter DeRita Jr., and Mr. Greg DeRita , DeRita Construction Company.
The dignitaries highlighted the benefits of the AFRC to local community and the Soldiers of the region.
"Here men and women in uniform will have access to training and resources that they need to prepare them in [their] effort serve this nation to the best of their ability," said DeLauro. "We owe them this facility for what they give in return."
The project was designed by S E A Consultants of Cambridge, Massachusetts, while construction is being handled by KBE Building Corporation of Farmington and DeRita Construction Company of Middletown. Design Management was provided by the Louisville District of the Corps of Engineers (COE), while the New England District of the COE is conducting the construction management.
"This complex will serve the needs of the U.S. Army Reserve, the Connecticut National Guard, and will provide a boost to the Middletown economy," explained DeLauro.
The new ARC is scheduled to be ready for occupancy in June 2011.
"The dirt with which we will shortly fill our shovels represents our commitment to the future of our Soldiers, and the future of our families, friends and nation. It represents the culmination of efforts by everyone here today," Monk concluded.