By Mr. Jeff Crawley (IMCOM)April 21, 2011
FORT SILL, Okla.-- Fort Sill, Oklahoma Army Reserve and National Guard, and state leaders dedicated the Fort Sill Armed Forces Reserve Center here Friday, consolidating the battle assembly sites of 13 Reserve and Guard units.
Between 300 and 400 Reserve and National Guard Soldiers will use the facility on any given weekend.
The $45 million center includes four main buildings, computer classrooms, a 125,000-square-foot training center, and a 48,000-square-foot heated storage facility on the 28-acre tract. One of its unique features is an underground thermal springs heating plant.
"We're here today, not in honor of the building, but in honor of the men and women who serve our great nation," said Maj. Gen. Myles Deering, Oklahoma ANG adjutant general, and one of the dignitaries who spoke at the ceremony, "in honor of the men and women who deserve our very best as a nation because day in and day out they answer the call."
The building purposely was not named after an individual, said speaker retired Maj. Gen. James Sholar, Army Reserve ambassador.
"This building will be dedicated in memory of all of those great Soldiers, irrespective of component, who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the last decade of fighting," Sholar said.
During the 25-minute ceremony on a blustery day, Sholar, Deering, Maj. Gen. David Halverson, Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill commanding general; Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin; Col. Raymond Lacey, Fort Sill Garrison commander; Col. William Soderberg, 95th Training Division (Initial Entry Training) commander; and Col. Robert Johnson, 63rd Regional Support Command, cut the ribbon to open the center.
Fallin said the state's Reserve and National Guard Soldiers deserved a modern training facility, and noted many of Oklahoma's armories are more than 70 years old.
The facility will not only allow for the best training, but also help recruit and retain citizen-Soldiers, she said. By consolidating training sites into one facility, the state will save money.
Halverson said the center is a reflection of the seamlessness among the Reserve, National Guard and active-duty Army.
"Our committment at Fort Sill is to create the best training environment and support that you all need so you're ready to answer the nation's call, just like you've always done," Halverson said.
The senior occupant of the building will be the Army Reserve headquarters of the 95th Training Division (IET), Soderberg said. The unit has been at the center for about one month and formerly drilled in Oklahoma City.
The new facility will allow the Reserve and National Guard to better train and perform unit administrative and logistics functions in preparation for wartime missions as well as integrate its missions with the active-duty component, said Soderberg, whose last day of command was Saturday.
The facility includes classrooms, storage facilities, ample parking and the best workout and locker room facilities Soderberg has ever seen, he said.
"It's a great facility, and all the Soldiers here who use it will prosper," Soderberg said. "All the training and family support functions of Fort Sill will be available to our Soldiers as well."