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Ground Broken For New Readiness Center

Reported: Apr. 28, 2014 11:25 PM EDT
Updated: Apr. 29, 2014 9:10 AM EDT
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WILLIAMSON, W.Va. (Stefano DiPietrantonio) -- Within the coming year, a dream of many people in Logan and Mingo counties finally becomes a reality for the West Virginia National Guard.

It seems like it took forever to get off the ground, 18 years to be exact, to get the project out of the design and planning stages, to the actual turning of dirt Monday afternoon.

The new state-of-the-art facilit will give the Guard here in West Virginia a beautiful, updated, modern facility, something it has not had since the 1940s.

"1 . . . 2 . . . 3!," exclaimed West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, first lady Joanne Tomblin, and a host of other dignitaries connected to the project.

Even as these ceremonial first shovels of dirt were turned over, the real thing was taking place. Backhoes were already moving much more in the background, putting an 18-year-old dream in motion.

"Anything that is this good for the state, for the community, you can't stop it," said Brig. Gen. David Buckale of the West Virginia National Guard. "Just another great opportunity for the state, the West Virginia Army National Guard, to move our military forward."

Retired Maj. Gen. Allen Tackett said the project has been a long time coming.

"I really thought we were going to build it around 2006," Tackett said.

Tackett added the brand new, 47,000-square-foot facility at the wood products industrial park will not only serve as an operations center for the Guard, but also will be a site where college courses will be taught and public events will be held.

The Guard's old armories were "beyond" retirement.

"Just completely outdated with no modern technology," Tackett said. "The things that we're building today, and these armories, modern technology that puts us at the tip of the spear of everything that's going on, all across the world, not only just in the state, but across the world."

The Guard will train and prepare for disasters.

Congressman Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., who represents the 3rd District, helped secure the $16 million needed to push the project forward. He said the Guard has "fought too many wars, on too many fronts, on foreign soil and their own back yard."

Tackett said the new facility is going to open up this area for more development and "do good things for Southern West Virginia."

The Logan-Mingo Readiness Center is expected to be completed by the fall 2015.



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