FORT DETRICK, Md. - The new Armed Forces Reserve Center here officially opened for business during a ribbon-cutting ceremony March 13.
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.
Attendees included Julianna Albowicz representing U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, Bud Otis representing U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, Josh Russin representing Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, Frederick County Commissioner President Jan H. Gardner, Frederick City Aldermen Shelley Aloi and Karen Young, and former U.S. Rep. Beverly Byron.
"I welcome all of you here today to be part of this very important ribbon-cutting ceremony as we take another step in ensuring that our Citizen-Soldiers and Marines have the best possible facilities in which to prepare to fight and win our nation's wars," Monk said to the crowd gathered inside the new Armed Forces Reserve Center.
The center will be home to the Marine Corps Reserve's Company B, 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, the Army Reserve's Company A, Detachment 1, 392nd Expeditionary Signal Battalion, and the Army Reserve's 27th and 21st Military History Detachments. The Marine company, which is currently deployed to Afghanistan, will be the AFRC's largest tenant.
"To all the Soldiers and Marines here today who will call this center home, I challenge you to make the very best use of this wonderful gift your nation has given you," Monk said. "Use it to train hard and to be ready - ready to answer the call to duty, as if you knew the hour and the day that call will come."
Also speaking at the event was Col. Jeffrey Davies, chief of staff for the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command.
"This new facility stands as testimony to our commitment to this mission and the many dedicated men and women who serve our nation in the reserve component," Davies said. "The Marines and Soldiers who occupy this structure now have a state-of-the-art facility with maintenance bays, a weapons simulator training room, an outstanding fitness center, classrooms and administrative space to facilitate the required training as they prepare for their respective missions."
The $14-million, 58,600-square-foot AFRC and its accompanying Organizational Maintenance Facility are located on Fort Detrick's Area B, replacing the Flair Memorial AFRC and its organizational maintenance shop in Frederick. The new facility - a result of 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission recommendations - will provide service members educational support, assembly areas, a library and learning center.
"This re-stationing is a fiscally wise move; always an important goal, but especially so in these economically challenging times," Monk explained. "It will allow the Department of Defense to save millions in sustainment, renovation and modernization funds on old, outdated facilities and focus those monies instead on other critical needs to better support our forces, recruit quality personnel, modernize equipment and infrastructure, and develop the capabilities needed to meet 21st Century threats."
The design-build contract was awarded in July 2007 to Harkins Builders of Marriottsville, who designed and constructed the new AFRC with architectural and engineering support from VOA Associates, STV Incorporated, and Nayyar and Nayyar. Design management was provided by the Louisville District of the Corps of Engineers, while the Baltimore District of the COE conducted the construction management.
"Our military deserves the very best in training, equipment, technology, facilities, BASOPS support, and everything that contributes to success on and off the battlefield, " Monk said. "Today marks yet another significant step along this path."