Story by Sgt. Jeremy Spires
Saturday, May 5, 2012
ROUND ROCK, Texas – Under a white hot Texas sun, community leaders, politicians, and members of the Texas National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve gathered together to mark the official opening of the Round Rock Armed Forces Reserve Center, a state-of-the-art facility designed to allow for better training and more cost effective operations for the Texas Army National Guard and the Army Reserve.
“This combined facility will allow units to maximize their capabilities and work together more effectively, while providing substantial savings in both time and money for the soldiers and the community,” said Maj. Gen. James K. “Red” Brown, 36th Infantry Division commanding general.
The 125,000-square-foot facility located behind youth baseball complexes will house more than 600 soldiers and Reservist, allowing the Round Rock community to see soldiers in action while they prepare themselves to be physically fit and operationally ready for the ongoing mission to combat zones.
“The kids will see the (Texas) Army National Guard and Reserve, and they will know who the real heroes are,” said U.S. Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, during the opening ceremony. “Those are the people that do the hard work, the painful work.”
Housing five classrooms, a distance learning center, two maintenance areas and a weapons simulator room this 24.1 million dollar complex will be able to allow the National Guard and Reserve to spend less money and have more time at home with family.
“We are always asking our soldiers to train at a high level and maintain a high standard and the same should be true of the facilities they train in,” Maj. Gen. Brown said.
Soldiers of the 136th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade are already taking advantage of the enhanced training capability of the facility to prepare for their deployment to Afghanistan later this summer.
“Just having the space to house and properly train the soldiers has allowed us to be more efficient, especially since we don’t have to send them to other parts of the State for what they now have access to here,” said Maj. Eric Cosper, the Effects Coordinator for the 136th MEB. “They are able to train locally and be back home to their families and out in the community more than they have been in the past.”
Beverly Johnson Gordon, a member of one of the Round Rock area’s oldest ranching families and daughter of a World War II veteran, donated the 320-acre plot of land from their working ranch and farm.
“We thought it (the facility) was a perfect fit,” she said. “We are honored to have them.”