October 15, 2016 –
HOMEWOOD, Illinois (October 15, 2016) – Flanked by Soldiers, both past and present, the current facility commander as well as elected officials from the neighboring community and a local fire official cut the ribbon to mark the official opening of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Army Reserve Center in Homewood, Illinois, October 15.
This location was originally one of 12 installations that comprised the Chicago Defense Area – which was established in 1955 to protect Chicago and the Midwest from the threat of an air attack during the Cold War. In 1984, a new building was constructed on this site and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Army Reserve Center opened its doors.
Now, following a $15 million facelift and expansion, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Army Reserve Center re-opened with geothermal and solar power energy sources; life, health and safety code enhancements; additional parking spaces and enhanced force protection measures. The facility also doubled in square footage as there is now more than 37,000 square feet of space here.
There are currently four units that call this Army Reserve Center home: the 308th Civil Affairs Brigade; 317th Engineer Company; 4th Battalion, 100th Chemical Brigade and the 5th Battalion, 100th Adjutant General Brigade
“It’s increased our ability to train our Soldiers and get our Soldiers ready for possible deployments,” said Col. Edward Merrigan, commander of the 308th Civil Affairs Brigade. “The skills and preparations that we undertake inside these will us will enable us to be ready and able to respond when our nation calls for our service.”
Prior to moving into this facility, these units were assigned to various other areas across the Chicagoland area in facilities that are in need of updating or are scheduled to close.
“Where we were before was a facility that they’re slowing phasing out of the inventory,” Merrigan said.
Renovating and improving this facility was a focal point for the 88th Regional Support Command – the command that oversees the facilities across a 19-state region from Ohio to Washington state.
“We now have a brand new facility for our troops and units to train in that will support all of their needs,” said Col. Kurt Wagner, director of the Directorate of Public Works for 88th RSC. “We are proud for the re-opening of this facility.”
To mark the official opening of the building, Merrigan along with Congresswoman Robin Kelly from Illinois’ 2nd Congressional District; Tamara Jordan, the veteran’s representative for U.S. Senator Dick Durbin; and Rick Sewell, the deputy chief for the Homewood Police Department, cut the ceremonial ribbon following a short ceremony.