OWENSBORO, KY (5/31/12) – The Dedication for the Owensboro Readiness Center, the city’s new, state-of-the-art National Guard Armory, took place on May 30th at 12:15 PM with state and local dignitaries inaugurating the facility. Major Jason Aliff welcomed the honored guests including Governor Steve Beshear, Major General Edward W Tonini, the Owensboro Field Representative for US Congressman Brett Guthriee, Owensboro Mayor Ron Payne, Daviess County Judge Executive Reid Haire, Chairman of Owensboro Regional Airport Authority Board Ray Assmar, and Barkley Regional Airport Manager Bob Whitmer.
The project is a result of Grow the Army (GOA) Appropriation of 2010, and the state-of the-art training facility will bring Owensboro to the forefront of military readiness, according to event literature. It was designed for usage by the Army National Guard, Division of Emergency Management, and the Civil Air Patrol. Missions and training events will include:
-Training and supporting Soldiers and Airmen in support of the missions of the Commonwealth and the US.
-Search and rescue missions in conjunction with Civil Air Patrol and other agencies.
-Staging area to receive and/or deploy Soldiers and Airmen.
-Security and reinforcing law enforcement during civil disturbances.
-Joint missions using both Army and Air National Guard personnel and equipment.
-Homeland Security support in multiple areas.
-Adjacency to the airport greatly enhances the rapid response capability and enables the Kentucky National Guard to better respond to emergencies such as natural disasters to better meet the needs of the citizens of western Kentucky.
-Regional Emergency Operations Center.
Those gathered enjoyed the Invocation and Benediction by Brigadier General and Chaplain Patrick Dolan, remarks from Beshear and Tonini, and refreshments following the ribbon cutting ceremony. Guests were also allowed to tour the facility.
Captain Joe Sloan, Project Manager for the Readiness Center, said, “Part of the Challenge was that every design decision we made revolved around the soldier—how can we support the soldier, increase the security, and how can we increase energy efficiency to reduce costs.”
Some of the “green” features of the Readiness Center include the sophisticated Variable Refrigerant Volume (VRV) HVAC system, daylight harvesting techniques, solar shades to reduce the amount of incoming heat during summer months and increasing solar rays in the winter, and fully automated lighting systems and HVAC controls that fluctuate with increased or decreased occupancy. Sloan said that future installations of wind and/or solar energy production hardware will bring the facility near if not all the way to a self-sustaining, net-zero state of energy consumption.
The Governor spoke to SurfKY News following the ribbon cutting, and underscored the importance of the facility not only to Daviess County but to the western Kentucky region as a whole:
“In times of disaster—times of emergency—we can gather all of our forces here, everything that we need to go after the particular disaster . . . It’s going to be a training ground for a lot of the different Guard units, and it will be the headquarters for the 206th [Engineer Battalion]. It will also serve as a readiness center for natural disasters and emergencies in this whole area of western Kentucky. So, any time something happens here, we’re going to be staging out of here. We’re going to have lots of troops moving through here, as we get out and do the things we need to do . . . this is very important for people all over western Kentucky, because it’s going to ensure their safety and their wellbeing.”
“I have a saying about our national guard,” said Beshear. “I say, I called for Superman, and he wasn’t available so I called for the Kentucky National Guard. They do a wonderful job, and just as Superman needed a phone booth to change into his hero persona, we’ve got this Readiness Center that will help our guard to get ready and do the great things they do much like the heroes they are . . . .”
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