Story by Jeri Bloxom, firstname.lastname@example.org
CAMP MINDEN – More than two years after breaking ground on the Armed Forces Reserve Center (AFRC), the Louisiana National Guard, elected officials and contributing and supporting parties celebrated the completion during a Wednesday ceremony.
“This building behind us is part of the partnership with our local communities in northwest Louisiana,” General Glenn Curtis said to the crowd gathered for the ribbon cutting. “It is important that we encourage one another and support growth in our communities, and this building is a result of those partnerships.”
Curtis acknowledged key stakeholders in the community and elected officials whom were instrumental in securing funding and ensuring the completion of the project.
Governor Bobby Jindal spoke to the crowd after being introduced with kind words from Curtis.
“Our governor has been a continued source of support for me and our men and women,” Curtis said. “There have been so many moments, where there is no media or fan-fair, and he shows up. He is there when I call and say we have men and women returning from deployment. He is there to shake their hand and he is there for the families of the deployed whenever is asked of him.”
Jindal acknowledged the importance of supporting the Louisiana National Guard.
“Over the past eight years, our state has faced unthinkable disasters from hurricanes to floods to oil spills. Whatever the emergency has been, the men and women of the Louisiana National Guard have always stepped up and answered the call when our people needed it most,” he said. “We know that in order to respond to disasters and keep our communities safe, the National Guard needs the right tools, training and resources to protect our families. That’s why we supported this brand new facility, which will help train Guardsmen with new technology and help them continue to protect our state and our nation.”
The governor also noted the investment reaches beyond the fiscal and physical investment of a new building.
“Our investments at Camp Minden are great for our economy, great for our military and great for our state,” he said.
Retired Col. Carl Thompson agrees with the governor.
“I remember when I was first assigned to Camp Minden many years ago,” he said. “There were only two people here and there were no lights and it was a very foreboding, eerie place to be. But the growth Camp Minden has seen with programs such as the Youth Challenge Program, the leasing of property, to the reserve center and the new Regional Training Institute- that is all so amazing to see and to see the impact it has had and will continue to have on our local economy.”
Col. John Hennigan echoed Thompson’s vision.
“We are invested in this community, not only at Camp Minden and in northwest Louisiana but across the state and in the surrounding communities,” Hennigan said. “Our guard is comprised of men and women from around the state. Each one of those individuals comes from a community. When we help our local communities by impacting their growth and supporting our partners, we are helping ourselves. It is a partnership that is mutually beneficial and we are proud to be involved.”
The $19.8 million project, designed by KSA Alliance, Inc. of Shreveport, will consolidate and more efficiently house three units currently located at Camp Minden. The units included are the 1083rd Transportation Company, 39th Military Police Company and the 122nd Air Support Operation Squadron.
The new Armed Forces Reserve Center (AFRC) building is comprised mostly of a one-story structure.
The first floor gross area is 64,136 square feet. A second story at the front of the building provides an additional 14,145 square feet and is comprised of shared classroom/training areas required for all users.
The building occupants and structure are protected throughout by a supervised automatic sprinkler system and a fire alarm system. This is the first AFRC built in northern Louisiana for the National Guard.