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Mississippi National Guard returns Waynesboro center to city

Soldiers from the Mississippi Army National Guard officially remove the colors from the Waynesboro Army National Guard Readiness Center, June 6, 2018. The Mississippi National Guard has given the facility to the city of Waynesboro as part of a force structure reduction, cost-savings and facility consolidation plan. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Needham)Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army National Guard. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Needham)

The Mississippi National Guard has returned the Waynesboro Army National Guard Readiness Center to the city in an effort to reduce their force structure, increase cost-saving, and consolidate their facilities.

The MSNG, along with city representatives, conducted the handover on Wednesday, June 6, 2018. The facility, traditionally known as an “armory,” served as a training venue for Detachment 1, 3656th Maintenance Company.

LTC Christian Patterson said that all Det. 1, 3656th MC Soldiers will retain their jobs and will be reassigned to the Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center.

The move will allow Waynesboro personnel to reunite with their parent unit, which the MSNG says will bolster their coordination and overall training effectiveness. The return of the armory to the city reduces the number of readiness centers across the state from 73 to 72.

“The return allows the Mississippi Army National Guard to strengthen the force and provide a great facility for the city of Waynesboro,” said Col. Paul McDonald, construction and facilities officer of the Mississippi Army National Guard. “The guard will save money in annual maintenance and utility costs and the community will repurpose the property to meet its needs.”

The Waynesboro readiness center was selected for return based on force structure reduction projections, proximity to larger population centers for recruiting, unit cohesion, facility age, and available state and federal funding. In addition, the Federal Budget Control Act of 2011 also influenced the development of the MSNG’s overall plan to reduce the number of RCs.

The legislation requires a nationwide drawdown of military forces. LTC Christian Patterson said more readiness centers are also being considered for return to community operations in 2018.

Meetings were held with community leaders to assure them that the MSARNG will continue to be “Always Ready and Always There” in times of need.

“Maintaining readiness is our number one priority,” said Col. McDonald. “Waynesboro and Wayne County residents can rest assured that the Mississippi National Guard will be trained and prepared to respond to any emergency in the community if needed.”

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