• National Guard expanding facilities on fort

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  • Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
    With shovels in hand, state and military leaders broke ground on two new National Guard facilities — a new 35th Infantry Division readiness center and a new training barracks for the Mission Training Complex-Leavenworth — in a ceremony Nov. 30.
    “The ceremonial breaking ground demonstrates to me the value the Army and the National Guard, the Pentagon and the Congress place on the value of Fort Leavenworth, Kan.,” said Sen. Jerry Moran, U.S. senator for Kansas.
    “What transpires here is important to our nation, it is our path to greater security and national defense. It is an effort realized to make sure there is more freedom and liberty around the world. The intellectual center of the United States Army, headquartered at Fort Leavenworth, gives great pride to me as a Kansan and great pride to me as an American.”
    Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, adjutant general of the Kansas National Guard, said there are two great days in the military construction world.
    “This is the second greatest day because this is the day we actually stick the shovel in the dirt. The greatest day is a little bit farther down the road when we cut the ribbon and open up a new facility,” Tafanelli said.
    “These new facilities will serve the 35th Infantry Division and the Mission Training Complex extremely well for decades to come enabling those that serve our nation to remain ready, relevant and engaged as we serve our communities, our state and our nation here at home and abroad.”
    The 35th ID is one of eight National Guard divisions and is mostly composed of soldiers from Kansas and Missouri. The new building, which has been in development since 2004, will provide more office space, classrooms and other space “to successfully train 35th ID soldiers to accomplish their wartime mission,” said David Burk, the ceremony’s narrator.
    Lt. Gen. Timothy Kadavy, director of the Army National Guard, said the 35th ID has a long history of service dating back to World War I.
    “The soldiers of the 35th Infantry Division have always answered the nation’s call,” Kadavy said. “Victory is earned through hard and realistic training. For the 35th Infantry Division and their soldiers, that starts here in Kansas.”
    Kadavy said the 35th ID deserves the best the nation can provide.
    “That is what today is all about,” he said. “The facility to be built will allow current and future 35th soldiers to continue the proud history set by their predecessors and to also build their own legacy.”
    Maj. Gen. Victor Braden, 35th ID commanding general, said the groundbreaking is a chance to look toward the future.
    Page 2 of 2 - “As we look forward, this facility will house an Army division that must continue to build and sustain readiness both collectively and individually, to be prepared to answer the call, (and) to deploy, fight and win decisively against any adversary anytime, anywhere,” Braden said.
    The new MTC barracks has been in development since 2014. It will include more than 500 beds to support future training events. This will allow a better use of time and training dollars because soldiers will not have to stay in motels, which will also eliminate transportation time. About 12,500 soldiers train at the MTC each year.
    “That means commanders and staff will have more time to train, plan and prepare training,” Kadavy said. “Above all, keeping soldiers here at Fort Leavenworth during exercises is truly safer and better for our soldiers.”
    Lt. Col. Kurt Rorvik, MTC-Leavenworth commander, said the groundbreaking represents a strategic turning point in the facilities training capability, highlighting the themes of pride and partnership.
    “During my tenure here, I’ve witnessed the tremendous pride our soldiers take in this facility. It has hosted warfighter exercises, command post exercises, mission command training and myriad other training events,” Rorvik said.
    “There are also enduring partnerships that have been formed to pave the way for mission success, developing a shared understanding and has resulted in a more efficient use of resources. Fort Leavenworth is often referred to as the best Hometown in the Army and with these great relationships and the lasting commitments that have been forged over the years, it is easy to understand why.”
    Construction of the new facilities will be headed by HTK Architects from Topeka, Kan.; The Law Company: Contractors and Construction Managers from Wichita, Kan.; and Straub Construction Company from Shawnee, Kan.
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