Dec. 17, 2009

Ceremonies mark closure of two Virginia Guard armories

By Maj. Cotton Puryear
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia National Guard conducted ceremonies to mark the official closure of the Roanoke armory Dec. 5 and the Richmond armory Dec. 6. Soldiers who had been serving in those armories, as well as retired Soldiers who served at the facilities in the past, attended both ceremonies.

 

Virginia National Guard Soldiers lower the U.S. flag at the Dove Street armory for the final time during the closing ceremony held Dec. 6. (Photo by Maj. Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard)

For more photos, please the Virginia Guard Flickr page:
Richmond armory closing
Roanoke armory closing



“We are sad to leave something like this,” said Landon G. Wilkes, a retired sergeant first class who served in the Roanoke armory when it was opened in 1955. “I spent a lot of time here. Times move on, and hopefully we move with it.”

While the armory closings have a sentimental impact on the part of Soldiers who served there over the years, there is no real impact on the level of support the Guard can provide the communities of Roanoke and Richmond. “Our capabilities have not changed at all,” said Col. Steven Scott, commander of the 91st Troop Command. “We have the same equipment, the same Soldiers and the same training, just in a different location. There is no real impact on the time it would take to respond.”

The number of Virginia Army National Guard Soldiers and units impacted by the Richmond closing are:

  1. Headquarters, 91st Troop Command, consisting of approximately 40 Soldiers, will relocate to the Sandston Readiness Center.
  2. Headquarters Company, 276th Engineer Battalion and Company A, 276th Engineer Battalion, consisting of approximately 175 Soldiers, will relocate to the Petersburg Readiness Center.
  3. Headquarters Company, 1710th Transportation Company, consisting of approximately 65 Soldiers, will relocate to the Emporia and Virginia Beach Readiness Centers.
  4. Battery A, 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, consisting of approximately 95 Soldiers, will relocate to the Sandston Readiness Center.

The number of Soldiers and units impacted by the Roanoke closing are:

  1. 29th Army Band, consisting of approximately 40 Soldiers, will relocate to the Petersburg Readiness Center.
  2. 229th Chemical Company, consisting of approximately 60 Soldiers, will relocate to the Rocky Mount Readiness Center.
  3. Company E of the 429 Brigade Support Battalion, consisting of approximately 125 Soldiers, will relocate to the Lynchburg Readiness Center.
  4. Detachment 1 of the 229th Military Police Company, consisting of approximately 50 Soldiers, will relocate to the Virginia Beach Readiness Center and consolidate with the rest of the company.

The decision to close the Richmond facility was part of Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine’s 2010 budget reduction plan. Closing the Richmond facility, along with closing the Roanoke armory, will result in a projected 2010 budget reduction of $115,000. The city of Roanoke plans to destroy the building where the units are currently stationed in order to make room for future development.

The Richmond armory, often referred to as the Dove Street armory, was built over a two-year period, from 1964 to 1965, and the dedication was held on May 10, 1965. The Roanoke armory was dedicated on Sept. 17, 1955, and served as the home for the 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment up until 2005 when the battalion headquarters moved to Lynchburg as part of the Virginia Guard transformation approved by Gov. Mark Warner.

As part of the closing ceremony in Roanoke, 1st Lt. Aaron Wallace received the last flag flown at the armory as well as the armory time capsule to be placed in the 1st Battalion archives.

Related stories:

Virginia National Guard to conduct ceremonies for Richmond and Roanoke armory closings

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