July 16, 2009

Winchester infantry battalion shows off new armory

By Capt. Nevin Blankenship
116th Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs

WINCHESTER, Va. – The Winchester-based 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Brigade Combat Team held an open house July 11 to show Soldiers, their families and community its new, state-of-the-art armory. 


The new Winchester armory is almost 52,000 square feet and cost about $10 million to build. (Photo by Maj. Cotton Puryear, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

“Our intent on holding this open house is to provide our Soldiers, families and the community the opportunity to spend some time together, to see and tour our new facility, to meet one another, and see some of our equipment up close,” said Capt. Ed McMichael, commander of 3rd Battalion's Headquarters Company.

The unit had tours of the armory and the equipment, both old and new, for the public and dignitaries.  The National Guard car, a rock band video game, and various vendors and unit supporters were also on hand for the Soldiers and the public.

“Together we will all enjoy the benefits of this state-of-the-art building for many years to come,” said McMichael.

The almost 52,000 square-foot armory cost about $10 million to build and it dwarfs the old armory that opened in 1940 and measured a little over 15,500 square feet.


Soldiers from 3rd Battalion demonstrated some of their new equipment during the open house. (Photo by Capt. Nevin Blankenship, 116th Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs)

“Members of this battalion have been an integral part and played an instrumental role in preserving peace and preserving our way of life,” said Maj. Gen. Robert B. Newman, Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia.

Two members of the unit, Staff Sgt. Craig Cherry, 39, of Winchester, and Sgt. Bobby Beasley, 36, of Inwood, W.Va., were killed when their Humvee was destroyed by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan in 2004.

There was a private ceremony for the local veterans and the unit to close the armory in the evening.  The ceremony included honoring the heritage of the armory, the unit, and the Soldiers who have served there since the opening. As part the festivities, a dance was held to remember the community dances and socials that were held at the armory in the past.

"Shenandoah University’s leadership is pleased to acquire the armory building and grounds. The campus community is appreciative of the important role the 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment has played in the defense of this country. SU is proud of the men and women who have served to protect our freedoms and we add this building and its grounds to our campus in grateful recognition of their service," said John Hachtel, associate vice president for marketing and communications.    

The old armory has been bought by Shenandoah University for $750,000 but there has been no formal plans for the use of the building at the time of this release.

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