Oct. 7, 2009

Winchester readiness center dedicated in honor of fallen comrades

By Sgt. Andrew H. Owen
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

WINCHESTER, Va.—A new Virginia National Guard readiness center in Winchester was officially named the Cherry-Beasley Readiness Center in a formal dedication ceremony in front of a full house of Soldiers, members of the Virginia Defense Force and friends and family members held Oct. 4. The facility was named in honor of Staff Sgt. Craig W. Cherry and Sgt. Bobby E. Beasley, two Virginia Army National Guard Soldiers killed in the line of duty while serving in Afghanistan in 2004.


Juanita Beasley (left) and Donna Cherry (right) unveil the new sign for the Winchester readiness center honoring their fallen husbands. (Photo by Maj. Cotton Puryear, Virginia Guard Public Affairs) For more photos, please visit the Virginia Guard Flickr page.

The ceremony was attended by special guests Governor Timothy M. Kaine, Secretary of Public Safety John Marshall, retired U.S. Senator John Warner and Maj. Gen. Robert B. Newman Jr., Adjutant General of Virginia.

“The Winchester readiness center is the Virginia Guard’s newest armory and will serve as the home for the Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, a detachment from our Forward Support Company, a local field maintenance shop and our friends and comrades from the Virginia Defense Force,” said Lt. Col. William L. Zana, 3rd battalion commander.

“Today we will come together to honor two of our fallen brothers who gave the ultimate sacrifice by giving their lives in service of their country on August 7th, 2004, and to permanently dedicate this facility to their honor,” said Zana. 

Two state resolutions, including state resolution no. 444, were presented in recognition of the outstanding accomplishments of the unit’s Soldiers, past and present, according to Zana.


Retired Senator John Warner unveils the sign on the operations center in the Cherry-Beasley Readiness Center that is named in honor of his years of public service. (Photo by Maj. Cotton Puryear, Virginia Guard Public Affairs) For more photos, please visit the Virginia Guard Flickr page.

The resolutions were presented by Virginia Senator Jill Vogel and Delegate Beverly Sherwood.

“This is a resolution we were proud to introduce in the General Assembly,” said Sherwood.

It was introduced to honor the battalion’s high level of readiness that also earned them the Walter T. Kerwin Jr. Readiness Award for their deployment to Iraq in 2007.

“These Citizen Soldiers have been chosen as the nation’s best unit, with the highest level of readiness in the nation,” said Sherwood.

Following the official ceremony, the governor and the adjutant general dedicated the readiness center’s operations center in honor of retired Sen. John Warner. The Operations center will be known as the Senator John Warner Operations Center.

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.

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