The United States Army completed a $15 million facelift and expansion at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Army Reserve Center, 18960 Halsted St. in Homewood. The 37,000 square foot facility is now double its original size to provide more training areas.
The United States Army completed a $15 million facelift and expansion at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Army Reserve Center, 18960 Halsted St. in Homewood.
The 37,000 square foot facility is now double its original size to provide more training areas. The project also added geothermal and solar power energy sources and more parking. The building has undergone work to meet life, health and safety codes and enhanced force protection measures.
The project took more than three years to complete. A staff of 30 works at the center during the week. Approximately 400 soldiers come to the facility monthly for weekend drills and readiness training.
“We now have a brand new facility for our troops and units to train in that will support all of their needs,” said Col. Kurt Wagner, director of the Directorate of Public Works for 88th Regional Support Command (RSC). “We are proud for the re-opening of this facility.”
Joining in the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 15 were U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill.; Tamara Jordan, the veterans representative for U.S. Senator Richard Durbin, D-Ill.; and Rick Sewell, the deputy chief for the Homewood Police Department.
Four reserve units are based at the Homewood facility: 308th Civil Affairs Brigade; 317th Engineer Company; 4th Battalion, 100th Chemical Brigade; and the 5th Battalion, 100th Adjutant General Brigade.
The new facility has “increased our ability to train our soldiers and get our soldiers ready for possible deployments,” said Col. Edward Merrigan, commander of the 308th Civil Affairs Brigade. “The skills and preparations that we undertake will enable us to be ready and able to respond when our nation calls for our service.”
Prior to moving into this facility, the four units were assigned to other facilities across the Chicago area. Many of those spaces are in need of updates, or will be phased out, he said.
Renovating and improving the Homewood facility was a focal point for the 88th RSC that oversees facilities across a 19-state region from Ohio to Washington.
Homewood has had a reserve facility since 1955. It was originally one of 12 installations that comprised the Chicago Defense Area to protect Chicago and the Midwest from the threat of an air attack during the Cold War.
In 1984, a new building was constructed on this site and named the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Army Reserve Center.