WASHINGTON, D.C. (WDAM) - This is a news release from the United States Congress.
U.S. Senators Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), and U.S. Representative Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.) today announced that the U.S. Army has approved $12.8 million to replace the National Guard Readiness Center in Columbia, which was destroyed by a tornado just before Christmas last year.
The Army is making the funding available after determining that soldier readiness is being harmed because of reduced training time resulting from the destroyed center and the unit's subsequent relocation to temporary facilities at Camp Shelby. A tornado in Columbia on Dec. 23, 2014, destroyed the 43,105-square-foot center.
"The Army decision to rebuild the readiness center is great news for strengthening the National Guard training mission in Mississippi and for Columbia. This community is doing well in its recovery after last year's storm and this National Guard project is a welcomed addition to that effort," said Cochran, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and its subcommittee on defense.
"Before its destruction last December, the Army facility in Columbia played an important part in supporting Mississippi's soldiers," Wicker said. "I am pleased that the Army is committed to rebuilding the readiness center, ensuring that our state's National Guard can continue to fulfill its mission as the combat ready reserve force."
"The city of Columbia lost a lot when the tornado struck their community last year and we've all worked hard to help them recover from the effects of this devastating storm. As a member of the Mississippi Army National Guard I understand this Armory is not only important to their community, but also plays a vital role to the mission of the Mississippi National Guard. It comes as no surprise to me that the Army understands that as well," Palazzo said.
Replacing the center in Columbia will allow the National Guard to fully meet its mission to support individual and collective training, administrative, automation, communications, and logistical requirements for the Mississippi National Guard.
The office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Housing and Partnerships indicated that unobligated Army National Guard military construction appropriations may be used to cover additional costs.