JACKSON, MS (WDAM) - This is a news release from the Department of Army and Air Force.
The Mississippi Army National Guard (MSARNG) has selected four readiness centers to return to host communities as part of a force structure reduction, cost-savings, and facility consolidation plan.
Army National Guard Readiness centers in Grenada, Mendenhall, Lumberton, and Nettleton will be returned to each municipality by October 23. The facilities, traditionally known as "armories," were under lease agreements with each community and served as training venues for MSARNG Soldiers. The initiative reduces the number of readiness centers across the state from 83 to 79.
"This plan allows for the Mississippi Army National Guard to strengthen our force and communities, and save precious financial resources at the same time," said Maj. Gen. Augustus L. Collins, the adjutant general of the Mississippi National Guard. "The returns will help us to recruit in higher populated areas and improve cohesion by consolidating our force structure to better accommodate our smaller force. They will also save approximately $130,000 in annual maintenance and utility costs and allow our partner communities to repurpose their facilities for other uses."
The four readiness centers were selected for return based on force structure reductions, proximity to larger population centers for recruiting, unit cohesion, facility age, and available state and federal funding over the past several years. In addition, the Federal Budget Control Act of 2011 also influenced development of the plan. The legislation requires a nationwide drawdown of military forces. More readiness centers
are also being considered for return to community operations. No timeline has been set for these actions to occur.
All impacted MSARNG personnel will retain their jobs and will be reassigned to nearby facilities. Most of the returns allow for detached personnel to reunite with their parent units, bolstering coordination and overall training effectiveness. Following return operations, all Mississippians will be within 40 miles of a MSARNG readiness center.
Meetings were held with community leaders in July to assure them that the MSARNG will continue to be "Always Ready and Always There" in times of need.
"Maintaining readiness is our No. 1 priority," said Gen. Collins. "Residents of the impacted communities can rest assured that the Mississippi National Guard will be trained and prepared to respond to any emergency when called to duty."