New National Guard readiness center opens in Bethel

by Mike Martz on November 17, 2011

Bethel’s new Alaska Army National Guard Readiness Center was formally opened with a ribbon cutting on Wednesday November 16th.  On hand for the ceremony was Major General Thomas Katkus, Adjutant-General of the Alaska National Guard and commissioner of the State Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.  The small audience also included members of Katkus’ staff, local retired Alaska Army National Guardsmen, current Guardsmen, representatives of Bethel VFW Post 10,041 and community members.

In his remarks General Katkus thanks the community of Bethel for its support during the long design and construction process for the facility.  Katkus then joined several current and retired local Alaska Army National Guardsmen in the ceremonial cutting of a ribbon officially opening the facility.

In an interview following the event, Katkus described the dual mission of the Readiness Center.  “It is an armory for Army National Guard training”, he said,“but also

Capt. Jason Caldwell, Co. B commander, retired Guardsman Vincent Waska and Major General Thomas Katkus look on as retired Guardsmen Dennis Kline and Tundy Rodgers cut the ribbon opening the new Bethel Readiness Center. photo by Mike Martz

because the National Guard is a part of the community, this readiness center will help the community be better prepared for any emergency.”  Katkus went on to say that the center’s location near the Bethel airport will make it easy for the Guard to provide support to the community during emergency situations.

The event was hosted by Company B, 1st battalion (Airborne) of the 143rd Infantry, who are now headquartered at the Center.  Company B soldiers leave November 25th for a deployment to Afghanistan.

The Readiness Center is located near the west end of the Bethel airport adjacent to the Army National Guard aircraft hanger.

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