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Minnesota National Guard
Wolf Pack celebrates upgraded armory

Kelly Grinsteinner CHISHOLM, Minn - Service members, family members and the community gathered Saturday afternoon at the National Guard Armory in Chisholm in recognition of the newly renovated facility

Members of the Chisholm and Duluth-based "Wolf Pack" 114th Transportation Company welcomed loved ones and the public to an open house ceremony and a ceremonial ribbon cutting

"This renovation is in line with the Minnesota National Guard's organizational priorities of providing a competent, ready force and a sustainable infrastructure," said Army Capt Andrew F Ebert, company commander of the 114th Transportation Company

Following a short ceremony, attendees had the opportunity to tour the Armory, get a close-up view of the unit's vehicles, grab a bite to eat and engage in a few physical activities -- a bounce house, football throw, punching bag and rock climbing, to be exact

"We're here to today to recognize and thank the families and the community for all of the support and appreciation you've given us these past eight years and to officially open the doors on the new facility," said Ebert "The 114th Wolf Pack accomplished a lot in its short history, an this facility will be critical for the unit's growth and development moving forward"

This Wolf Pack, which has seen two combat tours in Afghanistan in recent years, currently includes 1623 of the best motor transport operators and mechanics, according to Ebert The unit has been awarded three National Defense Unit of the Year Awards and, most recently, was nationally recognized with the Deployment Excellence Award

The Minnesota Army National Guard has the enduring goal to provide an agile, resilient and ready force to fulfill any federal, state or community need, said Ebert To fulfill this obligation, there are several fundamental priorities that guide the organized to ensure a unified and consistent response

The first priority is to provide a trained, prepared and equipped force capable to respond when called upon The second priority is optimizing the force by structuring personnel, equipment and capabilities to accomplish current and future missions

Relative to optimizing force structure, the 114th Transportation Company will soon be growing According to Ebert, the unit will be one of only a handful of National Guard units to be transitioning from a medium truck company field with Palletized Load Systems, or PLS, to a heavy Composite Truck Company

That means the unit will increase by 100 personnel and field 20 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, or MRAPs The company will also field four of 20 Heavy Equipment Transport (HET) systems as part of the transition

The third priority is sustainable infrastructure, and that includes investing in facilities and ensuring they are economically and environmentally sound while also remaining assets to service members and communities, said Ebert

"A study was commissioned to assess facility conditions, age, capacity for improvements, demographics and travel considerations for unit members with an eye toward future funding levels," he said "The result of that study show that is Minnesota National Guard were to continue on its current trajectory, more than 86 percent of its facilities would be in poor or failing condition by 2030 -- conditions that would affect personnel readiness and jeopardize the organization's ability to effectively respond to state and federal missions"

Hence, the $3 million, year-long renovation at Chisholm Armory

"This facility was in need of renovation," said Ebert, noting it was originally constructed in 1956 and had only minors updates since "d once been held, and where he'd take his son to practice his jump shot

September 14, 2015
Kelly Grinsteinner, Hibbing Daily Tribune
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