First Lady cuts ribbon at $19 million Kentucky National Guard Readiness Center in Burlington

Story by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

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Kentucky’s adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini is joined by First Lady Jane Beshear, Maj. Philip Robinson, commander of the 1204th Aviation Support Battalion and local officials in cutting the ribbon and opening the Kentucky National Guard Readiness Center in Burlington, Ky., May 10, 2013. The facility in Boone County will be the new home to the more than 300 Soldiers of the 1204th ASB. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Brandy Mort)

BURLINGTON, Ky. — First Lady Jane Beshear joined Kentucky’s adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini and local officials in unveiling the Kentucky National Guard’s newest readiness center in a ceremony in Burlington, Ky., May 10.

The new $19 million facility will be the home of more than 300 men and women of the 1204th Aviation Support Battalion and the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management.  With 86,000 square feet of space, it is a state-of-the-art training facility designed to train and support Soldiers and Airmen in their missions for the Commonwealth and the nation; support search and rescue missions in conjunction with Emergency Management and other agencies; and serve as a staging area to receive and/or deploy Soldiers and Airmen.

To see more photos from the ceremony, click here.

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First Lady Jane Beshear stands with Kentucky’s adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini following the ribbon cutting ceremony at the new Kentucky National Guard Readiness Center in Burlington, Ky., May 10, 2013. Beshear joined numerous local officials and residents in attendance supporting the Kentucky Guard. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Brandy Mort)

“This building will serve the members of the National Guard who serve our Commonwealth,” said Beshear. “My husband and I never cease to be amazed of our National Guard men and women. We appreciate the dedication of our Service members.”

The new center also serves as a Regional Emergency Operations Center, providing homeland security support in multiple arenas including augmenting law enforcement during civil disturbances, as well as hosting joint missions utilizing both Army and Air National Guard personnel and equipment.  Its proximity to the Airport greatly enhances the rapid response capability and enables the Kentucky National Guard to better respond to emergencies such as natural disasters to better meet the needs of the citizens of Northern Kentucky.

“This facility marks a change for Northern Kentucky,” said Tonini. “We will now be able to cover the entire state and meet the needs of the Commonwealth daily. This state-of-the-art facility will serve as a base for recruiting and shows Northern Kentucky what we are and have been capable of doing.”

Burlington Aerial

The new $19 million Kentucky National Guard Readiness Center in Burlington will be the home of the 1204th Aviation Support Battalion and the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management. With 86,000 square feet of space, it is a state of the art training facility designed to train and support Soldiers and Airmen as well as support search and rescue missions in conjunction with KYEM and other agencies. (Photo courtesy Kentucky Department of Military Affairs)

The center will also be open to provide limited veteran support to all branches of service to include ID cards, family services (financial, counseling, health benefits), TRICARE, Red Cross assistance and veterans benefits.

“I’m delighted that this site in Boone County was chosen,” said County Judge Executive Gary Moore. “I am very pleased with the finished product. It’s a great asset and we will have better prepared Guard units because this facility will help in training and recruitment.”

Maj. Philip Robinson, commander of the 1204th thanked local officials and residents, saying,   “We appreciate their support and we are very proud to now call Burlington home.”

On April 25, the 1204th held an open house for local residents to get a sneak-peak at the new facility.

“That event was an overwhelming success,” said Robinson.  “The attendance was more than expected.”

See photos from that event by clicking here.

The new building’s main purpose, of course, is to serve as a readiness center for the 1204th ASB, which deployed during 2011-2012.  The 1204th was the last Aviation Support Battalion and the last Kentucky Army National Guard unit to serve in Iraq.

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