Continuing the partnership in Fayette County

By Stacy Floden, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

(left to right:) Col. Ronnie Barnes, commander 138th Field Artillery Brigade, William V. Alford Jr., chairman of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Airport Board, Congressman Andy Barr and MG Stephen R. Hogan, Kentucky’s adjutant general participated Saturday, May 18, 2019, in the ceremonial lease signing between the Lexington Armory and Bluegrass Airport.

 

(LEXINGTON, Ky.) – About 50 years ago the Department of Military Affairs first leased the land from Blue Grass Airport to construct the Lexington Armory. And on Saturday, May 18, 2019, the Kentucky National Guard and the Lexington Fayette-Urban County Government Airport Board commemorated the ceremonial lease signing with a 20 year lease.

In the time that passed since the first agreement, many legal hoops and obstacles made the event much more than a simple handshake between equal partners. The support from Congressman Andy Barr and his office played a critical role as he reached out to the Federal Aviation Administration, having many conversations and meetings and expressing the importance of the armory in Lexington.

Maj. Gen. Stephen R. Hogan, Kentucky’s adjutant general, has a very special place in his heart for the 138th Field Artillery Brigade and the Lexington Armory. He joined the Guard with the unit in 1993.

“When the report came that the Lexington Armory and Blue Grass Airport’s lease was at risk, I took it to heart,” said Hogan. “I reached out to Congressman Barr’s office and the airport board and they called back right away and said the lease is important, the armory is important, we are going to do everything we can to keep it in Fayette County. I think this demonstrates more than anything the connection of this organization to the community.”

The relationship between the airport and military goes back a long way. William V. Alford Jr., chairman of the LFUCAB, said the airport was created in the 1940’s and served as an auxiliary field for Louisville’s airport to train military pilots. The first aircraft to land at Blue Grass Airport was an Army Air Corps B-25 Bomber.

“We are delighted to have the Kentucky National Guard as a part of the airport. It always gives me comfort when I pull into the facility knowing the Guard is a part of the airport,” said Alford. “We are proud to celebrate the continuing commitment to the military by extending the lease with the commonwealth. It’s a benefit to both of us.”

“It is a positive addition to have the presence of Soldiers at the airport to provide additional security,” said Barr. “I am always looking for ways to support the important work of the Guardsmen here in the 6th Congressional District. The lease signing plays an important part in allowing the Guard to continue its missions at the Lexington Armory.”

DMA leases the land from the LFUCAB where the Lexington National Guard Armory are located.

The actual lease was signed earlier this year by the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Airport Board, the Department of Military Affairs and Kentucky’s Finance Cabinet.

There are two Kentucky National Guard units in Lexington-Fayette County with approximately 500 guardsmen. With no Guard presence in surrounding counties it was key for Lexington to continue the partnership with the airport.

Through pay, cooperative agreements construction and the like, the Guard has brought in over $41 million in 2018 for the area and more than $600 million in the last 20 years to Fayette County. And now with another 20 years, the Soldiers will continue to support the citizens of the Commonwealth and Fayette County.

 

 

 

 

 

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