By Amy Daybert Herald Writer
MARYSVILLE — City officials, soldiers and their families Sunday celebrated the official opening of a $33 million Army facility.
A commissioning and ribbon-cutting ceremony was held inside the Marysville Armed Forces Reserve Center at 13613 40th Ave. NE. The new center includes a 147,000-square-foot training facility and a 20,000-square-foot maintenance building. It is the new home for several Army Reserve and National Guard units including those based formerly at Fort Lawton in Seattle, the Major David Oswald Army Reserve Center in Everett and the Everett National Guard Armory Center, all of which are closed.
“I want to thank you all for being here today,” said Maj. General Glenn Lesniak, commander of the 88th Regional Support Command with headquarters at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin. “This is yet another example of the quality of the young men and women who are serving our nation today in all ranks of the military.”
The ceremony included music by the Vancouver-based 204th United States Army Band, a cannon salute by Charlie Battery, 2-12 Field Artillery Regiment, and flyover honors performed by Bravo Company, 1-214 General Support Aviation Battalion.
About 100 soldiers are employed at the center, Lesniak told a crowd of nearly 200 people in the center’s assembly hall. By this summer, more than 1,000 Reserve and Guard soldiers will use the center.
The certified energy-efficient facility took 22 months to build. It includes administrative, educational, assembly, library and learning center areas. Unlike some older training facilities, the new space has a modern physical fitness area and allows for training simulators to be used. “The new facility brings to our units not only a newer efficient facility, but also current capabilities not available in our older facilities,” Lesniak said.
Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert thanked Lesniak for being part of the commissioning ceremony.
“We appreciate you being here today for the commissioning to see this state of the art facility that is so needed by those men and women who serve to keep our community and our country safe,” she said.
Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring also spoke during the ceremony and said he had the chance to tour the new facility last week. The city is supportive of military members and their families, he said.
“I have to say this facility is top of the line,” Nehring said. “We’re grateful to be a community that hosts a number of military families who are either permanently or temporarily stationed in the area or are even retired.”
The ceremony concluded with Lesniak, Nehring, Tolbert, and Col. Phillip Jolly and Command Sgt. Maj. Vicki Briggs of the 364th Expeditionary Sustainment Command together cutting a red, white and blue ribbon. Guests stayed after the ceremony for a reception, and tried out a weapon simulator program or took tours of the center.
Maj. James Lewis and his wife, Sherry, moved in July from Wisconsin after he was assigned to work out of the center. As deputy commander for 7th Battalion Army Reserve Careers Division, Lewis has an office inside the building.
“We love it out here,” said Lewis, 44. “They did a fantastic job with the building. It’s been a real morale booster for the soldiers. Having a brand new facility to train in is something that gives them a sense of pride.”
The facility is great, agreed Maj. David Ketchell, historian of the 364th.
“I just live two miles away,” said Ketchell, 54. “It’s close and it’s accessible. What I really like is it’s a very efficient building.”
Amy Daybert: 425-339-3491; email@example.com.