VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia — Virginia National Guard senior leaders, as well as military and civilian employees who had a role in its construction, were on hand for the opening of a new multi-use training facility Oct. 11, 2019, at the State Military Reservation in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, Brig. Gen. Toni M. Lord, the Virginia National Guard Air Component commander, Brig. Gen. James Ring, director of the joint staff, Lt. Col. Jeffrey E. Getz, commander of the Virginia Air National Guard’s 203rd Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineer, and Lt. Col. Christopher Dunn, commander of the State Military Reservation, cut the ribbon on the arched steel panel building, also known as a K-SPAN. It joins another structure that was completed in 2017 and together they will serve as a multi-purpose training facility where military units can set up their tactical operations center equipment and conduct battalion, brigade and division-level command post exercises. It will also provide operational support to SMR as a Federal Emergency Management Agency Region II National Guard Logistic Support Base.
“What you see here is just the beginning,” Williams said. “In time this will be a hub for battalion and brigade level CPXs [Command Post Exercises] or Warfighter exercises.”
The Virginia Beach-based 203rd RHS oversaw construction of the facility, which was completed by RED HORSE units from throughout the United States, as well as two Army engineer units.
RED HORSE units are tasked with eight key construction skills to train on and K-SPAN development is one of those eight, Getz said. He explained that seven of the nine RED HORSE units in the Air National Guard traveled to Virginia to support construction of the facility.
“It was great to work with all our RED HORSE brethren to learn what they do,” Getz said. “Guam hadn’t done a K-SPAN in more than five years so it was great training for them.”
In addition, the 203rd RHS Airmen had the opportunity to work with Army engineers.
“We had two Army engineer companies come in and help out so we were able to learn what they as engineers do,” he explained. “We have different roles and responsibilities in the warfight so it was great to work with them.”
The structure took approximately 10 weeks to build, with five rotations of two weeks each, according to Getz. The K-SPAN contains 300 cubic yards of concrete, 7,000 lbs. of rebar, 25,000 feet of electrical wire and 61,000 lbs. of structural steel. It was all done for less than $500,000.
“It was a great training experience to build it,” Getz said. “Now we turn it over to SMR to train future units as they come through.”
The Virginia National Guard Construction and Facilities Management Office handled the procurement of materials, rental of specialized equipment and hiring of specialty contractors. Dave Short and members of that team were recognized for their hard work and dedication just before the ribbon cutting.
“We didn’t have many slowdowns of construction,” Getz said. “They did an excellent and outstanding job.”
“Thanks to the CFMO team for their work and to the Airmen who took the lead on this” Williams said. “It’s ushered in a resurgence of this installation.”
The K-SPAN projects were the first major construction on SMR since World War II, according to Williams.
“It’s very exciting,” he said. “We have a lot of things coming up in the future.”