After 8 Years, an Oklahoma National Guard Training Complex Is Finally Done

Oklahoma Army National Guardsmen with Headquarters Company, 271st Brigade Support Battalion, 45th Field Artillery Brigade, utilize a virtual system, known as the Virtual Battle Space III (VBS3), Saturday, April 6, 2019, in order to train as a team in virtual scenarios in preparation for an upcoming Exportable Combat Training Capability (XCTC), Operation Western Strike. (Leanna Maschino/U.S. Army National Guard)
Oklahoma Army National Guardsmen with Headquarters Company, 271st Brigade Support Battalion, 45th Field Artillery Brigade, utilize a virtual system, known as the Virtual Battle Space III (VBS3), Saturday, April 6, 2019, in order to train as a team in virtual scenarios in preparation for an upcoming Exportable Combat Training Capability (XCTC), Operation Western Strike. (Leanna Maschino/U.S. Army National Guard)

Camp Gruber Training Center, near Braggs, Oklahoma, celebrated both the beginning of a project and the completion of one Friday.

The military base broke ground on a new station for the Camp Gruber Fire Department, then a short time later commemorated the completion of an organizational readiness training complex, or ORTC, with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Both ceremonies involved short speeches by project managers amid light-hearted jokes and even a retirement announcement.

"They told me if I didn't get this thing built I'd better retire," joked garrison commander Col. Jerald Gilbert ahead of the ribbon cutting. "Well, I'm retiring tomorrow, but we got it built."

Construction and Facilities Management Officer Lt. Col. Cory Newcomb said it was exciting to see the base move from one project to the next.

"It seems like we're continually improving," Newcomb said. "You don't usually see construction projects back to back together like this."

The ORTC is a five-building, $32 million complex designed to support a battalion of up to 725 soldiers. The complex includes a barracks, training facility, dining facility, aid station and battalion headquarters.

"The ribbon cutting means we're finally done with it," Newcomb said. "We've been working on this for eight years. We're finally seeing it complete."

The fire station, in the meanwhile, will be a fully equipped civilian station tasked with not only keeping Camp Gruber safe, but also surrounding communities such as Gore and Braggs.

"This is an exciting day," said CGFD Fire Chief Lee Horst. "This will be an incredible benefit to both Gruber and nearby communities. It just makes these places that little bit safer."

Newcomb said construction of the station should take approximately a year and a half.

"Within the next month you'll actually see equipment out here to begin work," he said. "About 18 months from now you'll see a fully furnished fire department with the trucks and employees needed to run it." 

This article is written by Chesley Oxendine from Muskogee Phoenix, Okla. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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