Leader Blues

Monday, February 05, 2007

TOP STORY >>Cabot home for armory

IN SHORT: Members of the 39th Brigade, F Company in Beebe will now be split between two locations.

Leader staff writer

Arkansas Army National Guard members from F Company, 39th Brigade Support Battalion, of the 39th Brigade Combat Team in Beebe, will now be calling Cabot home during their duty weekends as Cabot was identified as an ideal location for a new armory, now called readiness centers.

Capt. Chris Heathscott, state public affairs officer for the Arkansas National Guard, said five armories have been shut down throughout the state and they are now trying to relocate them closer to where the soldiers live.

“Cabot’s growth and their ability and willingness to support us moving an armory in drove our decision to move to Cabot,” Heathscott said.

According to Heathscott, Cabot officials are looking for land to donate for a permanent location.

Mayor Eddie Joe Williams said he and the Guard have met twice in the last month and presented several possible locations.
“We hope that of the ones shown, one will be acceptable,” Williams said.

Heathscott said the Guard’s goal is to have the new facility constructed by 2010, with a rough estimate of $5-6 million for construction, 75 percent of which is paid federally and the remaining 25 percent paid by the state.

The 80-man traditional unit (part-time soldiers) will be split between the Beebe and Cabot locations, making a parent and detachment unit, Heathscott said.

A minimum full-time staff works out of the temporary location the Guard is leasing at 103 Commerce Park Drive in the Cabot Commerce Center off Hwy. 367.

Once the guardsmen locate to Cabot, they will have three functions on drill weekends in support of the brigade as a whole, Heathscott said.

“They will provide a field feeding section (cooks), a distribution section (delivery of the beans and bullets), and a transportation section (the vehicles),” Heathscott said.

Heathscott added that F Company will offer a valuable asset to Cabot and the surrounding area, as the unit can be called up by the governor for state support at the request of a mayor or county judge.