Local airmen receive new facility
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)--Family, friends, and statesmen gathered Thursday morning for a ribbon cutting to officially unveil the new home of the 241st Tennessee Air National Guard. It's on Bonny Oaks Drive in Chattanooga, across from the driver's license center. According to Major Marty Malone, the previous facility was not making rank.
"When you have a 50 year old building you have 50 year old problems," said Malone.
Flooding and malfunctioning heat and air conditioning were just a few of problems with the old facility located at the Chattanooga Airport. The new 30,000 square foot building is around the same size as the old one, but it's laid out differently so it can be better utilized. The money for the new facility came from an eight million dollar federal grant. According to Malone, it was more economical to rebuild than remodel.
"It's much more flexible to train in...Some of the spaces are bigger," explained Malone. "The group spaces are bigger. So you can just do a lot more with it."
But nearly 50 of the 120 servicemen who call the new building home won't spend much time here at first. Beginning this weekend they will deploy to the Middle East to replace battle-damaged communications systems and install new, additional ones. It's an emotional time for those leaving as well as their families.
"I really do miss my family," said Master Sergeant Richard Dyer. "That's the hardest part, saying bye to them."
"Missing them is the hardest part of all," said Staff Sergeant Jack Ennis.
"Usually when your husband is at work you can pick up the phone and say hey, tell him about your day if there's something you need to tell him," said Dyer's wife, Mary. "When they're gone, you just kind of have to wait until they call."
The old building will become property of the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport Authority. The airmen being deployed are expected to return in November.