New Complex Under Construction For Camp Gruber Warriors
BRAGGS, Oklahoma - The new complex that will help train warriors of the future will be the latest in a line of new additions to Camp Gruber, which is located in Braggs.
The new Operational Readiness Training Complex will provide housing for an additional 600 guardsmen at Camp Gruber.
The Oklahoma National Guard said Saturday's goundbreaking was more than 10 years in the making.
As many as 150,000 guardsmen, law enforcement and emergency responders roll through Camp Gruber each year, preparing for everything from air assaults to natural disasters.
"It's important we give our guardsmen the right training, funding, and leadership to ensure they're ready," Col. Curtis Arnold said.
Arnold says, currently, Camp Gruber can house up to 2,500 soldiers at a time.
And that is important, mainly to keep everyone on the same page.
"Unity of command, continuity of training," he said.
But he says that isn't nearly enough, so Oklahoma's National Guard is increasing that number to more than 3,000 by breaking ground on a new $24 million multi-facility complex.
"And that is the equivalent of a brigade size unit which has always been our goal," Adjutant General Myles Deering said.
Deering says the Operational Readiness Training Complex will add barracks, along with storage, a laundry and a modern dining hall.
"It does keep us viable, it does give us more capacity, more capability," he said.
The location of the new complex is also important, because once it's complete it will set across from the recently built chapel, which makes it the centerpiece of Camp Gruber.
"Around it we're building structures to support the warriors of the future," Arnold said.
Arnold says the facility will also pump money into the local economy because Oklahoma sub-contractors will help build the complex.
There are plans to make more additions like a live firing range nearby, all of it helping make Camp Gruber a premiere training facility.
"It's a great kept secret, what Camp Gruber can do, and I think you'll find anybody that comes through here understands that," he said.
Construction should begin on the new complex later this month.
It's expected to be complete by the end of 2015.