HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. - Gov. Deval Patrick and Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray joined Gen. Frank J. Grass, chief of the National Guard Bureau, and Maj. Gen. L. Scott Rice, adjutant general of the Massachusetts National Guard, to celebrate the 376th birthday of the National Guard and the grand opening of the Massachusetts National Guard headquarters here.
"The opening of this facility is one example of the critical investments America has made in our National Guard," Grass said. "Today's Guard is the best trained, equipped and led force since its inception – 376 years ago today."
"Hanscom is a valued partner of the Commonwealth. The base boosts the local economy and creates jobs," Patrick said. "The impressive new Joint Force Headquarters creates a permanent headquarters to better support the base's dual military mission."
"As we celebrate the National Guard's 376th birthday, we also celebrate a new beginning in the Commonwealth for the Massachusetts National Guard, Hanscom Air Force Base, and surrounding communities," said Murray, the lieutenant governor. "This partnership will strengthen the Guard's presence, our military security, and resources for our servicemen and women."
The new headquarters has been operational since Nov. 5 and was built to be a state-of-the-art facility – where the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Military Division and Massachusetts National Guard, as a community-based operational force will continue its mission to train as a joint war-fighting force.
The new headquarters maximizes green technologies, ergonomic design and internal and external communication technologies to sustain the highest organizational effectiveness and efficiency. During construction, more than 250 jobs were created to build and design this structure, and it will support the Massachusetts Guard's effort to add 150 new jobs to its state-wide end-strength in 2013.
The newly constructed MANG Joint Force Headquarters at Hanscom solidifies a strategic partnership with the United States Air Force that provides improved physical and data security, superior bandwidth, and an appropriate military infrastructure that strengthens the MANG's state and federal mission readiness to the benefit of the people of Massachusetts and the nation.
"After the Guard's 376 years protecting us, this top-notch facility at of one of Massachusetts' strategic and celebrated bases is a boost to our emergency response efforts and our security," said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. "I'm really proud that Massachusetts continues to lead the way, and I'm grateful to Gov. Patrick and our military leaders for helping to make this happen."
"It is only appropriate that the new headquarters of the Massachusetts National Guard be built alongside the Battle Road between Lexington and Concord where the original Minutemen fought to secure the rights and freedoms we enjoy today," said Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass. "This state-of-the-art facility will ensure that our modern day Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen will be well poised to contend with the threats, man-made and natural, that our Commonwealth and nation can expect to face in the 21st century."
Three hundred and seventy six years ago on December 13, 1636, the Massachusetts National Guard was founded as the Massachusetts Bay Colonial Militia, when town militia companies were organized into three permanent militia regiments. Ever since, the Massachusetts National Guard has provided a trained and ready operational force, serving the community, the commonwealth and the nation.
Throughout the nation and the world wherever Guard members are on duty, troops honored the anniversary with activities including runs and cake cuttings.