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NEWS | Nov. 4, 2014

Pennsylvania National Guard breaks ground for new aviation maintenance instruction building

By Maj. Angela King-Sweigart Pennsylvania National Guard

FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. - Maj. Gen. Wesley Craig, adjutant general of Pennsylvania, representatives from the Pennsylvania National Guard, elected officials, and members of Senate Builders and Leidos Engineering participated in a groundbreaking ceremony Oct. 31 for the construction of a new aviation maintenance instruction building that will be part of the Eastern Army National Guard Aviation Training Site (EAATS).

"This project marks a leap forward in our ability to continue setting the standard for the entire Army aviation community. Whether here at Muir Airfield, or over the battlefield, Pennsylvania flies at the front of the formation," Craig said. "By improving the campus of EAATS with the addition of the long-awaited Aviation Maintenance Instructional Building, we are setting up future aviators for continued success."

When finished, the 85,000-square-foot building will house the school's hardware maintenance trainers and classrooms. The design includes several green energy resources including a solar wall. The $32 million project is anticipated to bring more than 140 jobs to the local area, and 20 percent of the project will use materials with recycled content, extracted or manufactured within a 500-mile radius of Fort Indiantown Gap.

"The need for this facility was identified in 1991, and it's taken some time to secure the funding, but it is a priority and greatly needed for our soldiers training to become aircraft maintainers," said Col. Todd Levendoski, EAATS commander. "I'm really excited about this facility as it will greatly increase our training capacity."

Established in 1981, the EAATS focuses on utility and cargo aircraft training for both officer and enlisted soldiers. The school trains more than 1,700 pilots, aircrew, and mechanics annually from around the country and other nations and is operated by soldiers from the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.