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— If nothing else, the military is good at not being seen. Through development of various camouflages, the various branches have nearly perfected the art.

But the military is gifted in being conspicuous, often with the same equipment.

The large camouflaged Army truck might have blended into a backdrop of trees and other greenery, but it was parked alongside Arkansas Highway 12 near Highfill, where it stood out like a brightly painted bus from the 70’s. The large National Guard sign affixed to the side of the oversized bed drew more attention to it.

And there, in the middle of Southwest Artillery Road,was a red-, white- and blue-striped tent between two vacant fields.

The field to the north will be the Northwest Arkansas Armed Forces Reserve Center. The Army and city officials broke ground Saturday.

“We’re probably going to see $22 million spent in this part of the state building this facility,” Maj. Gen.

William Woffard said.

The center is slated to house three National Guard units from First Battalion, 142nd Field Artillery, and four U. S. Army Reserve units, including a recruiting office and a biological/chemical response unit.

“In an attempt to foster greater joint relationships, the recommendation (from the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission) was we’ve got to consolidate our bases,” Woffard said.

The project is part of more than $1 billion in construction of Army facilities from Arkansas to California. This state currently has eight projects in the works. The emphasis on construction appears to be a philosophy change for the Army.

“We’re doing the next three years than I’ve seen since I’ve been in (the Army),” said Maj.

Gen. Robert Casella. “It’s a lot of money for the Reserves.”

The project is expected to take between 18 and 24 months, Woffard said.

The future of the buildings currently being used by the Army Reserves and National Guard has yet to be determined.

News, Pages 10 on 10/14/2009

Print Headline: Work Begins On Northwest Armed Forces Reserve Center

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