NEW CASTLE – Gov. Jack Markell, the state’s Congressional delegation and the Delaware Army National Guard broke ground on a $27.8M project at the Guard’s Army Aviation Support Facility. The project will include two new buildings and the expansion of the existing facility.
The project, which will provide three units of the Delaware Army National Guard with state-of-the-art aviation maintenance and storage facilities, is scheduled to take 18 months to complete.
“The fine men and women serving in Delaware’s National Guard are being called on to protect our homeland at an unprecedented level, and they are serving with distinction and honor,” Markell said. “”They volunteer to put their your lives on the line for our freedom, and we owe it to them to ensure they have the tools to do their jobs effectively. That’s why facilities like the one we are breaking ground on today are so important.”
Immediately following the ceremony, the Delaware Army National Guard held a retirement ceremony for the UH-1 “Huey” helicopter, the last of which will be leaving the state mid-November.
The AASF supports three units: A Company, 3/238th Aviation Regiment, which deploys to Iraq with 8 BlackHawks later this year; 121st Medical Company (Air Ambulance); and Det. 7, OSACOM, which flies a C-12 airplane.
The project included construction of a nearly 50,000 square-foot addition and improving the existing shops and administrative space. This will provide the units with a new operations and maintenance hangar designed to work on the UH-60.
A new unheated storage facility will be built. The 30,000-square foot building will house 14 BlackHawks and a C-12 airplane. Having the aircraft protected from the elements prolongs the life of the aircraft and reduces time and money spent on maintenance, said Col. Robert Davis, State Aviation Officer.
“This project is a tremendous boon the state and the Delaware Army National Guard,” said Maj. Gen. Frank Vavala, Adjutant General of the Delaware National Guard. “It means we will have the proper space and equipment to maintain our new helicopters. It will ensure that we can prepare Soldiers and aircraft for deployments and emergency support of the state.”