A new Army Reserve center officially opened its doors this week in central Pennsylvania. The place near Danville serves more than 300 soldiers from the Army Reserve and the PA National Guard.
It's an 80,000 square foot facility near Danville. The Armed Forces Reserve Center serves more than 300 soldiers from four different units. The Army Reserve and National Guard units were previously based in Lewisburg, Bloomsburg and Berwick.
"Basically what that did is combine all these old buildings and put us all in a nice, new modern facility to better serve our soldiers," said Major Lou Gansell, Battalion Operations Officer.
Ground was broken on the facility in May of 2010. The center opened last August. Soldiers immediately went to work helping flood victims in central Pennsylvania.
"We had 330 soldiers on duty helping the community out with flood recovery and what not. We provided a very valuable service to the community," said Major Gansell.
He added the new center is a modern one that provides plenty of space for more than 50 military vehicles. The facility also has a family action center where military families can go for support.
"Our soldiers are putting their lives on the line, but they're not the only ones deployed. Their families are also in deployment with them," said Major Gansell.
The simulation room lets soldiers practice with realistic weapons. They hook the weapons up to the machines over here. Those big screens have the targets on them. They shoot the targets with the weapons and describe it as one giant video game.
The Army Reserve and National Guard use the facility for training on the weekends, but Major Gansell said the building is staffed year round, even when units are not training there.