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194th Air Support Operations Group breaks ground on new complex

  • Published
  • By Airman Jordaan Kvale
  • 194th Wing

CAMP MURRAY, WASH. -- The 194th Air Support Operations Group held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new complex here, Jan. 4, 2023.

The process leading up to the groundbreaking ceremony began roughly nine years ago, although the brainstorming behind it started years before. In 2014, then Lt. Col. John McKinley, 248th Civil Engineer Squadron, and then Col. Jeremy Horn, 194th ASOG commander, began planning for the new complex.

For the next few years, CE accomplished the initial programming for the project as well as the budget for the design. By 2018, CE was given the authorization to solicit for the design. The design was created by an outside company, but CE reviewed it and provided input to meet the ASOG’s needs. The design developed and evolved through the years until it was finalized in 2021.

Finally, nine years after the whole process began, Congress agreed to approve the $34.6 million awarded to the new ASOG complex. Once complete, this will be the 194th Wing’s largest contract in history. The 56,000 square foot complex will be the home for the ASOG and subordinate units, which are currently dispersed throughout Camp Murray. It will consist of shared office space for administrative functions, dedicated communication training areas, maintenance shops and bays, a state-of-the art fitness center and multiple simulator suites.

“There are a lot of updated tactics, techniques and procedures now, where we're working together much more,” said Lt. Col. Hartzel Travis Hartzel, 116th ASOS commander. “That’s the Wing’s intent too. How do we break down these stovepipes from all these different mission sets? This building is going to allow us to do that.”

Not only does the new facility bring a new sense of collaboration within the ASOG and subordinate units, but it will also boost efficiency.

“Time is the most valuable resource for our guardsmen,” said Hartzel. “Being all together in the same place and being able to function there, even if you save 30 minutes off of a drill period or an exercise you're doing there, because you don't have to drive over to a different location. All of your equipment is co-located right there, your vehicles are there, and you can move out to the field at a much quicker pace."

The benefits of this complex extend far beyond just the ASOG. The new facility will free up a substantial amount of real estate for other units. McKinley views the ASOG as the first domino for Wing-wide improvement.

“There's going to be a lot of changing and morphing that's going to better enable all the organizations within the wing to have better training facility space,” he said.

It has been quite a journey from when the ASOG complex was just an idea scribbled on a napkin to its groundbreaking ceremony.

At the ceremony itself, Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, Adjutant General, promised that when the project is complete in the fall of 2025, “It will be worth all the time and effort and money that has gone into it.”