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A fitting new home for Georgia Guard
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The Georgia National Guard has had a higher profile in the past decade than it has had in years, due to the fact that so many of its members have been deployed overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan. And as of last week, it now has an official new headquarters befitting that enhanced status.

Ribbon-cutting ceremonies took place last Wednesday — Pearl Harbor Day, fittingly — at the new $29 million Joint Headquarters Building at Clay National Guard Center in Marietta. The facility is on the campus of what used to be the Naval Air Station Atlanta and shares a runway with Dobbins Air Reserve Base and Lockheed Martin. The center takes its name from late four-star Army Gen. Lucius D. Clay of Marietta, who was commander of all Allied Forces in Europe just after World War II and oversaw the famed Berlin Airlift.

“Seventy years ago, President Roosevelt declared that this was a day that will live in infamy,” said Gov. Nathan Deal during the ceremony. “How appropriate, that some 70 years later, not only has the United States triumphed in that conflict, but it has triumphed in many others around the world. And as a part of those triumphs, the National Guard has played a vital role.”

“This will be a facility of which we are all going to be proud,” Deal told those assembled for the ribbon-cutting in the 7,200-square-foot drill room, which doubles as an auditorium. “I believe we should actually take up an offering at a place that looks this nice.”

The center will house the Georgia Army National Guard, the Air National Guard and the Department of Defense. Some 700 people will work in its 220,500-square-foot building, and it will host at various times the state’s 11,100 Army Guard members, 2,800 Air Guard and 850 State Defense Force “weekend warriors.”

The three-story building holds more than 1 million feet of information technology cables and has a kitchen that can serve 1,500 meals a day.

There are even acoustically sealed rehearsal rooms for the National Guard’s band, which performs at a variety of events around the state.

All in all, it’s a fitting headquarters facility for a force that sacrifices much to help preserve our freedom.

—Marietta Daily Journal