At a ceremony at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JB-MDL) today, Rep. Chris Smith (R-Manchester) joined Brigadier General Lisa Hou—the Adjutant General and Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs—and senior leaders and service members of the New Jersey Army National Guard to mark the grand opening of the newly built Lakehurst Readiness Center.
The 40,762 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility—which was made possible in part by $15 million secured in federal funds—is designed to facilitate the training of Army National Guard members and help maintain critical equipment to ensure readiness for deployment.
“Special thanks to the distinguished Adjutant General, Brig. Gen. Lisa Hou, for your extraordinary leadership and service to our country,” said Rep. Smith, who delivered remarks at the Joint Base to mark the occasion. “And special thanks to each of our men and wo men in uniform for their commitment, sacrifice and service to our nation.”
“The nearly $16 million Readiness Center will provide critical maintenance support including repair capability for automotive, ground support, communications and electronics, land combat missile systems, and armament systems,” said Smith, who also delivered remarks at the groundbreaking for the center in April 2022.
“This facility gives our Soldiers a phenomenal foundation for the training that will prepare them for future calls of our state and nation,” said Brig. Gen. Lisa Hou.
Among its amenities, the new modern facility will offer classroom training, administration, maintenance operations, and equipment storage for the 250th Brigade Support Battalion, which serves as the ground maintenance company for the New Jersey Army National Guard’s largest brigade—the 44th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
“Even as we mark the opening of this facility, 2,000 of our fellow citizens from the 44th Infantry Brigade Combat Team plan for their deployment in support of Operation Inherent Resolve,” said Smith. “In 10 days, these New Jersey ‘citizen-soldiers’ will be deploying to the Middle East in what will be the largest deployment of New Jersey National Guard personnel since 2008.”
During his remarks, Smith—who serves as Chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) and senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee—listed just some of the escalating threats that the United States faces, underscoring the compelling need for a strong defense that enhances deterrence.
“Now—more than ever—the United States must enhance and invest in the capabilities that provide deterrence and military power projection across the globe to mitigate threats posed by malign actors,” said Smith.
“The price of peace is eternal vigilance, and that is exactly what you are doing here,” Smith told the Bravo Company command team. “Modern infrastructure like this new, 40,000-square-foot Readiness Center, and the sprawling two-bay KC-46 hanger opened a few months ago, are tangible evidence of the vital and ever-expanding role the Joint Base plays in defending freedom and ensuring the security of the United States.”