Bravo Troop relocates

August 7, 2015
Rep. Ray Franz (R-Onekama) and Brigadier General Michael Stone.

Rep. Ray Franz (R-Onekama) and Brigadier General Michael Stone.

By Allison Scarbrough. Contributing Editor.

MANISTEE — Dwindling recruits and cuts in defense spending have led to the Bravo Troop “Black Knights” 1-126 CAV to be pulled from the Manistee Armory and relocated to Wyoming, Mich.
Rep. Ray Franz (R-Onekama) and Brigadier General Michael Stone, who is the assistant adjutant general of installations for the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, will hold a town meeting Friday, Aug. 7, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the Manistee Armory to discuss the issue.

The troop has been assigned to the Manistee location for 60 years and has been deployed several times, including a deployment to Afghanistan a few years ago, Stone said.

The decision to pull the troop from Manistee was made by the Michigan National Guard leadership, the general said. Manistee, like many armories across the nation, has not been meeting its recruitment goals, he said. Six units in Michigan are moving, he said. “It’s part of a movement to consolidate.”

There are 43 armories in the State of Michigan, the general said. Currently, construction of new armories is down 75 percent.

The Bravo Troop includes approximately 70 soldiers, Stone said, and average troop totals about 90 or more.

As far as what is going to happen to the 60-year-old 15,000-square-foot armory building remains to be seen, Stone said, but it is possible “other military entities” may have a use for it.

In the meantime, Franz and Stone are making their rounds in West Michigan to get the word out about the troop’s relocation and hopefully increase recruits. They stopped to talk to MCP Friday shortly before heading to West Shore Community College where they planned to promote the National Guard’s tuition assistance program. The tuition bill passed last year with a rare unanimous bipartisan vote. It provides $6,000 in tuition assistance per year to soldiers attending a Michigan institution, Stone said. Michigan was one of just seven states that did not offer the tuition program.

In an effort to bolster recruits, the National Guard is adding 18 recruiters by placing current full-time staff in those positions, Stone said.

Although recruitment numbers are down, the Michigan National Guard “ranks very high in deployable units,” the general said. “The troops we have are great troops.”

The B-Troop was activated in 1950.

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