Temple of Readiness

May 2018
Guard Roots
Army Guard headquarters in testament to the determination of a Korean War veteran who wanted future Guardsmen to be better prepared for combat

THE 33 GOVERNORS ASSEMBLED at the Army National Guard Readiness Center in Arlington, Virginia, early June 11, 2004, were clearly impressed by the place even if they were only there for a solemn occasion.

Rick Perry from Texas, Mike Huckabee from Arkansas and Jennifer Granholm from Michigan were among those waiting for an escort to the Washington National Cathedral to attend the funeral of President Ronald Reagan.

Its believed to be the largest body of state commanders in chief to gather in that grand facility A few of them looked around the three-story, marble-floored foyer in awe and wondered: How did the Guard get this?

The two simple answers about that part of Guard history are Herb Temple and not easily.

National Guard Bureau leaders referenced some of that history when the facility was officially renamed the Herbert R. Temple Jr. Army National Guard Readiness Center on Feb. 22, 2017, for the revered retired lieutenant general from California. Temple dreamed big and became the Army Guards Don Quixote during his years as the two-star director and NGBs three-star chief in the 1980s, said Chaplain (Col.) Ed Brandt.

“[General Temple] had to fight relentlessly for approval and funding for this $38 million project. There was plenty of resistance to the Army National Guard directorate getting its own building and ultimately the influence that would come with it,” noted Lt. Gen.

Timothy Kadavy, the Army Guards current director. The facility that now bears Temples name has grown considerably since officials dedicated the original readiness center at Arlington Hall Station in April 1993.

Frequently called Arlington Hall, the concrete-and-glass center of250,000 square feet remains the home of the Army Guard directorate, which coordinates federal readiness programs across the 54 states, territories and the District of Columbia An adjoining 250,000-square-foot structure has housed NGBs Joint Staff since 2011. Some 2,500 military personnel and civilians work at the campus that, depending on traffic, is a five or 10-minute ride from the Pentagon.

The distance seemed like five or 10 light years in the early 1980s when Temple, as director, decided the Army Guard had to build its own headquarters. It would be majestic enough to show the world what the Guard was all about and fill every Army Guardsmen who visited with a sense of purpose and pride.

“In addition to housing the Army Guard directorate, the building should represent the National Guard, the militia and its historic role as the nation’s senior military organization,” Temple recalls of his thinking at the time. A statue of a colonial minuteman standing tall before the centers front entrance makes that point.

It wasn’t the Guard s first directorate-level readiness center. Officials broke ground in June 1983 at then- Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland for what was initially called the Air National Guard Support Center. It was dedicated in July 1985. That readiness center is now named for retired Lt. Gen. John B. Conaway, who initiated the project when he was the Air Guard director. Conaway followed Temple into the NGB chief’s chair in 1990.

There was a fundamental reason why the Air Guard and Army Guard directorates needed those centers, experts say. Their numbers were increasing as the components’ training and operational missions multiplied, and they were rapidly running out of room in the Pentagon.

“The Army management reviews consistently criticized NGB for not consolidating to better coordinate operations,” Temple says. “The Army Guard’s directorate staff was already cramped into Pentagon space that was unproductive and unhealthy. If one person became sick, many others became sick. Corrective measures needed to be taken.”

In addition, elements of the Army Guard directorate were scattered across several locations, including Arlington Hall and in Edgewood, Maryland, some 70 miles away north of Baltimore. A 90-minute meeting in Edgewood could eat up an entire day because of the D.C. regions traffic. “It was not an efficient use of our time,” says retired Maj. Gen. John D’Araujo, a former Army Guard director.

“I had no preconceived idea that we would ever build a building,” Temple says. “If the walls of the Pentagon had been rubber and I could have expanded them and put everything in the Pentagon, that was the preferable thing to do.”

But those walls, built of concrete during World War II, didn’t expand, and the Pentagon powers made it clear they wouldn’t make any more space available for the Guard. “Space was becoming a premium,” D’Araujo says. “We were actually being squeezed for space rather than expanding.”

There were other options: Rent adequate commercial space for the entire directorate or buy a building. Both were prohibitively expensive. Temple chose another path—build a center where the entire directorate could be under one roof.

TWO THINGS CAN BE SAID about the structure built on 15 acres of the site that housed the Army Signal Intelligence Service code-breakers during World War II. It reflected Temples vision of how the Army Guard should be an equal partner with the Army And it was the right building at the right time when the Army Guard was required to do just that.

It also wasn’t built in a vacuum, and it was certainly not the only project on Temple’s plate.

Although not everyone, including adjutants general, agreed with him, Temple believed that the Army Guard had to be educated, trained and equipped like the active-component Army. It had to be a fighting force, he insisted, that was ready to go to war in a matter of weeks when the nation called.

He had learned some painful lessons about being unprepared for war when he went to the Korean War as a California Army Guardsmen without basic or advanced individual training. He suffered from malaria until frostbitten feet forced him to leave that battlefield. Temple remained in the Guard after receiving a direct commission, and he vowed to prevent his combat experience from happening to future Guard soldiers if he was ever in a position of authority.

That happened in 1982 when he became the Army Guard’s director, after climbing the command ladder, serving as the Army Guard’s first chief of mobilization and readiness, and spending four years as deputy director. He gets the credit for transforming the Guard during the 1980s into the force that it is today.

Temple raised training and professional military education requirements. He provided Guard soldiers and units with opportunities to deploy overseas for training. He also convinced Army leaders to equip the Guard with the new tanks and aircraft that were going to active units. The Army, and even some states, sometimes chafed at the pace and amount of change.

If it seemed that someone in authority objected to everything that Temple tried to do to transform the Guard, he ran into similar roadblocks when it came to building the readiness center.

The Army didn’t want the Guard directorate to leave the Pentagon even though it refused to make room for all of its elements. Many of the 200 or so people serving at a former Nike missile site in Edgewood fought the idea of relocating to Northern Virginia. They appealed to members of Maryland’s congressional delegation who got the funding killed in the House Armed Services Committee. The future didn’t look promising.

But Temple also found friends in high places who kept his dream alive. That included acquiring the property where it could be constructed, obtaining the funding through the Senate, and getting ideas for the new center’s “productivity” from IBM.

About 15 acres of State Department property might be available at Arlington Hall Station, Temple was told. He appealed for support to the Army’s assistant secretary for installations and logistics named John Shannon, who had been a War College classmate. Shannon apparently took the matter to Army Secretary John O. Marsh Jr., Temple recalled. And Shannon delivered good news: “Herb, it’s yours.”

Marsh approved the realignment of the Army Guard at Arlington Hall based on a 1986 study advocating NGB consolidation.

Now what? wondered Temple, as might a beagle who had caught the Buick. What should the building look like and how should it be built to maximize productivity? Col. John Philbrick, the chief of programming and budgeting, explored that issue and discovered the state-of-the-art IBM headquarters for Canada in Toronto. An Army Guard delegation visited the complex and discovered, among other things, how IBM used heat from its computers to warm the entire building and newly developed fiber optics to streamline communications.

“General Temple said if we’re going to do this, we’ve got to be at the leading edge of technology because that’s going to change very quickly By God, he was right,” D’Araujo says. “He got a number of those ideas from that visit to IBM Canada.”

PEOPLE IN EDGEWOOD, however, were raising hell. The acrimony hit a high point when Temple and other NGB personnel visited that facility. Edgewood staff members, local politicians and the media were waiting. That was where, Temple recalls, he learned the House of Representatives had killed the initial $22 million appropriation.

“I was totally surprised by this news and embarrassed before the media,” he says. But he stood his ground. “I responded by regretting the congressional action, but the Edgewood facility would be abandoned. The action of removing the funds meant that the high-quality facility we proposed to construct would not come to fruition and a less desirable alternative would be necessary”.

That was the wrong answer in Edgewood. “Arrogant was among the terms thrown at me,” Temple adds. “We tried to assuage as much concern about our Edgewood people’s future as we could. However, if we were to improve the work environment at NGB and satisfy our obligation to Army management, the consolidation was essential.”

Finding the funding remained a challenge. Temple was advised to contact Robert Walker, who had completed a six-year enlistment in the Tennessee Army Guard in 1984 and was a staff member for Sen. James Sasser of Tennessee, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.

“Sasser took it,” Temple says. “How the hell he got it through everything, I don’t know. But he obviously fought off the Maryland delegation in the Senate, and he won the round in the joint conference committee with the House. The money was back in. Jim Sasser became an angel in our orbit.”

Designing the center to accommodate a work force of about 950 people and 640 vehicles, with a spacious cafeteria, began in April 1988. Construction started that September. The Army Guard directorate began occupying the building in 1992, and it was dedicated April 22,1993.

What had jokingly been called “Herb’s Temple” soon impressed those who saw it.

Regularly scheduled shuttle vans eventually resolved the issue of getting to and from the Pentagon. And the Army’s brass, including the chief of staff, was so impressed with the center, D’Araujo adds, that “we started getting requests from the senior leadership to use the facility for meetings and conferences because the Pentagon was difficult because of space and accommodations.”

The readiness center became a functioning entity between two of the Army Guards peak periods during the 1990s—the Persian Gulf War in 1990-91 when the directorate was based in the Pentagon, and peacekeeping missions to the Sinai and the Balkans, as well as the Persian Gulf, beginning in 1994, after the relocation to Arlington Hall.

All told, 62,411 Guard soldiers in 398 units mobilized for the Gulf War. The tally approximated 13,400 from 1994-99. Did the new readiness centers concept of “productivity” make the second mobilization mission easier than the first?

There’s no definitive answer, indicate Guard officers who experienced both operations.

The Pentagon provided immediate access to the Army’s operational elements “because you could talk to all your Army staff points of contact just by walking to their offices,” says retired Col. John Slonina, the chief of the Army Guard directorate’s Readiness Division in the 1990s. However, after the Army Guard directorate was consolidated at the new readiness center, “it was very easy for me to get [Guard business] done,” he adds. “The Army Guard staff had been spread out all over the place. I think the readiness center was great for getting the staff together.”

The fact that the Army Guard has mobilized and deployed 561,000 Guard soldiers for worldwide service since the 9/11 terrorist attacks underscores the point. “I could not imagine mobilizing more than a half million Guard soldiers without this readiness center,” Kadavy said last year.

NGBs Joint Staff soon followed the Army Guard directorate’s lead, consolidating much of its staff from their cramped Pentagon quarters and other locations into the 14-story Jefferson Plaza I office building in Arlington’s Crystal City section in 1998. While it was hardly a military facility, JPl did provide space and comfort for the staff to function in one location.

But the 9/11 attacks made it clear that an unprotected downtown office building was no place for nearly 1,200 NGB staffers. The 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Act made it official: NGB would leave JPl.

The Pentagon was the preferred destination, says retired Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum, the then-NGB chief. “The Pentagon clearly is big enough to put the bureau in there. They just have to move out some of the nonessential crap…. We’re real players. Why in hell aren’t we in the Pentagon?”

Given that the situation was not going to change, building a 250,000-square-foot addition on the Guard’s readiness center close to the Pentagon for the Joint Staff and “hardening” the entire complex with more security was the option.

The “Wedge,” as some call the addition, has five stories above ground and three below. Its glass exterior makes it look as different from the original readiness center as that building differed from the Pentagon. It opened in 2011.

THE FRUITS OF THREE DECADES OF LA BO R were evident at Arlington Hall last year when the readiness center was named for Temple. It was the fifth military facility to bear his name, says Temple, who has a charming way of deflecting the limelight.

During the ceremony, he urged adjutants general ‘to tell their units, their commands that everything here, this building, all of us, are here for their soldiers. That’s what counts.”

Temple also had something to say about the building being dedicated to him. It required special permission from the Army because he is still alive.

“I am very proud that my name is associated with the readiness center,” said the man who is now 90. “Of course, I thought about such an event. However, I knew the policies regulating such matters and was perfectly satisfied knowing that I had some role in the matter without my name emblazoned on the wall.”

Temple was told that every effort would be made to have the center renamed for him after he died. He recalls, “And I said ‘Look, as far as I’m concerned, there is no hurry And after I die, if they change their minds about naming the building, they would not hear a word from me.'”

BOB HASKELL is a retired Maine Army National Guard master sergeant and a freelance journalist in Falmouth, Mass.


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