Construction of 7th Group Eglin Home Begins
Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. – It was just a large box of sand. But, it represented the next chapter in the history of the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) from Fort Bragg, N.C., to here in the summer of 2011.
The March 26 Groundbreaking Ceremony for the first phase of construction of the new 7th Group facilities was moved into the base’s Armament Museum after a strong line of severe thunderstorms blew through the Florida panhandle in the earlier morning and dark rainclouds continued to threaten the area.
“The 7th Group has a long history of executing missions with honor, valor and excellence,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. David Edisaune, Armament Center Commanding General. “We promise to give you everything you need to continue that excellence,” he said.
Brig. Gen. Michael Repass, U.S. Army Special Forces Command (Airborne) Commander, thanked the attending local civilian leaders and base community for their support.
“The local civilian community and Team Eglin have all opened their arms and embraced us,” he said.
Wielding shovels for the ceremonial dig besides Edisuane and Repass were Brig. Gen. Joseph Schroedel, Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Southeast Region; retired Brig. Gen. Mike Ferguson, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army; Command
Sergeants Major Mario Vigil and George Bequer from the Special Forces Command and 7th SFG(A) respectively; Distinguished Service Cross recipient MSgt. Brendan O’Connor and his wife, Margaret; and Vice President of the Hansen Phelps Construction Company, Kurt Hazen.
This first phase of construction includes more than 600,000 square feet of facilities according to a Hansen Phelps official. When all of the phases of the construction are completed in 2011, more than $380 million will have been allocated to house and train the 7th Group.
According to Lt. Col. Joe Tyron, SF Command Engineer, this is the first group-sized facility to be built for the recently enhanced Special Forces Group of four battalions. The range complex that surrounds the headquarters and living areas will be state of the art and one of the best in the Special Operations Community according to Tyron.
In the coming months, additional phases of construction will be awarded by the Army Corps of Engineers as Congress appropriates additional monies for the move.
The move of the 7th Group here was mandated by the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission’s report.