By Bob Allen

MOON TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – A groundbreaking ceremony was held today in Moon Township for a new military facility.

It’s a welcome addition for those worried about the future of local Reserve bases.

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The groundbreaking ceremony is a sign of the new partnership between the Navy and Air Force Reserves.

Construction will begin soon on a naval operational support center on the grounds of the 911th airlift wing in Moon Township.

“Today marks a day in history, as we establish a joint partnership, strategically important to our national defense,” said Col. Craig Peters of the 911th airlift wing.

The $10 million center will replace the Navy’s reserve facility in North Versailles. It will support 300 reservists, providing classrooms, a drill hall, exercise fitness and medical examination.

“This is a Reserve facility,” Navy Reserve Comdr., Vice Adm. Robin Braun, said. “So the people who will train here are part-time sailors. They come from throughout the community. They are doctors, lawyers, policemen, firemen, teachers. They come from all walks of life. They do this on a part-time basis, to support their country.”

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Braun says local Navy Reservists are already serving, around the world.

“In the past four months, sailors from this NOSC have been called to Afghanistan to work their on-board ships off the Horn of Africa, doing piracy ops,” Braun said.

Earlier this year, the air force proposed shooting down the 911th. Now, the closing is on hold, and the defense department is locating a naval facility on the grounds.

“It’s harder to close when you are able to say that this is the Navy and the Air Force Base — together —  and there will be other training, nearby,” Rep. Tim Murphy of Upper St. Clair said. “We’re looking forward to have the Marines, nearby, and the Coast Guard, nearby.”

“What it shows is there’s a synergy that exists here, when you have the Navy, Marine Corps here, you have the Army Reserve, you have the Air National Guard, and the Air Force Reserve, and the new commissary coming. Obviously, we have a synergy here, that helps us build on the success,” he said.

The navy operational support center will open in 2014. Military officials say it’s the first phase of a long-awaited, joint readiness training center in western Pennsylvania.

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