VaANG breaks ground on its first MILCON project since relocation to JBLE

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Lucretia Cunningham
  • 192nd Wing

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. — Virginia National Guard leaders welcomed community representatives to the installation in Hampton on March 31, 2021, to celebrate the 192nd Wing’s first military construction project since its move from Sandston in 2007. U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott, Adjutant General of Virginia Maj. Gen. Timothy Williams and 192nd Wing Commander Col. Christopher Batterton each grabbed a shovel to ceremoniously break ground on what is to become a permanent headquarters facility for the unit’s 185th Cyber Operations Squadron.

The ground-breaking party donned U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hard hats to turn the dirt at the footprint for the projected 10,400 square-foot facility complete with 4,000 square feet of administrative operations space and a 6,000 square-foot sensitive compartmented information facility (SCIF). The project is expected to be completed by August 2022.

Distinguished visitors in attendance included Virginia Rep. David Reid, Virginia Rep. Glenn Davis, and Virginia Secretary of Veteran’s and Defense Affairs, Carlos Hopkins. A representative for U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria also attended.

Batterton hosted the ceremony and said the facility is the start of a larger intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance project on the base and praised the squadron’s efforts.

“This new permanent home for the Bats complements an unmatched ISR campus here at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, and we look forward to the continued innovative collaboration with our mission partners here at Langley,” Batterton said. “The lineage of the COS is remarkable, and the team impresses us constantly with their expertise and professionalism while executing cyber defense and security for our nation and the commonwealth at a time when so many threats continue to attack in new ways we’ve never seen before.”

Formerly known as the 185th Aero Squadron, the 185th COS was officially reactivated in June 2019, 100 years to the day its World War I predecessor was demobilized in 1919. The 185th Aero Squadron became known as “the Bats” as their mission involved night-pursuit tactics to compromise German warfighters during WWI. Its missions during that time were fairly advanced and parallels the 185th COS’ present-day mission to venture into an evolving cyber battleground.

Since its reactivation, the 185th COS has occupied leased office space off post, and the unit stands to gain much more than increased security and convenience by relocating within Langley’s gates.

“The new facility also creates opportunities for our cyber warriors to have more capabilities at their disposal, making them much more effective and efficient at their jobs,” said Lt. Col. Jonathan Esparza, 185th COS commander.

The single-story building will provide 24/7 mission capabilities for the Air National Guard and will also consist of space for a command section, mission support offices, training and meeting areas, and support to accommodate the COS’ expanding mission portfolio.