By Michelle Bates
The Webster Parish Police Jury is drafting a resolution to Gov. John Bel Edwards, Sen. Bill Cassidy, Sen. John Kennedy and Rep. Mike Johnson in support of obtaining federal funding for the Regional Training Institute at Camp Minden.
Col. Carl Thompson, (RET), explained Gen. Bennett C. Landreneaux (RET) initiated the RTI, a school to train soldiers in the mission of the Louisiana National Guard, with individualized training in the technical field each guardsman will serve, whether it is military truck driving, operating heavy equipment or logistics.
Phase I of the RTI was approved by the National Guard Bureau and Congress and completed to the tune of about $23.8 million. An additional $77.2 million is needed to complete phases 2 through 4.
With Phase I complete, Camp Minden Installation Commander Lt. Col. Brad Kendall said Department of Defense funding for the remaining three phases would finish out the $100 million project. All four phases are completely funded by DOD.
The RTI, once all four phases are complete, is designed to cycle about 10,000 soldiers through annually. Also at the completion of the fourth phase, the noncommissioned officers training is set to be moved from Camp Cook in Ball to Camp Minden.
The RTI, once complete has the potential to have a $25 million economic impact on the area – $9.5 million in tax revenue over 10 years, $12 million in the purchase of goods and services, $5 million in operating costs and $8 million in payroll.
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