PORTSMOUTH, OH, UNITED STATES
Story by Stephanie Beougher
A new plaque will now hang on the wall just inside the front entrance to the Ohio Army National Guard’s readiness center in Portsmouth to memorialize the facility’s recent renovation.
Maj. Gen. John C. Harris Jr., Ohio adjutant general, unveiled the plaque during a ceremony March 11 to highlight about $1.8 million in renovations at the facility, named the Sgt. Edward S. Doan Armory. Harris emphasized how investing in improvements at the facility is tied to the tradition of the Citizen-Soldier in Portsmouth and Scioto County, which dates to the War of 1812.
“We should be inspired by that tradition and ensure our Soldiers who serve at this facility and in this community understand their responsibility to that legacy,” Harris said. “Our responsibility is to make sure they have the tools and resources to do that.”
Renovation of the facility began with design in May 2019 and ended in September 2021. The project included new perimeter fencing; masonry repairs; new windows, roofs and doors; a fully renovated kitchen; and a lighting upgrade for both the armory and the organizational storage building. All work followed Ohio’s historical preservation standards.
The cost of funding the project was split between the federal (75%, or about $1.4 million) and state (25%, or about $470,000) governments.
Retired Col. Chip Tansill, director of Installation Management and Resources for the Adjutant General’s Department, oversaw the Portsmouth project as well as improvements underway at armories in Newark, Middletown and Stow.
“The renovation of our Army National Guard armories is critical to our ability to assist the citizens of Ohio,” Tansill said. “Our efforts in support of the COVID-19 pandemic identified the need and requirement to update our facilities, allowing our units to assemble and conduct missions within their communities. We plan to renovate a total of 20 facilities by 2028.”
The Sgt. Edward S. Doan Armory began as a U.S. Army Reserve Center in 1959. The building was designed and built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and served the Army Reserve until it was acquired by the Ohio Army National Guard in 1996.
The facility was memorialized at the time of construction for Doan, a Portsmouth native who was killed in action Jan. 31, 1945, in Germany while serving in the U.S. Army with Company F, 311th Infantry, 78th Infantry Division during World War II.
The 1191st Engineer Company is based at the Portsmouth facility and is a horizontal engineering company capable of operating heavy equipment to complete construction projects, including roads and airfields.