DANBURY Conn.—Sgt. Calogero Parisineto moved from Brazil to Danbury, Connecticut in 1990. As a child, he was fascinated by the military and looked forward to becoming old enough to enlist.
In August 2006, Parisineto received his American citizenship. A month later, he enlisted in the Connecticut Army National Guard.
He admits feeling surprised when he arrived for his first drill at the old Manchester armory.
“I loved it, but expected to drill somewhere a little more modern,” he said with a smile.
He could not have predicted that a state-of-the-art $35 million, 18-acre, 95,885 square foot Armed Forces Reserve Center would open less than a decade later in his home town. Parisineto, an OEF veteran, said he feels his fellow members of A Co. 1-102d Inf., finally have somewhere that fits their needs.
The Danbury AFRC was constructed for just that reason: to give Connecticut National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve units stationed in Connecticut a facility that meets their logistic, administrative and training needs, but also to reinforce the presence of the Connecticut military in Danbury.
The first Danbury armory was built in 1913 at 54 West Street at a total cost of $50,000. In 1993, after 80 years of use, the West Street Armory was given to Western Connecticut State University.
“The Connecticut Army National Guard is extremely proud to be re-establishing its long local connection with the citizens of Danbury, dating back over 100 years,” said Maj. Gen. Thaddeus J. Martin, Connecticut’s adjutant general.
Martin said the facility will ensure a Connecticut presence in Danbury for many future generations.
The AFRC ribbon-cutting and memorialization ceremony was held on May 30. Honorary guests included Brig. Gen. Dwayne Edwards, deputy commanding general of the 99th Regional Support Command, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, representatives of U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and Congresswoman Elizabeth Etsy’s offices, and the Honorable Mark Boughton, Mayor of Danbury.
In addition to A Co. 1-102d Inf., CTARNG units who will now call the new Danbury AFRC home include, the 142nd Medical Co. and CTARNG Field Maintenance Shop #5 (Regional Organizational Maintenance Shop), which supports both the 143rd CSSB and and the 928th Military Working Dog Detachment.
The AFRC will also be the new residence of the Army Reserve’s 411th Civil Affairs Co., 417th Instructor Battalion, 325th Military Intelligence Co., and the 325th Transportation Det., all part of the 99th Regional Support Command.
Lt. Col. Joseph Danao, CTARNG Environmental Officer and Deputy CFMO (Construction and Facilities Management Office), oversaw the planning and construction of the AFRC. He said every step of the AFRC project was a joint effort between the Connecticut Guard and Army Reserve.