The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Alaska District transferred ownership of an Army National Guard armory to the community of Scammon Bay on Dec. 21, 2022. This real estate transaction marks the first divestiture of military property within the state under the Bob Stump Act. Eight more facilities are scheduled for turnover in the coming years.
“This program allows us to partner with the National Guard and native villages to give the buildings a new purpose and support the infrastructure needs of rural communities,” said Col. Damon Delarosa, district commander.
The National Guard owns armories in remote villages across the state that were constructed during the Cold War due to Alaska’s close proximity to Russia.
“Many of the facilities are no longer in use, so the divestiture program allows them to be used for additional housing and community services in the villages where they reside,” said Gary Hanson, Real Estate Division chief.
In rural Alaska, available buildings are rare and new construction is costly. By divesting the property from the Army, Scammon Bay will be able to make use of an existing facility rather than having to endure the cost of a new development.
“This program really is a Phoenix,” said Kevin Vakalis, realty officer for the Alaska Army National Guard. “These deep-rooted military facilities, once lost in the ashes of the Cold War, are now rebirthed into continued public service to support their communities.”
The Bob Stump National Defense Authorization Act grants USACE the authority to directly divest excess National Guard properties in wildlife refuges in Alaska. The district is using this authority to transfer excess properties to local communities around the state.
Scammon Bay hosts a population of more than 500 people. It is located within the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge near the Bering Sea in the southwest region of Alaska.
To learn more about the program, visit: https://www.poa.usace.army.mil/Media/News-Stories/Article/3001547/national-guard-armories-find-new-purpose-on-last-frontier/