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Camp Grayling celebrates 100 years

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Maj. Gen. Gregory Vadnais, Director of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and the Adjutant General of the Michigan National Guard are in attendance for the celebration of Camp Grayling’s 100 year anniversary, Camp Grayling, Mich., on July 19, 2013.  Camp Grayling, located in central northern Michigan, is the largest National Guard joint training center in the United States. Year around training is conducted on its 147,000 acres by the National Guard, as well as active and reserve components of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. David Eichaker/released)

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Maj. Gen. Gregory Vadnais, Director of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and the Adjutant General of the Michigan National Guard are in attendance for the celebration of Camp Grayling’s 100 year anniversary, Camp Grayling, Mich., on July 19, 2013. Camp Grayling, located in central northern Michigan, is the largest National Guard joint training center in the United States. Year around training is conducted on its 147,000 acres by the National Guard, as well as active and reserve components of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. David Eichaker/released)

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Maj. Gen. Gregory Vadnais, Director of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and the Adjutant General of the Michigan National Guard are in attendance for the celebration of Camp Grayling’s 100 year anniversary, Camp Grayling, Mich., on July 19, 2013.  Camp Grayling, located in central northern Michigan, is the largest National Guard joint training center in the United States. Year around training is conducted on its 147,000 acres by the National Guard, as well as active and reserve components of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. David Eichaker/released)

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Maj. Gen. Gregory Vadnais, Director of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and the Adjutant General of the Michigan National Guard are in attendance for the celebration of Camp Grayling’s 100 year anniversary, Camp Grayling, Mich., on July 19, 2013. Camp Grayling, located in central northern Michigan, is the largest National Guard joint training center in the United States. Year around training is conducted on its 147,000 acres by the National Guard, as well as active and reserve components of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. David Eichaker/released)

U.S. Army from the 1st Battery-119th Field Artillery Regiment fire a 21- gun salute in honor of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s arrival at Camp Grayling, Camp Grayling, Mich., July 19, 2013. The salute was the commencement for the pass in review ceremony for Camp Grayling’s 100 year anniversary. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. David Eichaker/released)

U.S. Army from the 1st Battery-119th Field Artillery Regiment fire a 21- gun salute in honor of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s arrival at Camp Grayling, Camp Grayling, Mich., July 19, 2013. The salute was the commencement for the pass in review ceremony for Camp Grayling’s 100 year anniversary. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. David Eichaker/released)

U.S. Army from the 1st Battery-119th Field Artillery Regiment fire a 21- gun salute in honor of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s arrival at Camp Grayling, Camp Grayling, Mich., July 19, 2013. The salute was the commencement for the pass in review ceremony for Camp Grayling’s 100 year anniversary. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. David Eichaker/released)

U.S. Army from the 1st Battery-119th Field Artillery Regiment fire a 21- gun salute in honor of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s arrival at Camp Grayling, Camp Grayling, Mich., July 19, 2013. The salute was the commencement for the pass in review ceremony for Camp Grayling’s 100 year anniversary. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. David Eichaker/released)

BATTLE CREEK AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE -- Camp Grayling, the nation's largest National Guard joint training center, was founded in 1913 when Grayling lumber baron Rasmus Hanson donated 13,000 acres of land for the purpose of military training. Today Camp Grayling spans 147,000 acres in three different counties and hosts year round training for not only active and reserve components of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard, but also more than 100 law enforcement agencies and units from Canada, Latvia, the United Kingdom, Hungary, and Serbia.

July 20, 2013, marked the 100-year celebration for Camp Grayling. More than 4,000 active Michigan service men and women, along with top military dignitaries, and Michigan elected officials gathered to celebrate this historic day.

"Today, we need to remember those we've lost," said Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. "I'd also like to say thank you to the men and women of the National Guard for the wonderful things you do. We are here to support you."

The event was organized largely from the efforts of the Camp Grayling Historical Society and from generous donations from Michigan businesses supporting the troops. The event not only allowed an opportunity to celebrate the anniversary, but also a chance to showcase the latest defense technology and some historical Michigan military assets.

"This is a great training facility for our soldiers due to the maneuverability it has," said Michigan Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel Lincoln. "We wanted today to be a day that our soldiers remembered. We wanted them to look back and say 'I was at the Grayling 100-year celebration'."

The celebration brings attention to the capabilities of Camp Grayling as a training ground for multiple services, law enforcement, and foreign armies. Since 1913, every major conflict the U.S. has fought in has featured troops trained on these hallowed grounds. Every soldier in Michigan has trained at Camp Grayling.

"This is a very special place," said Maj. Gen. Gregory J. Vadnais, the Adjutant General and the Director of Military and Veterans Affairs for Michigan. "There are very few installations that have the capabilities we do. We can conduct full spectrum operations and we have the advantage of being able to train in diverse conditions due to the four seasons we get."

In the last few years Camp Grayling has expanded its facilities, capabilities, and communications to meet the growing needs of their soldiers and the warriors that train there.

"There's been a lot of money put into Camp Grayling recently to improve the training areas we have," said Lincoln, a 41-year military veteran who has spent a large part of his career at Camp Grayling.

Camp Grayling will continue to lead the way in advancements toward energy independence and alternative energy sources while maintaining its status as the best possible place to train our troops with the most modern, realistic training capabilities.