A ceremony marking the end of the U.S. Navy’s use of the training facility on Roosevelt Road will be held this weekend, officially ushering in a new tenant for the property, the U.S. Army Reserve Command.
On Saturday, April 21, military staff and community leaders from the surrounding area will meet at the Navy Operational Support Center in Forest Park to pay tribute to the servicemen and women who have trained there. The facility was first commissioned in August 1955, according to a press release issued by the Reserve center.
The Navy Reserve was realigned in early 2005, which resulted in a name change for the facility. It was previously known as the Navy Reserve Center Forest Park.
The facility was established to provide training for Naval and Marine Corps reservists living on the far west side of Chicago and in the western suburbs. In 1961, reservists from Forest Park were recalled to active duty onboard the USS DANIEL A. JOY, home-ported in Chicago, for service during the Cuban Missile Crisis. In 1964, an additional wing was added to the building to provide facilities for the U.S. Army Reserve as well as the U.S. Coast Guard, according to a Reserve center statement. The center was redesignated as a U.S. Armed Forces Reserve Center, the first in the Chicago area, but the U.S. Navy retained control of all facility and maintenance operations.
Following the ceremony, the facility is expected to close no later than Sept. 30. Staff members at the Reserve center were not immediately available to comment on the closing, and a spokesperson for the U.S. Army Reserve Command in Georgia said it was unclear how the facility may be used once that branch takes over.
The closing of the NOSC will end more than 110 years of a major Navy presence within the immediate Chicago area, according to the NOSC statement.
Since the beginning of 2003, more than 500 reservists and active duty personnel have been mobilized through the Reserve center in support of the Iraq War. More than 5,000 funeral honors have been rendered for deceased veterans through the facility as well.