GRAYLING, Mich. (Tribune News Service) — The addition of new facilities at Camp Grayling are intended to better serve women in the service, officials said Friday.

Michigan National Guard officials and state leaders applauded the upgrades during a ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the addition of shower and toilet facilities and a lactation room at the camp’s Army Airfield Armory.

The armory, constructed in 1972, was one of 33 facilities across Michigan targeted for modernization.

Like many facilities of that time, it was constructed for all-male units in the National Guard.

State Sen. Michele Hoitenga, R-Manton, said the Guard is stronger for its female members and these much-needed improvements reinforce the military’s commitment to them.

“It’s encouraging to see continued progress supporting women for their extraordinary contributions, dedication, and sacrifices serving in the military,” Hoitenga said.

Michigan National Guard Maj. Gen. Paul D. Roger, adjunct general and director of the state’s Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, called the modernization a “professional obligation” tied to safety.

“Our obligation to give them the resources, and facilities, the training experience is unwavering,” Roger said. “It’s not something we can compromise with.”

Sgt. 1st Class Julie Babel, who works at the facility, said the improvements serve the women at work now — and in the future. “To have the support of our state leaders, and our direct leadership is profound,” she said.

(c)2023 The Record-Eagle (Traverse City, Mich.)

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(Seth LaCount/U.S. Army)

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