By Staff Sgt. Noshoba Davis, Louisiana National Guard Public Affairs Office
PINEVILLE, La. — Louisiana National Guard Training Center Pineville has a rich history that can be traced back to 1852 when legislature authorized the purchase of 438 acres to build an institution that became Louisiana State University.
For over 118 years, the installation has served the Louisiana National Guard and the United States Armed Forces. Throughout this time, hundreds of thousands of service members have trained at the installation to ensure that they were ready to answer the call of both the State and Nation.
As the installation has grown over the last 118 years, the LANG has had multiple leaders who have made an impact on the organization. One such leader is the late retired Brig. Gen. Joseph Levy Dabadie Jr., father of retired Maj. Gen. Stephen C. Dabadie.
Brig. Gen. Dabadie served in the United States Army and the LANG for over 40 years, holding several key positions and culminating his career as the chief of staff for the LANG.
The LANG recently held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the area on Training Center Pineville named after the late general.
The display case of Brig. Gen. Dabadie’s service items is located in the installation’s force protection building next to the installation’s Dabadie Gym Complex, which is named after the late general. The display showcases a painted picture of the late general, the brigadier general flag, his service uniform jacket with medals and other pieces of service equipment and awards received by Dabadie throughout his career.
The gym complex was originally a part of the J. Levy Dabadie Correctional Center, which was located on LANG Training Center Pineville from 1970 until its closure in 2012.
“The correctional center housed 580 minimum security male offenders, and over 200 of those offenders worked at LANG Training Center Pineville in a maintenance capacity, such as grounds crew, carpenter crew, paint crew, plumbing and electrical crews and janitorial trustees,” said Mrs. Brandy Mays, LANG Training Center Pineville senior advisor.
Mays explained the land and buildings were transferred back to the LANG upon the correctional center’s closure.
Since receiving the land and buildings back from the correctional center, the LANG has updated the barracks buildings, office buildings and the Dabadie Gym Complex. Additionally, the LANG also added a new warehouse on the grounds and the force protection and billeting office building.
The Dabadie Gym Complex offers service members, LANG Training Center Pineville employees and residents a state-of-the-art weight room with machines and free weights, an indoor basketball/volleyball court and cardio rooms with treadmills, rowing machines, and stair climbers.
In addition to training and the gym complex, the LANG Training Center Pineville leadership has worked on improving Morale, Welfare, and Recreation opportunities for service members. Over the years, a MWR building has been added to the installation which houses a pool table, ping pong table, cable, internet, video game consoles, guitars and more. The installation also has multiple outdoor basketball courts, volleyball courts and a softball field.
“The Enlisted Club Café serves hot lunches Tuesday through Friday. We have movie nights here on post, a Fall Festival and a Spring Festival,” said Mays. “We also host a Christmas Extravaganza, as well as a post-wide Christmas party.”
Mays explained there are plans to continue improving the installation, which includes road upgrades, dam repairs to Twin Lakes, adding additional commercial T-Hangers at Esler Airfield, electrical upgrades, establishing a new MWR facility and a new barracks project.