TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Your tax dollars are helping upgrade the Florida National Guard's equipment to a historic high.
Assistant Adjutant General Don Tyre reports soldiers now have more access to the latest equipment than he can ever recall.
Maj. Gen. Tyre says the nation has spent billions on new equipment in recent years and that has helped elevate the guard's operational response at home and overseas.
"Over the last four or five years the National Guard has received almost $32 billion worth of new equipment and that equipment makes us compatible with our active duty counterparts. So we're in good shape equipment-wise. I can't remember a time in my career where we've had as much new equipment as what we have today."
Florida's National Guard soldiers have been called up again and again over the past decade to serve in war zones. Some soldiers have been deployed as many as four times.
Those multiple deployments took a heavy toll on equipment. But Gen. Tyre says political leaders, and taxpayers, stepped up to buy equipment for National Guard units across the country. At the same time, the state of Florida has spent about $30 million over the past two years to pay for building renovations.
"Our facilities have an average age of over 50 years old and they were built for small infantry companies. So over the last two years we've renovated a lot of our facilities. We've got a plan to go forward to continue that until we get through all our facilities, upgrading our facilities to current code, but also to the equipment that we actually use and fight with."
Gen. Tyre says about 16,000 Florida National Guard soldiers have been deployed for missions over the past ten years. He says every unit in Florida has been deployed at least once.