FEBRUARY 24, 2017, ARLINGTON, Va. – In a ceremony Wednesday, the Army National Guard renamed its headquarters building in honor of retired Army Lt. Gen. Herbert R. Temple Jr., a former chief of the National Guard Bureau who was instrumental in shaping the National Guard of today.
“This building will honor the legacy of Lt. Gen. Herbert R. Temple, and act as a symbol of pride and excellence for the National Guard,” said Air Force Gen. Joseph Lengyel, the current chief of the NGB, during the ceremony.
Temple, 88, served as the 21st chief of the NGB from 1986 to 1990 and was the driving force behind the planning and construction of the building now officially called the Herbert R. Temple Jr. Army National Guard Readiness Center, Arlington Hall Station.
“Back then the [Army Guard] worked out of four locations,” said Army Lt. Gen. Timothy Kadavy, the director of the Army National Guard.”The furthest one was about 70 miles from here. His solution was this facility.”
But developing the concept was just the start, said Kadavy.
“He had to fight relentlessly for approval and funding for this $30 million project,” he said, adding that the Army approved the project in 1986. Construction wouldn’t begin until the early 1990s, with the building opening in 1993.
“This building opened after [Lt. Gen.] Temple retired,” said Kadavy.”It might be said that he never had a chance to work here, but that’s not the case. He has continued to work on behalf of our Guard. In fact, on a regular basis he still gives me guidance and a bit of advice.”
The naming of a building in honor of a living individual is a rare occurrence within the Army.
“The Army authority to name a building after a living person is used sparingly,” said Kadavy.”Lt. Gen. Temple’s lifetime of dedicated service to the nation, the Army and Army Soldiers makes him ideally suited to receive this honor and to set a standard for future leaders of our Army to attain.”
For Temple, the building, and his efforts that lead to its construction, was for the Soldiers of the Army Guard.
“Everything here, is here for the Soldiers,” Temple said during the ceremony, adding that with the help of others, he simply set things in motion.
“I had the opportunity to do everything I perhaps wanted to do to improve the National Guard,” he said.”I didn’t get it all done, but you guys did. You’ve made a tremendous contribution and thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for what you’ve done to make the National Guard what it is today.”
In 1947 Temple enlisted as a private in the California Army National Guard’s 160th Infantry Regiment, beginning a military career that spanned 43 years. He deployed to Korea in September 1950 where he served with the 5th Regimental Combat Team, 24th Infantry Division.
After returning from Korea he received a direct commission to the officer ranks, a result of his combat experience and leadership abilities.
“With a few strokes of a pen on an Army form, Herb became an officer,” said Lengyel.”That was lucky for us because the National Guard gained a tremendous officer who would monumentally impact the National Guard.”
Temple served in a variety of command and staff positions within the California Army Guard and in 1975 he was assigned to the NGB, serving as the chief of the Office of Mobilization and Readiness. He was named the deputy director of the Army Guard in 1978 and then director in 1982.
During his tenure at the NGB, Temple never forgot his early experiences during the Korean War, said Lengyel.
“Herb made a commitment to never let [Guard members] suffer the same experiences from lack of training, readiness and equipment that he and his fellow Soldiers endured in Korea,” he said, adding that Temple oversaw the Guard grow to more than 550,000 Soldiers and Airmen, expanded the engagement of Army Guard units in Army operations worldwide and saw the first Army Guard brigades undergo regular large-scale training rotations at the National Training Center.
“He consistently sought to improve the Guard in all facets,” said Lengyel.
For Temple, it wasn’t always easy.
“There were some days [as chief] when I just didn’t want to go through the pressures and harassments,” he said.”There were hard, hard days, but I loved them. I loved them because of [the Soldiers and Airmen of the Guard].”
Temple said he drew his strength from Guard members.
“When the pressures got to me, I‘d get up and go out to the offices and visit with the troops,” he said.”I went out there and sat and talked with them and came back and I was ready for action.”
His achievements, he said, are because of those he served with.
“If by any chance I’ve achieved anything worth achieving, it is certainly because of you,” he said to those at the ceremony.”You’ve made a marvelous contribution to our Army, our National Guard and our nation.”
Temple added he was proud to be a part of the Guard and the Army, and that the Guard is never far from his thoughts.
“It must be obvious that standing before you today is an old man, a very old man,” he said.”If in my last time on Earth I’m still cognizant and I can still picture things, I believe that I will think of many of you. I’ll hear your voices. I’ll remember our times together and in the final moments, it will be the Guard, the Guard, the Guard.”
By Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy