U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH), and led a letter today with the Ohio Congressional Delegation urging the Obama Administration to place the Veterans Affairs Health Administration (VHA) Archives at the VA Medical Center campus in Dayton.
“The Dayton Veterans Affairs Medical Center, one of the three original soldiers’ homes, has served Ohio’s veterans for over 140 years,” Turner said. “The region’s long-standing commitment to our nation’s veterans and its history of military innovation makes Dayton the ideal location for Veterans Affairs Health Administration Archives. The consolidation of the VA archives to the Dayton VAMC would have a significant economic impact on the Miami Valley.”
“The Miami Valley is a natural fit for the VA Archives,” Brown said. “Ohio is home to nearly one million veterans and world class VA facilities and the proud military tradition of the region would make it a fitting home to the VHA Archives. This move would promote economic development and solidify Ohio has as the nation’s leader in veteran’s medical care and expertise.”
“Movement of the Veterans Affairs Health Administration Archives to Dayton, Ohio would be a win-win for Ohioans,” Sen. Voinovich said. “It would help consolidate files while also providing good paying, much -needed jobs. Dayton has the infrastructure to accommodate the facility and I encourage Secretary Shinseki to select Dayton.”
Currently, the VA archives are kept in multiple locations. When the VHA decided to consolidate its archives into one central location, Dayton was immediately considered as a potential home. If Dayton is chosen, the facility would be open to the public and would be the central location for all records, photos and information gathered by the VHA over the years. It would be housed in two buildings. This complex would bring jobs to the Miami Valley and solidify its reputation as a region with a high-concentration of military and veteran’s expertise and knowledge.
The letter cites the community support, synergy with existing museums and archival programs, and historical context as reasons the archives would be well-suited for placement in Dayton. Dayton is home to one of the nation’s largest military bases and one of the original U.S. veteran’s facilities. The VHA Archives would also complement the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson, which is the world’s oldest and largest museum of military aviation – hosting 1.3 million visitors annually.
The VHA archives at the Dayton VA Medical Center would become the anchor of Dayton’s West Third Street “Corridor of Innovation” which includes a Wright Brothers’ bicycle shop, the home of African American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, the Wright brothers’ airplane factory, and a building that was part of the Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb. The VHA archives could also work seamlessly with nearby Wright State University, with its nationally recognized Graduate Program in Historical and Archival Administration.