Kelley National Guard Armory / Keyser, West Virginia
The National Guard dates back to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1636, and now exist in all U. S. fifty states and territories. Its members are regularly trained in combat and can be called to active duty in local emergencies by the governors of the states, and in national emergencies by the President or Congress. The arsenals contain military weapons and space for clerical personnel. Battery B renamed its arsenal for Ed Kelley on March 25, 1963. Ed’s family were there to receive the West Virginia’s highest military aware, the West Virginia Distinguished Service Medal.
The West Virginia Distinguished Service Medal was created by the legislature in 1939. It is awarded to former governors in their capacity as commander-in-chief of the national guard; to officers and enlisted men of the national guard for conspicuous or distinguished service in the line of duty; to West Virginians in the U.S. armed forces who distinguish themselves in the line of duty; and to any citizen for conspicuous or distinguished service to the state.
A total of 225 medals were made. Of these, 128 have been awarded, and five have been used as replacements for lost medals or for display purposes.
In 2016, the Kelley Armory was slatted to close. According to officials with Potomac State College of West Virginia University, they have discussed purchasing the armory property, which is located adjacent to a major PSC parking lot and above the college’s Church-McKee Arts Center. The possibility of using the property for additional classrooms and a wellness center to be used by both the college and community have been discussed.
Howell, chairman of the House Government Organization Committee, said he would support that purchase by the college, but would like to find some way to also keep National Guard units stationed in the area. The exact closure date has not yet been determined, although according to Lawrence Messina, assistant secretary, W.Va. Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, units will begin moving to the new Morgantown Readiness Center starting January, 4, 2016.