Reserve Park: Symbolizing Soldiers in Training

Reserve Park: Symbolizing Soldiers in Training

Marquis Latimer + Halback, Inc. was tasked with developing a new conceptual design for Reserve Park. The solution was to symbolize a company of Soldiers marching in formation. In the Army, a company is a unit of Soldiers ranging from a few dozen to nearly 200 hundred Soldiers, normally under the command of a captain.   

Reserve Park: Symbolizing Soldiers in Training

A captain marches at the head of his/her formation followed behind, to the left, by the guidon bearer with the company colors.  Behind the commander and guidon are the company’s platoons. 

When you enter Reserve Park from 8th Avenue, you will be met by the military reserve memorial in the space for the company commander.  In the position of the guidon bearer will be the U.S. flag, followed by the flags of each military service with a reserve component.  Beyond the flags will be four-by-four formations of pine trees representing platoons of Soldiers.  The main sign for Reserve Park will be in the shape of a guidon (think of a flag with a triangle bitten off at the end) painted orange and white, colors signifying the colors of the Transportation Corps.     

Using funds from the Public Spaces Wild Places initiative, Gainesville is converting the 4.3 acres surrounding the building – now owned and occupied by Phalanx Defense Systems, LLC – into a neighborhood park.  The red brick building at 1125 Northeast 8th Avenue is the former C. R. Layton United States Army Reserve (USAR) Center.  After nearly 60 years of occupation, the USAR transferred personnel and equipment from the center in 2009 with the land reverting back to City of Gainesville. City staff provided a list of features for the park, which included the following:

  • a site for a military reserve memorial honoring all reserve branches of the U.S. military;
  • an obstacle course for adults along with playgrounds and swings for children;
  • a traveling rings set;
  • a pavilion, grills, drinking fountain, and benches and picnic tables; and
  • space for a community garden to include garden shed and water source.

Reserve Park once contained Army Reserve logistics-focused units such as Transportation and Quartermaster Corps units. Quartermaster Corps acquire and provide everything an Army needs to survive and fight, and you will always find a Transportation Corps unit nearby.  Transportation units center on trucks and move everything from toiletries to rockets across a theater of operation.  Army Reserve Soldiers most likely used the land surrounding the former USAR Center for storing and maintaining vehicles and setting up and inspecting equipment ranging from tents and camouflage netting, to testing radios and other battlefield sensors (an environmental report from December 2010 found no contaminants).  Reserve Soldiers must have used the space for physical training (PT); however, looking at 20 years of historical imagery of the site in Google Earth Pro, there have always been many trees present around the site, so PT was likely done in small groups.

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Figure 1: Conceptual Drawing of Reserve Park with Pine Tree Formation

Figure 2Excerpt from Training Circular 3-21.5 “Drill and Ceremonies” (HQ, Dept. of the Army)

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Dustin Felix is an associate with Marquis Latimer + Halback, Inc. His expertise in project management and organization is grounded in his service in the United States Army overseeing multi-million dollar reconstruction budgets in Al-Rashid District, Baghdad, Iraq. After his active duty service, he joined USAID, where his assignments took him from Washington to Pakistan, Israel, Sudan, Bolivia, and Haiti. Dustin is a graduate of U.S. Military Academy (West Point) and has a masters degree in Landscape Architecture from Chatham University. Dustin continues to serve in the U.S. Army Reserve as a lieutenant colonel, currently commanding a battalion based in San Antonio, Texas.

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