- Associated Press - Saturday, April 26, 2014

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A new Kansas National Guard field artillery brigade approved to be headquartered in Manhattan will provide command and control to two field artillery battalions in Hiawatha and Wichita.

The new unit will bring about 15 full-time jobs and 160 drill status individuals to Manhattan, National Guard spokeswoman Sharon Watson said.

“Anytime we are able to increase our unit’s size and our guard jobs in a community, it’s certainly a benefit to the local community and the state of Kansas,” Watson said.

Some of the full-time employees will be assigned to Manhattan around June 1 to begin setting up the unit, which won’t be fully operational for about a year after that, The Topeka Capital-Journal (http://bit.ly/1igxRKk ) reported.

“Field artillery essentially provides indirect fire in support of Army maneuvers,” Watson said.

Each year the National Guard Bureau and the U.S. Department of Defense evaluate what units are available and what needs exist across the country, Watson said. State guard units also have a chance to request new missions based on anticipated changes.

The new brigade will help stimulate the Manhattan and state economies with the new jobs, she said, and it also will provided additional military resources the state can deploy during natural disasters and other emergencies.

The full-time jobs will be open to guard members in Kansas and across the U.S.

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Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com