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story.lead_photo.caption Gov. Eric Greitens shakes the hand of Missouri National Guard First Sgt. Howard Walker following his announcement of the Guard's expansion. "There are only so many spots that we are able to fill," Walker said," I think that the expansion will help." Photo by Emil Lippe / News Tribune.

Gov. Eric Greitens on Tuesday announced plans to increase the Missouri National Guard's ranks by adding 800 new jobs by 2019.

His plan would create six new standup units by adding: a trial defense team in Jefferson City, transportation units in Farmington and Perryville, a maintenance team in Kansas City, an engineer support team in Bridgeton and a cyber protection team in St. Louis.

"Our goal is to make the Missouri National Guard a national model for excellence," Greitens said. "I'm proud to announce the Guard is growing."

He said the expansion is an opportunity for Missouri families to gain meaningful employment.

Among the 800 new jobs, 15 percent are expected to be full-time positions, and the other 85 percent will be for civilians who also are part-time Guard members and generally serve one weekend a month plus an annual training period, but are subject to call-up by the governor or president.

The new jobs would have a $15 million economic impact of the state, Greitens said.

Steve Danner, adjutant general for the Missouri National Guard, told the News Tribune he is proud to see a "growth spurt."

"We are on a growth spurt in Missouri, and I attribute it to the professionalism of the soldiers and airmen who have done such a great job that the active Army and Air Force look to our state to put more units here because Missouri is top-notch," Danner said.

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According to the Missouri National Guard press release, the state has 9,300 soldiers serving in the Guard.

Adding 800 jobs to that total is expected to have a $15 million impact on the state through additional payroll, as well as incidental contracting associated with the units' activities, officials said.

Since 2016, four Guard units were created across the state. They were: a transportation unit in Fredericktown, a transportation company in Bridgeton and Columbia, and a transportation unit in Anderson and Monett, as well as a police unit in Lebanon and Rolla.

"When I began as the adjutant general, the National Guard as a whole had 350,000 and then we dropped down to 335,000," Danner said.

"Even as national numbers have shrunk, the Missouri Guard will continue to grow."

Correction: Due to a reporter's misunderstanding, the original version of this article contained errors about the percentage of full-time jobs to be added, Steve Danner's title and the number of people he said were serving the Guard before reductions. Those mistakes have since been corrected in the text above. 

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