May 27, 2010
By Lori Egan
FORT BENNING, Ga. - The dedication of a plaque May 20 gave the garrison commander a chance to acknowledge the teamwork of the installation staff.
The plaque marked the former location of a significant historic building on Fort Benning, the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate. Shawana Topekia Pierce, a former Fort Benning employee who worked in the building, pleaded guilty July 15 to setting the fire Feb. 6, 2009.
In October, 2009, Pierce received a sentence of seven years in federal prison, plus three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $7.5 million in restitution. There is no parole in the federal system.
COL Thomas Macdonald told the personnel gathered for the unveiling how proud he was of the staff.
"The fire was a tragedy," he said later that day. "The building - a total loss - and some people had worked in the building for 20 to 30 years. But more significant than losing a second home was the loss of the staff's memorabilia.
"But they were determined to get back into operation as quickly as possible. The fire happened on Friday and legal services were available on Tuesday. That couldn't have happened without the installation's staff pulling together."