Leadership Savannah comes to Hunter Army Airfield
November 23, 2011
HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga. -- Savannah businessmen and political leaders came to Hunter Tuesday for an interactive tour highlighting the military community's impact on the local economy.
The forty two visitors are part of the Leadership Savannah program, an initiative molding the city's future leaders through a one-year, in-depth look at the inner workings of Savannah culture, said Marjorie Young, Leadership Savannah board member and event coordinator.
The day began with a visit to the 165th Airlift Wing, Georgia Air National Guard, at Travis Field. From there a C-130 flew the guests to Hunter's Truscott Air Terminal, where Colonel Allan M. Pepin, commander of the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, Third Infantry Division, welcomed them.
After an informational briefing and lunch with CAB Soldiers, the Leadership Savannah members visited the Coast Guard Air Station Savannah, the 603rd Aviation Support Battalion and the Engagement Skills Trainer. At each stop the visitors had a chance to learn about and participate in the missions of Hunter's service members.
Young, who was married to a former Army physician, stressed the importance of integrating the local civic and military communities.
"Hunter is right smack in the middle of Midtown, and every day I can guarantee these folks drive by the gates and I can promise you they don't know what's happening on the other side," Young said. "It will lead to a greater appreciation and sympathy when making decisions involving the military. I want them to see there are opportunities in embracing the folks here."
The Savannah Chamber of Commerce lists the economic impact of the Fort Stewart-Hunter military community at $4.33 billion annually -- more than triple that of Savannah's tourism industry.
Spencer Luke, Leadership Savannah member and business office manager at the Westview Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, said he was grateful for the opportunity to visit Hunter.
"I love it here," Luke said. "When you think about leadership positions, there are so many components that come into play, and one of those, clearly, is the military's role in Savannah's economy: what they bring to the area, and what the area can do for them as well, to help make it a better place for [service members] to live, and for us to really appreciate their service.