By Wallace McBride, Fort Jackson LeaderJuly 3, 2013
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Fort Jackson's NCO Club reopened last week following a ceremony involving several of the post's retired command sergeants major.
The club has been closed for more than a year following a fire in March 2012. An overloaded extension cord was blamed in the fire that began in a storage room and spread to the ceilings of connecting hallways. Firefighters were able to suppress the fire in minutes, but not before smoke and water caused almost $6 million in damages to furnishings, and to the building's electrical and sewage systems.
The club originally opened its doors to Soldiers in 1977. The 36,000 square foot building featured a European Bavarian design, but planners took advantage of the repair effort to give the interior a more modern appearance.
"It was a blessing in disguise," Post Command Sgt. Major Kevin Benson told the audience at last week's ceremony. "We had to do some updates. We had ... decorations in here from the 1970s, and were due for an overhaul. And they came out fantastic."
Present to help cut the ribbon at last week's ceremony were four former command sergeants major from Fort Jackson: Jerome Moore, Ronald Friday, Carl Lopez and Russel Anderson. Garrison Command Sgt. Major Ernest Lee said last week's event was special because Fort Jackson is among the few Army posts to enjoy both an NCO Club and an Officers' Club.
"We're going to make sure this club is rocking and rolling, and we're going to get all the NCOs in here to support the club," he said.
"Very few installations have the opportunity to have both an enlisted and an officer's club," Benson said. "And, I'll tell you, this is all about leadership. This is just another leader club. It's about what we do after duty hours that brings us together as an Army. A lot of great things happen when we leave work, come together ... talk about things between different operations and different units, then solidify how we do operations and best train the Soldiers who will fight and win our battles and our wars."