The transformation of making Fort Gordon the Army's home of cyber began about five years ago, and it is about to become more visually evident on the installation.
Fort Gordon held a de-memorialization and groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday in front of Greely Hall. The ceremony marked the beginning of construction for the new Cyber Center of Excellence campus.
Greely Hall is the first of 12 other buildings that will be demolished as part of the campus transformation. The main campus will center around the Signal Towers footprint, which will also come down as part of the transformation. In total, the campus will be comprised of four new buildings and seven existing buildings that will be renovated to modern standards.
Maj. Gen. John B. Morrison Jr., U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon commanding general, said that the new campus will pave way for Fort Gordon and the CCoE to become the nation's premiere education and training site for signal, cyber, and electronic warfare professionals.
About 15,000 signal and cyber Soldiers train at Fort Gordon every year. Morrison said that training will continue and remain a priority during the campus's construction, which is expected to last through fiscal year 2027.
"Working our way through that is something that we're carefully managing, but this is absolutely an exciting day because when these facilities are complete, it is going to be world-class training, world-class facilities, for the world's best operators," Morrison said.
The first facility will be a classified building. It is scheduled to open in fiscal year 2022.
"The networks that go into it will allow us to do training at a level that is just far and above what we do today, and in a domain that is so dynamic like cyber, being able to train in that environment is absolutely critical," Morrison said.
Greely Hall opened in 1966 and was part of the first phase of the Fort Gordon and Signal School reorganization. Named after the late Maj. Gen. Adolphus Greely, it will soon be a memory for countless Soldiers who attended classes inside the building.
"It was, in its day, a remarkable achievement," Morrison said.
Standing before hundreds of ceremony attendees, including several of Greely's family members, Morrison honored Greely by saying he left a "lasting example" for Soldiers. Greely was appointed as the chief signal officer in 1887 and was the Signal Corps' fifth Medal of Honor recipient.
"During his time as the Army's chief signal officer, General Greely expanded communications capabilities of our nation and our Army through an extensive telegraph network that reached to Alaska, to the Philippines, and even the Caribbean," Morrison said.
Greely's great granddaughter, Alice Greely-Nelson, was presented with the plaque that previously hung in the entryway of Greely Hall. Greely-Nelson said the plaque will hang at Greely's daughter's summer house in Conway, New Hampshire, where the family gathers every year.
"He would be very proud, and we're very proud," she said of the ceremony.
As fences go up in preparation for the hall's demolition and transformation to the next phase is underway, Morrison described the occasion as "bittersweet … but mostly sweet," as it is a positive sign of things to come.
"To see a part of where you grew up coming down, it is a little bittersweet, but what's going in its place is exactly what the Army and our nation needs," Morrison said. "The plaque has been removed, and the name Greely Hall is retired, but Major General Greely's legacy will live on in each world-class signal, cyber, and electronic warfare Soldier trained by the Cyber Center of Excellence."