By Sgt. Joseph McAtee, 3rd ID Public AffairsJune 3, 2009
FORT STEWART, Ga., Aca,!" A plan to build an additional brigade combat team at Fort Stewart was halted by the Department of Defense, June 2.
The cancellation followed preparation and construction across Fort Stewart in anticipation of the arrival of about 4,000 troops who were scheduled to arrive at Fort Stewart over the coming two years.
The military construction that was intended for the 5th Brigade Combat Team, including barracks, motor pools and headquarters buildings, will not be cancelled due to the announcement. The new plan now allocates the facilities under construction to the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, the 3rd Infantry Division's lone light infantry BCT.
"We can move them into that footprint, and Fort Stewart would still retain the capability to grow," said Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo, 3rd ID commander. "I see nothing but a bright future for growth at Fort Stewart."
The planning for the additional brigade began when the Base Realignment and Closure Commission announced Fort Stewart, along with Fort Bliss, Texas, and Fort Carson, Colo., would receive an additional brigade. The three bases still have hope that they can add a brigade in the near future; two brigades are expected to move from Europe to the U.S. around 2012, and currently, those three bases are their potential homes.
Despite the news, Maj. Gen. Cucolo remained positive that Stewart, the local community and the 3rd ID will continue to persevere despite the nationwide economic troubles. He said recent improvements on Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield are a key example of that perseverance.
"We continue to uphold the Army Family Covenant," he said. "When you see improvements at Holbrook (Outdoor Recreation Area on Stewart) and Lott's Island (at Hunter), those are the kinds of things we want to keep bringing to the community, to the Families. We want to spend that $1 million from winning the (Army Community of Excellence Award) to win it again and again."
A statement from the Department of the Army said that in stopping the brigade creation, the Army can ensure success in three major areas: the ability of brigades to deploy for contingency operations and major exercises, increasing opportunities and access to training facilities, and improving the quality of life for Soldiers and Families.
"I understand the tough economic impact this decision will have on the communities that have worked so hard to prepare for the arrival of the three brigades," Secretary of the Army Pete Geren said in the statement. "They are great partners with the Army, and we will need their continued support as we work together on the growth that is underway at those locations."
Major General Cucolo also expressed deep appreciation for the surrounding communities.
"I would ask them to sustain their incredible support, even in the face of the sacrifices I know they have made," he said. "We'll get through this."