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General tells Long Chamber about growth

POSTED: May 27, 2009 11:49 a.m.
Photo by Mike Riddle/

BG Pat Donahue speaks at the Long County Chamber of Commerce as its president, Mark Waters, listens.

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LUDOWICI — Deputy commanding general of maneuvers for the 3rd Infantry Division, Brig. Gen. Pat Donahue spoke to the Long County Chamber of Commerce on May 19 and, according to him, whether Fort Stewart will get a fifth brigade is still up in the air.
“Regarding a fifth brigade coming, I can tell you that all of the contracts are set up and ready for the brigade to get here, and I can say that the elected officials in this area have represented you well, and made a good investment to Washington to get the brigade here,” the general said.
“I can tell you this, with all of the contracts approved a decision should be made soon,” he said.
Donahue gave what he called “a state of the union address on the division” to the chamber.
Regarding the number of troops on the base now Donahue said, “At this time there are between 6,000 and 7,000 troops training at Fort Stewart now, and that number will grow to around 12,000 over the next couple of weeks.”
Donahue also spoke on the 3rd ID deploying in the future. He said some soldiers would be leaving in September and that the deployment would probably last for at least one year.
According to the general, in that deployment, Fort Stewart is scheduled to send two brigades, and a headquarters unit, while Hunter Army Airfield is scheduled to send an aviation brigade.
According to Donahue, by December all of these troops will be deployed and the only brigades left at Fort Stewart will be the 4th Brigade and elements of a sustainment brigade.
Regarding the deployment, the general said, “This deployment will be different than any of the deployments before.”
One key difference, according to Donahue, is that it is anticipated that most of the families of the deployed soldiers will stay in this area.
“That is good for you, because in Ludowici alone, there are 514 military families living there,” Donahue said.
He said the deployment will also be different for the soldiers because the mission in Iraq is changing from combat to monitoring.
“The people in Iraq are standing up and being more responsible… it is standing up and becoming a sovereign nation.” he said.
According to the general, Iraq currently has a security force of about 646,000 police, border security and army.
Donahue said the mission in Iraq will change so much over the next few months, that by June 30, U.S. troops will not even be going into the cities militarily, unless the government request that they do so. He also said that by July 2010, the number of troops assigned to Iraq will drop to 50,000 or six brigades, but that three of these brigades will be from Fort Stewart.
“Iraqis are ready for a change, and ready to step up to the plate.” he said.
After Donahue concluded, chamber President Mark Waters presented a gift basket to him.

In other business, the Chamber:
• Reported 85 members for the 2009
• Announced a grand opening for Ludowici Meats on June 6
• Announced the installation banquet would be on June 16.
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