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Stewart being considered for more troops

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POSTED: December 18, 2009 10:54 a.m.
Photo by Pat Watkins/

Garrison commander Col. Kevin Milton speaks to the Hinesville Rotary Club.

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“I feel pretty confident that Fort Stewart is being considered for those two brigades,” Col. Kevin Milton said Tuesday, emphasizing, however, that no decisions have been made.
At a meeting of the Hinesville Rotary Club, the post’s garrison commander had been asked about the possibility of other troops being assigned here.
Milton said the Pentagon’s 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, which is being prepared for February release, is expected to recommend that two brigades be moved stateside from Germany. He said there have been indications Stewart is in the running to house at least one of those units.
“We’ve had staff come down asking if we can grow,” he said, later adding, “We’re ready for them, if they come.”
The question of more troops became controversial earlier this year when the Secretary of Defense decided that a planned expansion of the Army would be pared back. That ended plans to house a new brigade for the 3rd Infantry Division at Stewart.
Milton’s talk Tuesday focused on ongoing deployments and construction on post. His position is routinely called “mayor” of Fort Stewart since he focuses on facilities and infrastructure to accommodate the activities of the 3rd ID and its assigned units.
“As you know we have soldiers in both Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said.
He said there are 13,500 soldiers currently deployed, approximately 3,000 in Afghanistan, including the Aviation Brigade off Hunter Army Airfield. Another 100 or so in two units are to go to Afghanistan in January.
The remainder of the soldiers are in Iraq.
The 1st Brigade Combat Team is currently deploying.
“So by Christmas the total will give us about 15,000 soldiers deployed,” Milton said, later adding more will be leaving next summer.
“The next major deployment for us begins in the July time frame. The 4th Brigade Combat Team will be deploying to Iraq so we’ll have upwards of 20,000 soldiers deployed at that time,” he said.
The Obama administration has said it plans to start cutting troop numbers in Iraq starting in the summer and fall.
Milton said after his talk, in response to a question, that he expects the bulk of the 3rd ID to be away from its home base through October.
He said he expects the majority of soldiers’ families to stay around Fort Stewart.
On construction, he said, much work continues, including on what was to be the facilities for the fifth brigade. It has been reassigned to accommodate the 4th BCT.
All told, he said, there are projects worth more than $300 million ongoing on post.

 

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