Third Infantry Division commanders are awaiting the Army’s decision on whether to locate its newest armored brigade combat team on Fort Stewart, the division’s top officers said during a meeting with local media Friday.
No time frame was given for a decision, but, "we welcome the additional capability,” 3rd ID commander Maj. Gen. Leopoldo Quintas said.
The news the Army is considering adding a third armored brigade combat team to Fort Stewart came to light earlier this week, when Georgia’s congressional representatives issued a joint press release urging U.S. Army Secretary Mark Esper to choose Fort Stewart as home of the new ABCT and its approximately 4,000 soldiers. U.S. senators Johnny Isakson and David Perdue and Rep. Buddy Carter extolled the virtues of Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield in the release.
Quintas, who recently returned from a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan along with about 250 headquarters soldiers, deferred questions on a new ABCT to Brig. Gen. Sean Bernabe during Friday’s media briefing.
Bernabe served as commander of the division’s Task Force Marne during Quintas’ deployment. He said the 3rd ID provided Army officials with information on Fort Stewart’s ability to handle another ABCT.
“Our role is to provide data and our assessment to the Department of the Army,” Bernabe said. “We supplied that information to the Department of the Army and we are awaiting their decision.”
Both officers gave a list of reasons Fort Stewart would be a good fit, from ample room for units to train on land and in the air to the post's proximity to four major U.S. ports. In addition, Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah has the longest runway east of the Mississippi River, Quintas said.
Local community support is also an asset, said Quintas, an armor officer who previously served on Fort Stewart as a company commander during Desert Storm in 1990 and as a task force commander in Iraq in 2003 and 2006. He was the 3rd ID chief of staff in 2012 and 2013.
"The tremendous support we get from the community allows us to focus on our mission," he said. "It's no surprise this division headquarters has deployed seven times over this very long conflict, and our brigade combat teams are repeatededly called upon. We're very good at what we do, and a bit part of that is due to our community support."
the 3rd ID’s 1st brigade transformed from an infantry brigade combat
team into an armor brigade combat team, the Army’s 15th.
The Army is reportedly considering converting an infantry brigade combat team from Fort Carson, Colo., to armor and locate it either on Fort Bliss or Fort Hood in Texas, Fort Riley in Kansas or on Fort Stewart, according to an April 8 report by the Colorado Springs Independent newspaper.
Fort Stewart has been in the running for more troops in the past. In 2007, the Army announced a new brigade was coming to Fort Stewart, prompting local developers to invest millions, but the new unit never materialized.