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Fort Stewart improvements in bill
House, Senate working on compromise bill
Jack Kingston 8 05
U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston
Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield could receive more than $27 million in funding for  improvements and programs, if the  Senate approves the 2008 Defense Appropriations bill in an upcoming vote.
The spending bill passed through the U.S. House of Representatives Sunday morning by a 395-13 vote, which Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Savannah) called a vote to ensure troops defending the country have the finest facilities and training available whether at home or away.
“With the 3rd ID fighting in Iraq, we have to make sure they have the best in the field and at home,” the congressman, who penciled in the earmarks for the posts, said.
A breakdown of the funding shows a majority of the money, $23 million, will be used to sustain, restore and modernize buildings on Fort Stewart with an additional $717,000 for improving Army Community Services at both Fort Stewart and Hunter AAF.
“(The bases) are getting $292,000 to right size their Army Community Services, or ACS, and another $495,000 for ACS Mobilization and Deployment Support,” Jeff Glenn, Kingston’s military legislative assistant, said.
He said $2 million will also be spent on roofing repairs to help base officials catch up on underfunded operation and maintenance needs for at least seven buildings.
Another $1.5 million will go toward updating base live-fire ranges, which are experiencing accelerated wear and tear due to an increase in extensive training sessions as soldiers prepare for continuing deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Marksmanship is always going to be the fundamental skill for individual soldiers in combat and we have a need to update live fire ranges at the Stewart and Hunter ranges,” Kingston said. “This will be a competitive bid contract to provide almost a dozen upgrades on a number of range systems at the installations.”
Taking into account the current strains on military families, the legislation also includes $2 million for the Parents as Teachers Heroes at Home project, which provides professional parenting support and child development information directly to the homes of young military families.
“At its core, the program offers child development information, helping parents understand their child’s behavior and progress,” Sue Stapleton, president and CEO of the St. Louis-based program, said. “In turn, this helps young parents make good decisions and can protect against child abuse. Heroes at Home is a prime example of the military's commitment to helping young families manage both defending our country and raising young children.”
According to Glenn, the Parents as Teachers Heroes at Home initiative has been extremely helpful for Fort Stewart’s families, as well as families at the 11 other installations that offer the program.
“It’s a great parenting support tool for families with infants, toddlers and preschoolers,” Glenn said. “It provides great support when there may not be that other parent at home to help out.”
Other items in the spending bill include $2 million for researchers at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah to study obesity and cancer in the military and $1 million for the Joint Logistics Education and Training Testbed to conduct university/industry led simulation training for deploying soldiers.
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