Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield will rename the engineer qualification area in honor of the late Thomas D. Houston Jr. for his contributions to Stewart-Hunter over a period of more than 50 years.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Army installation management commander approved a request to memorialize the engineer qualification range. The ceremonial date is planned at 10 a.m. July 28 at the engineer qualification area.
The range, located on Fort Stewart, will honor the late Houston, who was a resident, soldier, civil servant, contractor and cooperator assigned to Fort Stewart for various periods from 1930-2012.
This dedication is appropriate because it highlights his contributions in the area of engineering, ranges for training and the Fort Stewart reservation as a whole. Houston was instrumental in the design, development and construction of this very range.
His legacy with Fort Stewart goes beyond its establishment as a federal installation. Houston’s ancestors were some of the original occupants of the installation before it became federal property just before World War II.
Houston spent his youth with his maternal grandparents at the Bland family farm, which now is in the Fort Stewart Training Area D-8. The family agreed to sell the land to the government and resettle to enable the formation of Camp Stewart in 1940.
As a soldier, Houston initially was assigned to the Georgia Army National Guard in the 101st AAA Gun Battalion in Hinesville. As a sergeant first class in 1950, Houston trained on the ranges and training areas of the then-Camp Stewart.
He began civil service with the Army Corps of Engineers in Savannah in 1959, then returned to Fort Stewart in 1962 as the chief of the engineering and plans division during the Vietnam War. Houston remained an active engineer at Fort Stewart until retirement in 1995.
After a brief retirement, Houston returned as a contractor in 1997 for the Bregman Company as the Fort Stewart land rehabilitation and maintenance coordinator.
In 2000, Houston became a cooperator for Colorado State University, still as the Fort Stewart land rehabilitation and maintenance coordinator.
Houston still worked 40-hour weeks until days prior to his passing Dec. 28, 2012, at the age of 82.
The legacy of Houston’s engineering efforts can be seen across the entire installation to this day.