Outgoing Garrison Commander Col. Jason Wolter offered Liberty County Chamber of Commerce members an update on Fort Stewart’s recent accomplishments and challenges during a Progress through People luncheon May 23.
Wolter announced that Fort Stewart earned the Army Community of Excellence (ACOE) award for the seventh time. The installation won the ACOE in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2012, 2015 and 2019, according to the Fort Stewart public affairs office. A ceremony to recognize area communities for their efforts and support over the years in helping Stewart-Hunter achieve and sustain its status as an ACOE was scheduled for May 28.
Wolter said the installation has come into a season of transition. A change of command ceremony for outgoing 3rd ID Commander Maj. Gen. Lee Quintas and incoming Commander Maj. Gen. Antonio A. Aguto will be held June 3. Quintas moves on to be the Deputy Commanding General for U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, N.C., according to public affairs. Aguto was most recently the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7, for U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, N.C.
Wolter will hand the garrison command over to Col. Bryan Logan on June 19, he said. Wolter added that a French general, Brig. Gen. Hubert Cottereau, has been assigned as a deputy commanding general for the 3rd ID as part of the U.S. Army’s Military Personnel Exchange Program. Cotterau’s assignment is the first reciprocal general officer exchange with France, according to the Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield website.
The colonel also touched on the post’s military housing situation. Recent news reports referencing a survey by the Military Family Advisory network claim residents of privatized post housing – including 70 responses from those on Fort Stewart – have experienced major maintenance issues, to include pests, water damage and mold. Wolter said these issues are being addressed, adding that the installation will release a housing market analysis in August. He said the last report was done in 2014, and that a new assessment is needed as there has been tremendous growth in post infrastructure during the past five years. Wolter said 136 of the older post housing units will be demolished. He said young soldiers no longer want to live in two bedroom, one-bath units any more, and many prefer to live off post and within the community. Wolter commented that the number of Soldiers living in post housing on the installation will likely decrease.
The commander also cited numerous statistics: Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield have a total of 20,266 military personnel, 37,002 spouses and dependents, and 4,153 employees. The installation remains a prime economic driver, with an estimated $1.8 billion spent in the local economy in fiscal year 2017, according to Wolter.