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Post readying for 4,000 new troops
New brigade expected to form here by 2011
Garrison commander, Col. Todd Buchs
As part of the Army’s plans to move toward a “modular” force and expand its ranks by 74,000 soldiers over the next few years, Fort Stewart is preparing to welcome a new infantry brigade combat team — and the 3,900 troops coming with it.
Pentagon and 3rd Infantry Division officials said Wednesday the new brigade is scheduled to arrive on the installation in 2011, a move to support the “Grow the Army” initiative’s goal of increasing the service by six combat brigades and eight component support brigades by fiscal year 2013.
Fort Stewart will be the beneficiary of two of these additional brigades with the new infantry combat team on the way and the conversion of a heavy brigade combat team currently on the post into an infantry brigade in the year 2010.
According to Fort Stewart Garrison Commander Col. Todd Buchs, the Army studied training facilities at 14 bases across the country and factored in how much additional personnel each could handle.
The 3rd ID along with Fort Bliss in Texas and Fort Carson in Colorado beat out the competition to be placed on the Pentagon’s list of expansion sites as well as share in the $10 to $11 billion worth of “Grow the Army” development funds.
While noting the 3rd ID’s reputation as a one of the top training, equipment and deployment-ready bases in the country, Buchs said support from the local community also played a key role in the Army’s decision to select Fort Stewart.
“It’s a great move for Fort Stewart ... and it’s a great move for the communities here,” he said during a press conference with reporters Wednesday afternoon. “In making these decisions, the Army takes into consideration the great support we have here.”
And based on estimates of the total population impact of the new brigade, the fort is going to need all the help it can get from at least one local industry: housing.
Including family members and brigade support personnel, the influx of troops is expected to have an immediate impact of about 12,000 people and reach nearly 28,500 individuals by 2013.
Fort Stewart spokesman Kevin Larson said base officials are “looking at doing everything necessary to provide the needed services and support services” on base for the newcomers, but are working with the surrounding communities to ensure the availability of quality housing “both on and off the installation.”
Buchs said the goal is for 25 percent of the families to live on post, while the other 75 percent, including families of civil service employees, finds accommodations in local housing markets.
Outgoing Hinesville Mayor Tom Ratcliffe remarked on the challenge of facilitating the upcoming arrivals during a city council meeting Thursday.
“A great challenge will remain, in my judgment, for us in the housing side to capture the quality of housing necessary to retain those civil service employees that we want to be our neighbors ... it’s in the long-term interest of the city to capture that intellectual capital,” he said. “But it’s a great opportunity for the city as it moves forward.”

 Other Georgia Army bases affected by the new changes
• Fort Benning will grow by 45 soldiers due to increases in Headquarters personnel assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, as well as 21 soldiers assigned to an Explosive Ordinance Detection Company.
• Fort Gordon will receive 192 new soldiers in fiscal year 2008 who will be assigned to US Army Signal Command.
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