Southeast Georgia Friends of Fort Stewart and Hunter serves as the premier nonprofit organization in Southeast Georgia dedicated specifically to enhancing the overall economic value of Fort Stewart and the surrounding communities. Through a progressive regional relationship among our partners, we have witnessed many successes in 2016. Here is our list of great things that took place this year and what it means to members of the Fort Stewart and Hunter community.
1. Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield earned the Army Community of Excellence award. This is the unprecedented sixth time the installation has received recognition for being the best installation in the U.S. Army to train, deploy, live and raise a military family.
2. First Brigade Combat Team returned safely from Europe where they conducted multinational exercises across 12 countries in Europe as the European rotational armored brigade.
3. SEGAFFSH completed a successful visit to Washington, D.C. Our representatives met with the Georgia congressional delegation and Army leadership in the Pentagon to discuss defense issues and the role of Southeast Georgia in the Army’s mission.
4. Veterans Memorial Walk construction began at Bryant Commons Park in Hinesville. The memorial walk will pay honor to all branches of military and serve as a landmark in the Southeast Georgia community.
5. The Pentagon began work with a new planning number for an active Army of 510,000. This is an increase from the original 420,000 plan for the total Army.
6. Hinesville was named "Purple Heart City" after committing to ongoing efforts to show appreciation for the sacrifices of Purple Heart recipients in the community.
7. Hurricane Matthew demonstrated the resilience and strong support network of our community. The aftermath of Hurricane Matthew resulted in limited damage to the installation and its operations. No soldier, family member, or Department of Defense employee suffered catastrophic damages. All area agencies worked together to communicate and keep citizens safe.
8. Georgia House Military Affairs Study Committee visited Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield to better understand the dynamic between Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield and the surrounding communities. During the visit, hosted by the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce, local leaders were able to speak directly with state and congressional representatives about the performance and needs of our defense community.
9. The announcement was made that the 2nd Brigade Combat Team will be converted to an armor brigade combat team. As a result, the training and maintenance budget for the 3rd Infantry Division will increase about $49 million.
10. Georgia Power completed the construction of a 250-acre solar panel field on Fort Stewart. The solar field will reduce Fort Stewart’s energy usage by 30 percent on an annual basis. This community partnership will help Fort Stewart reach its goal of creating renewable energy.
11. All 3rd ID soldiers (with the exception of a few companies) are home for the holidays! This is the first time in recent years that a majority of soldiers have been home.
12. We currently have 17 committed partners that are helping us serve the mission of protecting the interests of the Southeast Georgia communities while supporting the mission of the United States armed forces through Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield. We are thankful for the Heritage Bank; Jones, Osteen & Jones; Hinesville and Liberty County MLS; Climate Controlled Storage; city of Hinesville; city of Riceboro; Liberty Regional Medical Center; Bryan County; Liberty County; Liberty County Development Authority; Gibson Home Store; Liberty County Chamber of Commerce; LaQuinta Inn & Suites; Long County Board of Education; GeoVista Credit Union; Army Reserve Ambassador and Georgia Power.
To all of the partners and media, such as the Coastal Courier, that help us achieve our mission, cheers to you! We look forward to working together in the new year.
Paul Andreshak, executive director,
Southeast Georgia Friends of Fort Stewart and Hunter