From 1990-91, the 24th Infantry Division, assigned to Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield prior to 3rd Infantry Division, was called in its entirety to deploy during the Gulf War. During that time, Liberty County — without the presence of the soldiers — experienced economic hardship that it barely survived.
While today we certainly face different circumstances, our community could see hardship again if our federal government does not agree on measures to prevent sequestration.
The 2011 Budget Control Act requires that the Pentagon’s budget be reduced starting Jan. 2, 2013, through sequestration. If it is not stopped, the law requires the Department of Defense to cut $54.7 billion annually during the next 10 years. This is in addition to the $487 billion the DoD already plans to cut during the next 10 years.
A study conducted at George Mason University determined the total job loss from DoD cuts for Georgia alone would be 27,609 jobs. Out of the eight military bases in Georgia, Fort Stewart has 26.1 percent of the total base population. Depending on how the cut is distributed over the eight installations, the Fort Stewart region likely would lose between 3,500 and 7,000 jobs.
Our community barely survived the economic impact from the Gulf War. Losing that many jobs would be detrimental — maybe catastrophic — to our region.
We need to make our concerns known to Rep. Jack Kingston (912-367-7403) and Sens. Saxby Chambliss (229-985-2112) and Johnny Isakson (770-818-1493).
The Southeast Friends of Fort Stewart and Hunter will host a Liberty County Chamber of Commerce Progress Through People luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 15. The guest speakers will be Hinesvillle Mayor Jim Thomas and state Sen. Tommie Williams, who will explain in plain terms what sequestration means.
The cost to attend is $15. To RSVP for the luncheon, call 368-4445.
Eusebio is the public information assistant for Southeast Georgia Friends of Fort Stewart and Hunter.