By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Brigade decision sad; not end of issue
Placeholder Image
Editor, Let me first thank you for the great coverage of our tragic loss of the 5th Brigade. This news comes at an extremely hard time as the economic landscape in our country offers little optimism.
We in Hinesville and the Coastal Empire have been extremely fortunate as our economy has been buffered by the great fate of having a thriving military base in our midst. Great soldiers and great families live, shop and work among us. They have been, and will continue to be, our greatest economic asset. They buy and rent our houses, shop in our stores, stay in our hotel rooms, eat in our restaurants and, in general, are our strong economic friends and allies.
While we in the business community are licking our proverbial wounds right now, we need also to think of the loss to soldiers and their families. The additional combat brigade would have brought great relief to the stress of an already strained force in that it would have given the 3rd Infantry Division another brigade to share in the constant rotation into war.
With what the Army faces in the months and years to come, this news has to sadden soldiers everywhere as it does us. When it appeared that help was on the way it dissipated with the stroke of a pen from the secretary of defense. Suicide and divorce rates are a true indicator of the stress exacted upon soldiers and their families, and those rates are at an all time high. Less time in war conditions would obviously lessen the stress, yet our nation’s leadership sees it differently.
Our local situation, the loss of anticipated soldiers and their families is not what we expected from our government. It is important to recognize that we didn’t go looking for the brigade. We were asked by the Army to accommodate a decision the Army made to stand up a new brigade at Fort Stewart. We responded as our history of accommodation is solid. Everyone asked stepped up to the plate — our school board, our city, county, state government and private investment.
Local businesses looked to the boost that 10,000 new citizens would have brought, yet now, the same government who asked for assistance in bringing a new brigade to life, has suddenly without notice, ended its mission and promise to our community. The amount in dollars this area has invested in anticipation of the 5th Brigade is staggering. We need not give up in our efforts to mitigate this situation, as the Army needs more troops at Fort Stewart, the area needs more troops for growth, and we are prepared to receive them.
We have taken our fight to Washington, to the highest levels of government. We are encouraged. We think this fight is a winnable one, but will involve great effort on our part to win it. Everyone who enjoys the benefits of our fort and its wonderful soldiers should consider joining us in this fight. Our already existing organization, Friends of Liberty and Fort Stewart, needs your involvement and help. If you care to know more, let me encourage you to call our executive director, Paul Andreshak, at 408-6225 or 977-6202.
You can get a summary of issues facing the Army at

Clay Sikes
Sign up for our e-newsletters