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Army listening sessions
Last comment by JimmyMack 1 year, 6 months ago.

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The Army is holding listening sessions this month at installations, including Fort Stewart, to hear what communities think about the force reductions and restructuring that are likely to impact their areas.

Army officials are asking for community input in order to make the best decisions about reorganization, and to mitigate – as much as possible – the impact on local communities, according to the Army News Service.

These force structure changes are not related to sequestration. As the president’s 2014 Budget is released and the impacts of sequestration are continually assessed, additional force structure reductions may be needed.

The Army must reduce and reorganize its force structure in order to achieve the fiscal reductions required by the Budget Control Act of 2011, and to remain consistent with Defense Strategy.

To accomplish this, Army officials are currently analyzing all available options. At this time, no decisions have been made, however, officials anticipate with an Active Component reduction of 80,000 Soldiers (from a 2010 high of 570,000 to 490,000 by the end of fiscal year 2017) that many Army installations will be impacted.

“These listening sessions are designed to enable community members to provide their concerns and unique perspectives on topics regarding their communities,” said Army spokesman Lt. Col. Peggy Kageleiry.

The listening sessions will aid the Army in its efforts to reduce its overall strength.

“The Army values community input to make the best decisions and to mitigate, as much as possible, the impact on local communities,” she said.

Kageleiry said Army leaders will consider the communities’ concerns before final decisions are made. She also said the Army will preserve quality of life for Soldiers and their Families, while sustaining relationships with the communities.

The Army could downsize its active component force structure from 45 brigade combat teams to potentially as few as 32, she said.

Kageleiry said the Army will ensure that it still is able to respond to future, unforeseen demands.

The force reductions began in Fiscal Year 2012 and focused initially on overseas formations. Significant force reductions in the U.S. will begin in 2014, Kageleiry said. She said additional reductions may be necessary after President Barack Obama’s 2014 budget is released and the impacts of sequestration are assessed.

Besides Monday’s event in Killeen, listening sessions are also planned to be held at: Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.; Detroit Arsenal, Mich.; Fort Belvoir, Va.; Fort Benning.; Fort Bliss; Fort Bragg, N.C.; Fort Campbell, K.Y.; Fort Carson, Colo.; Fort Drum, N.Y.; Fort Gordon; Fort Huachuca, Ariz.; National Training Center and Fort Irwin, Calif.; Fort Jackson, S.C.; Fort Knox, Ky.; Fort Lee, Va.; Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.; Fort Meade, Md.; Fort Polk, La.; Fort Riley, Kan.; Fort Sill, Okla.; Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield; Fort Wainwright, Alaska; Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska; Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.; Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston; Redstone Arsenal, Ala. and Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

Latest Activity: Apr 12, 2013 at 8:47 AM

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gacpl commented on Sunday, Apr 14, 2013 at 08:24 AM

why waste your time? the last time the army came here to listen to the local people they took what was said and came back and asked the community to invest a lot of money for the armys benefit. only to pull the rug out from under the same people that put everything they had into the projects that army asked for. thats why the big housing project "Independence place" has a couple of projects, but more reposed land then anything else.

sebekm commented on Sunday, Apr 14, 2013 at 12:08 PM

The listening sessions are little more than a process designed to facilitate venting of community concerns; consequently, don't expect too many significant results. Most of the time, those "Army officials (who) are currently analyzing all available options" believe that they already know the concerns, and the various possible outcomes are determined prior to the listening sessions.

Occasionally community feelings and/or "resistance" are greater than anticipated (I can think of a few BRAC decisions that were delayed way back when), but only in rare cases are any plans permanently changed because of them.

mountain commented on Monday, Apr 15, 2013 at 09:41 AM

This is nothing but a bunch of BULL CRAP because the plans are already in place no matter what concerns are brought forward.

HMJC commented on Monday, Apr 15, 2013 at 10:48 AM

I think we all need to maintain some perspective here. The bottom line is that Hinesville is dead without Ft. Stewart. The request made by the previous Commander was based on what he was told was the "plan". Ft. Stewart has a responisibility to be a good steward to Hinesville but it should be a two way street. Both rely on each other to be successful. Sequestor has been bad for all, no other nice way to say it. We just need to find a way to get through this collectively until the ship wrights itself

sebekm commented on Monday, Apr 15, 2013 at 12:28 PM

This community will remain in a lot better shape than some others, based upon the geography, the investment already made in the Stewart-Hunter infrastructure, and the politics (this is when people like Dubya and Jack Kingston have REALLY helped this area over the years).

To dig out of our financial hole, EVERYBODY will have to take hits. This includes the DOD. People forget that even without fiscal woes, the U.S. military has demonstrated a cyclical expansion-contraction throughout history consistent with our defense requirements at home and abroad. When you are shutting down two wars and decreasing your world-wide footprint - even with expanded "war on terror" requirements - the military funding outlay MUST be decreased. This means fewer men and women, fewer programs, and fewer resources. This is NORMAL. Add in 16.8 trillion dollars worth of debt, and you get what we got.

As HMJC says, we just have to rock on and roll with the punches. This, too, will pass.....

JimmyMack commented on Monday, Apr 15, 2013 at 13:23 PM

I will only say, that Liberty County goes all the way back to Declaration of Independence and was home to two signers of that Document. Also, Hinesville as a community existed as a sleepy type southern hamlet long before Ft. Stewart came and inflicted a transient culture upon many of us locals. True, some have benefitted from the Army Dollar. But, some of us MADE it without the Army dollar before Ft. Stewart blew up in the 70's. I used to just about know EVERYBODY I saw at the various stores in Pre-Ft. Stewart buildup. Now I can go to places like Walmart and sometimes not even see ONE local person.

I liked the town I grew up in before the expansion. And to put it bluntly, fellas, I and an albeit minority of others, would and could be just fine if Ft. Stewart just went away.

sebekm commented on Monday, Apr 15, 2013 at 15:59 PM

As a wise man just said in another blog on this site:

"It is what it is......I hate to tell ya this, but: There Ain't No Going Back!"

Fort Stewart is here to stay - as is the now-bloated, heavily military/retired community which surrounds it. IMHO - only a direct hit by a 20 megaton warhead will change this landscape.

So I guess the rest of us can nostalgically wish for a return to the times of honesty, ethics and the moral compass of the Andy Griffith-Leave It To Beaver days, and you can hope that Fort Stewart goes away.

However - I'm afraid that there's just not enough magic out there in the moonlight to make any of these dreams come true. So I guess we'll all just have to "get over it" - right?

JimmyMack commented on Monday, Apr 15, 2013 at 17:44 PM

Yes Sebe. You are correct as usual. There is NO Going Back. I made a buck of two of the Army dollar and have made a socialogical adjustmant to the New Normal for Hinesville. I am just saying: that Hinesville as I knew it pre boom town was a pleasant place to live and raise children.

I Know FSGA will not dissapear and can deal with it. I do not pine for a return to Mayberry here, because as I said before: There ain't No Going Back. I will continue to adjust rental payments and take my bargain with the dollar with a grain of salt. That's All.

sebekm commented on Monday, Apr 15, 2013 at 19:07 PM

Actually - I think that Hinesville is a very pleasant place to live and raise children. The place where I was born and raised is now the homicide capital of the United States, and it's in the top five for highest taxes to boot. One of the community newspapers recently ran a slideshow on its online edition of the state/city GOVERNMENT officials who were convicted felons as a result of crimes in office. There were more than one hundred individuals "showcased." At least three were former state governors. In the neighborhoods where my wife and I Iived, there is a drive-by shooting at least once a week. The schools are among the worst in the nation and the teachers are among the highest paid. They recently went on strike en-masse because the mayor wanted to renegotiate their benefits to avoid city bankruptcy. I could go on and on, but you get the point. Compared to there, Hinesville is Utopia.

sebekm commented on Monday, Apr 15, 2013 at 20:06 PM

The Bottom Line: Welcome to the 21st Century. The "progress" in this society hailed by the left has put us PRECISELY where we are. Remember, it is the right that is supposedly "dragging their heels" in an effort to maintain that honesty, those ethics, and that moral compass of by-gone days - so can't blame THEM.

No - we have the world we now have because - just as you said - the left has had it THEIR way. I'm still betting we CAN "go back." We'll have to in order for our society to survive.

JimmyMack commented on Tuesday, Apr 16, 2013 at 12:37 PM

Sebe: I am old enough to remember Ronald Reagan the darling of the right, hosting G.E. Theater on T.V. in which he signed off from the show each and every time with the words "Remember, Progress is our Most Important Product."

Staying put, socially and culturally speaking, negates evolving. You know, kinda like the middle ages when the moral compasses of the world burnt women, jews, and 'outsiders' and intellectuals at the stake. Them dark times lasted for a few centuries til progressive thinkers brought about the age of Enlightenment. Sometimes called the Renaisance period.

Change is enevitable and is for the most part GOOD.

JimmyMack commented on Tuesday, Apr 16, 2013 at 12:41 PM

...and BTW IMHO the 20 megatron thinga majig will happen BEFORE we see Andy, Gomer and Aunt Bee having lunch at an all white Woolworths lunch counter.

JimmyMack commented on Tuesday, Apr 16, 2013 at 16:48 PM

...also cannot return to keepin women pregant, barefooted, in the kitchen and politically silent. Same for people of color having to drink from COLORED ONLY drinking fountains and passing a poll test in order to vote. We are moving on. And we are taking the heel draggers down that road whether they like it or not. Besides, many of those heel draggers are coming off of some of their outdated notions of immigration, gay marriage and even guns. You can ALWAYS count on change, and you can also count on the reluctance of some of the people to resist it. (see War of Confederate Independence)and some of the comments on these pages.

sebekm commented on Tuesday, Apr 16, 2013 at 17:42 PM

Jimmy: I'm not talking about the Middle Ages, the Dark Ages, or any time more than 50-60 years ago. I'm also not talking about politics per se, I'm talking about integrity, honesty, a moral compass, and societal decay. Many of the "changes" that have occurred in the past 50-60 years have NOT been beneficial to our society. Our "progress" has fostered societal decay.

I do not want societal decay. We can put lipstick on the pig, but that's what we now have. Some of us may be "heel draggers," but others are "head-in-the-sanders." I'll stand with the FORMER all day long.

JimmyMack commented on Tuesday, Apr 16, 2013 at 18:03 PM

Well, there were lynchings in the 40's, 50's, castrations, cross burnings and outright murders in the 60's. Dem good ole days were right ifn you wuz white. The only moral decay I see, is the rotting of the heretofore right's non-functioning moral compass. Repression has fosterd our moral decay. Especially to the marginalized caucasion way of doing things.

The only thing I might be sure of is that we are all going to hang separately if not altogether. Aging white men with receding hair lines telling women how and what to do with their uterus days are over. Fine'

Gay marriage is a reality.

Marijuana Legalizaiton is a matter of time.

The Great Melting Pot endures and is thriving.

The days of the Beave were not real. Never were.

Our next president will be a WOMAN.

mY CHIPS are on Hillary with a two term run and a splintering of the Gop with their own Tea Party lunatics.

HMJC commented on Wednesday, Apr 17, 2013 at 08:41 AM

I may have presented the wrong perception with my post. I was never knocking Hinesville or the "locals" You see, I am what I belieive is refered t as a "Damn Yankee" as I was stationed here and never left...I stayed because ironically this is the longest I have any place in my life. My kids had friends, people actualy reconized my wife and I and the town is still fairly small. The point I was trying to make is that Ft. Stewart and Hinesville are in this together. We cannot go back to the way it was but we can damn sure make how it is now count

JimmyMack commented on Wednesday, Apr 17, 2013 at 09:48 AM

I understand HMJC. Sebe and I do a little fencing every now and then. He is more diplomatic than I at it.

I think I was just originally responding to the comment: "that Hinesville would be dead without FSGA.."
Which is technically correct. Hinesville as we know it NOW would for all intents and purposes become a relatively speaking Ghost Town should FSGA disappear. However, the Hinesville, BEFORE FSGA became a mega post, existed and for the most part was a thriving vibrant small southern town.

I should comment further that when the Federal Government bought the 279000 acres that is now called Fort Stewart they caused the towns of Willie and Taylors Creek to be wiped off the map. These were communities with grocery stores, schools, churhes and a post offiice. Not just houses out in the woods. My daddy graduated from Willie High School. Wyman Mays Book: The Taylors Creek Community lists the various family lineages of the inhabitants of those towns. And yes, the Darsey clan is one of them.

sebekm commented on Wednesday, Apr 17, 2013 at 12:51 PM

I'm not talking about going back to lynchings and race riots. I am talking about going back to when honesty, integrity, and "family values" were taught at home and reinforced in public schools and the media; and where religion was RELEVANT in our society. Our "progress" in the past 50 years has included an assault on these pillars of society, and the result is an "anything goes" mentality which is self-destructive.

As to Hinesville before Fort Stewart got here, I fully "get it." But unlike a society in decay, I believe that the vast majority of the people here in Hinesville RIGHT NOW would be panic-stricken if DOD said BRAC was shutting down Stewart and Hunter in 5 years. Everybody in town is not a real estate agent. I first got here five years after the 24th Inf Div arrived, and I vividly remember the days of the IGA, Piggly Wiggly, and T.G. & Y. I also remember what a big deal it was when K-Mart opened. IMHO - the kinds of changes which accompany expansion of a community due to a thriving local military complex are INEVITABLE. The degradation of a society as a result of poor parenting; a permissive culture; and a disregard for honesty and ethics in our public institutions and the family structure are NOT.

HMJC - as I've mentioned before, I, too am a "damn yankee" - defined as "the one who stayed." My situation sounds just like yours - of my 26+ years in the Army, I was assigned here for 10. Compared to where I've been - and with all of the things that we harp and whine about on these here blog pages - Hinesville is STILL the best community in which my family and I have ever lived. I also understand and appreciate Jimmy's feelings and the sacrifices (as pointed out by Jimmy in these blogs) of the pre-Army residents of the community.

sebekm commented on Wednesday, Apr 17, 2013 at 17:12 PM

"Gay marriage is a reality."

True. It is legal in nine states—Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, and Washington—as well as the District of Columbia and three Native American tribes.

I would point out that these "jurisdictions" represent 15.7% of the U.S. population. That leave 84.3% of the country that is "dragging their heels." As I say - I stand with them.

"The days of the Beave were not real. Never were."

So what were they - an illusion? I don't know where you were in the 1950s and 1960s, but I was alive then and I remember that society. You may remember the worst - but I remember the BEST. It is the BEST that I fervently wish we had back.

Never say never.

"Our next president will be a WOMAN."

As I said - never say never. But I wouldn't bet on it.

JimmyMack commented on Wednesday, Apr 17, 2013 at 20:39 PM

The view of the world, society thru priviledged caucasion lens indeed inhances the Beave 'reality.' Maybe Funk and Lholmes, agree with you and your white perspective on dem good ole days. And yes, Sebe, they were an illusion. Ask people of color about where they were allowed to take lunch, go to school, vote, even marry during dem dose good ole days, my friend.

Memory, especially good memories, are for the most part, selective in that the 'good ones' are easily recalled. One's psyche tends to diminish the bad things of those good ole days.

I, a southern white boy, swam in a PUBLIC pool during them hot good ole days. Nary a person of color dared enter. I could go on...but I do not think that I will ever meet your fond remembrance of those Beave days on equal ground.

sebekm commented on Thursday, Apr 18, 2013 at 13:08 PM

I had no privilege. My parents were of immigrant stock who busted their butts to make their way in our society. I swam in public pools and lived in "average housing" in a community which largely supported the jobs in the steel mills, iron foundries, auto factories, and cereal and soap plants which surrounded it. I'm not seeing things through "privileged caucasion" eyes. The people I worked shoulder-to-shoulder with in the 44" Slab and Alloy Bar Mills at United States Steel in the 1960s were mainly hispanic and african-american. Many of my co-workers, bosses and subordinates were also of non-caucasion descent during my years of Army service. From your description of your background in this community, Jimmy, your upbringing and status in this community is far above what mine ever was.

What I AM talking about is the values I believe made our country better then than now. I'm talking about the attitude of parents toward the education and upbring of their children being superior then to now. I'm talking about our society in general being better then than now. I'm talking about a time of RESPONSIBILITY, HONOR, AND DEDICATION TO COUNTRY AND COMMUNITY SERVICE which I see as superior then to now.

There is no doubt that there have been improvements in "race relations" throughout this country from then to now. But - believe it or not - this issue is but a small slice of what matters in a society as a whole. It may have been amplified to you living here in the South, but - believe it or not - it wasn't the same EVERYWHERE in this country as the "bad times" you experienced back then.

I do not believe that the "progress" of our society - AS A WHOLE - makes us better off as a society today than we were back then. I guess that's my bottom line. You can phrase everything in terms of race relations if you want - that seems to be a fixation in your arguments. But I believe I'm looking at our society - not through privileged cacausion eyes - but through the eyes of someone who has grown up with friends of all races; had idols and role models of all races; and who today has immediate family members of all races (both of my children married inter-racially/ethnically).

I, too, could go on, but obviously nothing I can say will affect the bitterness and rancor about your life during the times I look back so fondly on. I guess that's what you get when you have a Melting Pot.

JimmyMack commented on Thursday, Apr 18, 2013 at 13:43 PM

Nice, well written words Sebe and of course you are blessed with your right as an American to express them. Please see my post on another blog: Paradox by Hudat as it reflects most of what I could replicate here but will not.

The only thing you got wrong is your perception of my "bitterness and rancor about my life..." I am not bitter nor rancorous about my living thru 'dem good ole days" as you call them. Quite the opposite. If my ability to describe those times in words that are uncomfortable to you, then...that, my friend, is Not MY problem. Those days were some of the best days of my life. I just happen to know that those days were emphatically horrendous for other humans and the Beave was and will always remain a fictional portrayl of an unreal hollywood manifistation of "good ole days."

Such, as you say, is the Melting Pot in which we exist.

sebekm commented on Thursday, Apr 18, 2013 at 14:45 PM

…..and one other thing, Jimmy:

Unlike many who blog here, you and I have actually met. So we at least know what each other looks like – and we know that we are both caucasion males. I do not apologize for having been born white. Nor do I accept responsibility for any actions – positive or negative – which may have been accomplished or committed by anybody who is white – either during my lifetime or before I was born. Those on the left may feel comfortable with a self-loathing, “mea culpa” attitude toward everything bad which might be or may have occurred – anywhere at any time. But I refuse to play that game. It is neither meaningful nor does it solve anything.

I am all for "inclusion" - and have lived it. My perspective includes inclusion, but is not dominated by it. As I say - race relations is not the whole, sum total of the problems which face this society. It is a small slice.

We should do all we can for "inclusion," but we should NOT compromise principles--nor should we abandon the moral compass which has allowed our society to recognize the difference between right and wrong. Because when we do this, it undermines the institutions upon which our society is based.

When there is no difference between right and wrong, we ALL lose.

sebekm commented on Thursday, Apr 18, 2013 at 14:59 PM

..and just so you understand what my MAIN point is:

I'm not saying the days of Andy Griffith were Utopia; what I am saying is that - in many ways - those days were better than they are now. Remember, my focus is on parenting, the media, education, and honesty and integrity in government. You can make it about homosexuality, race relations, and "reproductive rights" (a.k.a. the right to kill the unborn living), but in the totality of the problems we now face, these issues (expecially homosexuality) are far down the scale of significance.

But I reiterate: the moral underpinnings of a society are what allows its continuation. When you rip away the foundation - when "anything goes" and there is no distinction between right and wrong - you get anarchy.

We were further from anarchy THEN than we are NOW. That's what I'm saying.

sebekm commented on Thursday, Apr 18, 2013 at 15:00 PM

....and now that this one is beaten to death, too: Good Day!

JimmyMack commented on Thursday, Apr 18, 2013 at 15:23 PM

Yea...its probably time to end it. But one last comment: those 50's and 60's were days that threatened the extinction of the entire human race by the Bomb. A total ending of the world. We came close to the brink in '62 with our blockade of Cuba and with Russian and American fingers inches away from thermo nuclear warfare while the Beave and Wally sorted out their school homework problems.

JimmyMack commented on Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 09:41 AM

I too, am now done Sebe. You have a good one today too. It is indeed a learning pleasure for me to engage in learned give and take with you.

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