People at and around Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield have been nervously waiting for this day for years to see what the BRAC report would do. They were wondering whether the military would go or grow in the Coastal Empire, and the news of no major changes is just fine with them.
From Savannah to Hinesville, people gave a sigh of relief normally reserved for the end of a quiet hurricane season. The Third Infantry's training grounds of Fort Stewart-Hunter AAF will stay.
"It's delightful to see it come and go uneventfully," said Mayor Tom Ratcliffe of Hinesville. "And particularly to feel that we're centered in the mission for the future of the Army."
For the scrutiny of BRAC, local supporters pled their case the last few years on the installation's importance.
"First of all, I think the Third Infantry is possibly the best army the world has ever seen in the history of time," said US Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA Dist. 1). "I think that's recognized in Iraq and all over the world."
While BRAC won't bring any more soldiers to the base, garrison leaders say more than 2,000 soldiers assigned to the Third ID for this deployment will come back from Iraq and stay there for good.
"We have not yet received all the forces that were coming to us that were announced a year ago," said Col. John Kidd. "So you'll still see some growth on our installation."
Those who gathered today said with the report still needing official approval, they're thankful but not ready to celebrate just yet.
Reported by: Dal Cannady, firstname.lastname@example.org