Returning to Fort Gordon for the first time in nearly two decades, Col. Sam Anderson on Aug. 8 took control of the local Army post’s Garrison Command, an office of about 400 employees that manages the day-to-day operations of the 55,000-acre post.
A decorated officer and certified civil engineer from Wilmington, N.C., Anderson comes to the Augusta area at a critical time for the post, which will see its troop levels increase by more than 1,500 soldiers as the Pentagon shifts its focus toward cyber intelligence.
With operational experience in Somalia, Bosnia and the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, the commander sat down with The Augusta Chronicle to answer five questions of what can be expected from his time in office as he celebrates one month on the job.
Q: You served as the former commander of the 369th Signal Battalion. How does it feel to back at Fort Gordon?
A: I was extremely excited when I found out I was coming back to Fort Gordon and the CSRA, and then I was simply amazed at how much the installation has changed – the quality of our facilities, the resiliency of our people – and I am continually overwhelmed by the unwavering support the installation receives from the CSRA community.
Q: How has your leadership experience in the Army prepared you to be commander of Fort Gordon?
A: To me, leadership is about doing the right thing when no one is looking, taking care of your people, and being accountable for your actions. …I hope to be able to apply those three tenets to the complexities of being the “city manager” of Fort Gordon.
Q: Former garrison commander, Col. Bob Barker, focused his tenure on improving on-post housing and traffic. What are your goals?
A: The improvement of quality of life for service members and their families will continue to be priorities of the Garrison. A viable long term installation housing strategy and transportation investments certainly fall in those categories and will be priority efforts going forward. I also hope to make incremental improvements in other quality of life programs, specifically in our Family and Morale, Welfare, and Recreation programs that meet the demands of an extremely diverse population.
Q: Civilian furloughs have challenged staff this summer. How have you built trust with your staff?
A: I have told the entire Garrison workforce that their job is to support the men and women of this installation, and my job is to support them – the Garrison workforce. I plan to support them by giving them the latitude to do their jobs, by fighting for the resources they need to be successful, and by being articulate to senior leadership when those resources do not match the requirements.
Q: Fort Gordon is poised for major change with the Pentagon talking about consolidating its cyber intelligence training at the Army post. What do you see in Fort Gordon’s future?
A: It’s important to note that no decisions have been made regarding growth at Fort Gordon, and when those decisions are made they’ll be announced by the Department of the Army. But whether we have growth at Fort Gordon or not, I see a bright future for our installation.