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Training area for troops is nearing

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By early next year, troops from Fort Gordon could begin using thousands of acres at Savannah River Site for training.

Army officials have been waiting for years to use the more than 100,000 acres of dormant federal land for troop maneuvers and non-live-fire training. Pending the outcome of an environmental study, this could soon become a reality.

Col. John Holwick, Fort Gordon's garrison commander, said the training will be limited mainly to "light maneuvers," meaning that tanks, other troop carriers and other heavy equipment won't be allowed.

"You won't see tanks out there churning up the grass, but you may see trucks, helicopters," Col. Holwick said.

James R. Giusti, a spokesman for SRS, wrote in an e-mail Wednesday that the site is waiting for the Army to develop an interagency agreement for the use of the land before it moves ahead.

"Once that is complete and is provided to DOE (Department of Energy) at SRS, we will develop and issue an environmental assessment in the April-May 2009 time frame," Mr. Giusti said.

The agreement would allow the Army, Navy and Air Force to conduct training operations on the 310-square-mile area -- something Col. Holwick said is important because it gives soldiers a new place to test their abilities.

"A unit trained on Fort Gordon that's been here for 40 years pretty much knows every square inch," he said. "So it puts them in a new place."

Though Fort Gordon would be in charge of the new area, it wouldn't necessarily be the only installation training there. Units from Fort Benning, Ga.; Fort Bragg, N.C.; Fort Stewart, Ga.; and those from the Air Force and Navy could use the area as well.

"When you consider that Fort Gordon itself is 56,000 acres, it's a significant improvement in our training capacity," Col. Holwick said. "If we can use it for the readiness of the Army and without impacting the environment, it's a good thing."

Reach Adam Folk at (706) 823-3339 or adam.folk@augustachronicle.com.

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SCEagle Eye
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SCEagle Eye 10/23/08 - 08:01 am
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Why, oh why, is a

Why, oh why, is a non-productive big-government use of SRS being given priority over productive private use of the site??? This place has become a socialist money pit for special interests who are hooked on handouts and subsidies. Time to break that addiction and let non-subsidized uses have a shot. Tax payers seem to be gouged at every turn there days and one day the back of this out-of-control government will be broken. And it all got much worse under people who call themselves "Republicans". Too bad they have renounced their fiscal conservative roots.

426Hemi
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426Hemi 10/23/08 - 02:04 pm
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All in the name of saving

All in the name of saving your bacon-literally. You want to ride a bike and kiss Sunflowers and Pansies, head on over to the Evergreen State and hang with the "Greener's."

DEVGRU
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DEVGRU 10/23/08 - 07:47 pm
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Pluto Boy is the type that

Pluto Boy is the type that would cry for help from the fighting Americans when his back is to the wall, because he can't fight for himself.

disssman
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disssman 10/23/08 - 08:31 pm
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Lets see here. No Armored

Lets see here. No Armored vehicles, no heavy vehicles, maybe helicopters and maybe trucks for an area of 310 square miles. What are they going to practice, road marches? I know the next thing will be building a headquarters area, and barracks area and all the resultant infrastructure like water,sewage treatment, power and communications. It really looks like we are building Ft Gordon #2 aren't we. I often wonder why we never use the 150+ square miles of training areas at Ft Gordon? If you look closely, the environmental concerns stopping use at Ft Gordon will be the same concerns limiting use of the SRS area. Its really mind over matter. The Govt dosen't mind and the taxpayer don"t matter!!! I'll bet they can get this off the ground and running for less than $10 billion, anybody want to bet?

corgimom
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corgimom 10/24/08 - 12:30 pm
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SRS was put in New Ellenton

SRS was put in New Ellenton specifically because it was close to Ft. Gordon so that the Army could defend it. Pluto, don't you get it that they want to be familiar with SRS in case of an attack on it? And SRS is Federal property. And guess what? The Army trains on Federal property. And Strom Thurmond, who brought it to SRS, started out as a Democrat.

disssman
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disssman 10/24/08 - 05:02 pm
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Corgimon when SRS was built

Corgimon when SRS was built Ft G was the home of the signal training school and the Military training school. I doubt these activities would qualify as defensive units for active defense of SRS. What Federal property are you talking about in reference to Thurman who was a devout Republican. I think if you would chect SRS has its own security force , with Armored tactical vehicles and helicopters, neither of which are at Ft Gordon.

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