Originally created 11/11/03

Official says base at risk of closing

The risk that Fort Gordon could be closed in 2005 is real, the chairman of the CSRA Alliance for Fort Gordon said at Monday's meeting of the Rotary Club of Augusta.

"Fort Gordon may indeed be on that closure list," Larry DeMeyer told Rotarians. "It's easy to see that the stakes are very high."

About 12,500 soldiers and 5,000 civilians work at Fort Gordon, the area's largest employer, so the possibility of closure "should not be taken lightly," he said.

The CSRA Alliance, formed to strengthen Fort Gordon, was modeled after a similar organization in Warner Robins, Ga. So far this year, Mr. DeMeyer said, the alliance has raised $400,000 in cash and $300,000 in pledges for the base.

The goal is to collect $2 million over three years.

To keep Fort Gordon off the closure list, Mr. DeMeyer said, the alliance will try to enhance the fort's existing missions through joint operations with other service branches and seek new missions, including disaster response and homeland security training.

"We're not necessarily in total control of what the Department of Defense decides," he said. "But we have to work every single day to prove our case."

Reach Dena Levitz at (706) 823-3339 or dena.levitz@augustachronicle.com.


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