Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Stryker unit coming, veterans cemetery, too

Posted By on Wed, Jan 22, 2014 at 5:27 PM

click to enlarge Here's an armored vehicle. See the difference? - U.S. ARMY
  • U.S. Army
  • Here's an armored vehicle. See the difference?
Here's a couple of major new developments on the military front here. First, to become more agile and environmentally friendly, the Army has announced it will convert an armored unit to a Stryker force. "Being a wheeled vehicle, they will have less environmental impact," Fort Carson spokeswoman Daneta Johnson says.

Second, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced it had sealed the deal on 374 acres of land in El Paso County, known as Rolling Hills, for a veterans cemetery. That acreage lies south and east of Colorado Springs. 

Beyond Johnson's terse comment, Fort Carson responded to a reporter's questions by issuing a statement that supplements a news release issued this afternoon. And while the change will reduce the number of soldiers at Carson, Johnson says the Army isn't ready to issue actual numbers.

Here's the initial news release followed by the supplemental statement:
click to enlarge Stryker vehicles are wheeled instead of tracked and won't cause as much dust and environmental damage, the Army says. - U.S. ARMY
  • U.S. Army
  • Stryker vehicles are wheeled instead of tracked and won't cause as much dust and environmental damage, the Army says.
The United States Army announced today that it will convert the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division here to a Stryker Brigade Combat Team.

The conversion, scheduled to begin in March 2014, is being made to achieve a needed operational mix of brigade combat teams within the Army, and will take an estimated 10 months to complete.

The Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army, G-3/5/7, issued a Record of Decision, based on a review of the 2008 Environmental Impact Statement that had considered several installations, including Fort Carson, for the permanent stationing of a Stryker brigade combat team. The 2008 Environmental Impact Statement assessed the effects of converting an Infantry brigade combat team to a Stryker brigade combat team; however, the Army is now converting an armored brigade combat team. Because of this change, the Army determined that the 2008 Environmental Impact Statement adequately evaluated the potential environmental effects associated with the conversion and that no supplementation of the Environmental Impact Statement is required.

Replacing Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles with lighter Stryker wheeled combat vehicles reduces heavy vehicle maneuver and fuel consumption, and is expected to reduce dust and air pollution at Fort Carson. Additionally, the net number of Soldiers training at Fort Carson will be fewer than anticipated because the action coincides with the inactivation of another brigade combat team as part of the Army-wide reductions, announced in June 2013.

The decision to convert the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, to a Stryker BCT does not require additional construction at Fort Carson or expansion of Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site. The Stryker brigade combat team maneuver training requirements will be accommodated within the existing boundaries of Pinon Canyon.

The Record of Decision can be obtained online at:
Fort Carson is honored to receive Stryker combat vehicles and transition the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team to the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team. By converting an Armored Brigade to a Stryker Brigade, the 4th Infantry Division increases the operational capability and flexibility, while continuing to further Fort Carson’s net zero environmental goals of reducing pollution and fuel consumption. As Fort Carson and the 4th Infantry Division change to accommodate the Army’s reduction in forces, we will remain a well-trained, efficient fighting force.
Bill Sulzman, who has opposed continual buildup of the military, says via e-mail, "Musical chairs. It is curious how they just dust off a 6 year old EIS and say it still fits. EIS's are mostly a joke anyway but it is still a cut and paste job. Still losing a full brigade a year from now."

Just as we were wrapping up the Fort Carson announcement, we received this release announcing the land has been secured for a Veterans Cemetery here, which we've written about before here and here.
U.S. Senators Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), strong advocates for Colorado's veterans and their families, welcomed the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' announcement today that it has secured land in El Paso County to build a new national veterans cemetery for southern Colorado. The announcement follows years of work by the lawmakers to bring a new veterans cemetery to the region. The Pikes Peak area has one of the highest concentrations of veterans in the country and Pueblo, also known as the Home of Heroes, is home to four Congressional Medal of Honor recipients. Despite this, the nearest veteran cemeteries are located more than 70 miles away, greatly inconveniencing local families.

"Southern Colorado's veterans have earned our respect through a lifetime of service to our country," Udall said. "Our veterans and their families deserve better than to travel hours from home just to pay tribute to their loved ones. That's why I have fought for years to create a final resting place that is worthy of their sacrifice. It's long past time this cemetery was built so we can honor the veterans across southern Colorado who gave so much for our freedom."

"As a region with a rich military history and a large and active veteran population, Southern Colorado is an ideal location for a final resting place for our nation's heroes," Bennet said. "We've been working closely with the VA, veterans and their families to establish a new national cemetery in Southern Colorado. It's exciting that we can move forward on this long overdue project."

"As the son of a World War II veteran, I know the importance of dignity and respect for our nation's heroes," Lamborn said. "That is why the very first bill I introduced in Congress was to bring a Veterans Cemetery to El Paso County. It is tremendously exciting to see the hard work and help of so many members of our community pay off after all these years. I want to especially thank our Pikes Peak National Cemetery Committee for their years of dedication and advocacy on this project. The tens of thousands of veterans here in the Fifth Congressional District will now have a special place of remembrance close to heart and home."

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced today that it has acquired the land, water and mineral rights for a new veterans cemetery in southern Colorado. The new cemetery will be located on 374 acres of land in El Paso County at a site known as Rolling Hills.

Udall, Bennet and Lamborn have worked for years to bring a national veterans cemetery to southern Colorado, including successfully authorizing the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to acquire land to build the cemetery. The lawmakers have worked closely with southern Colorado veterans and community leaders to make sure the new cemetery would meet the needs of veterans and their families. For years, Udall, Bennet and Lamborn have partnered with the Southern Colorado Veterans Cemetery Committee to build support for the cemetery and advocate for local veterans.

Tags: , , , , ,



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Pam Zubeck

Latest in IndyBlog

All content © Copyright 2019, The Colorado Springs Independent

Website powered by Foundation