Local leaders spend Military Day at Fort Gordon
Members of the 2014 Leadership Augusta and Leadership Columbia County classes spent March 12 at Fort Gordon gaining an understanding about the operation of the post and military life. This year’s Leadership Augusta class joined up with the Leadership Columbia County class for military Day at Fort Gordon.
Leadership Columbia County, a program of the Columbia County Chamber, is designed to expose business and community leadership to the opportunities and challenges facing our community while honing their leadership skills, according to the Leadership Columbia County website. The 10-month program features day-long sessions that cover various topics such as law enforcement, health care, education and workforce, economic development and history of the county.
Leadership Augusta was established in 1980, as an affiliate of the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce, to enhance the civic participation of emerging leaders within the region. It’s similar to Leadership of Columbia County. Each year since its founding, Leadership Augusta has selected about 30 of the best and brightest individuals in the region to participate in the 10-month program oriented to developing leadership skills, fostering understanding of the major issuing facing the region, improving the communications network among leaders of disparate backgrounds and interests, and most important, motivating them to contribute through voluntary participation in civic activities.
While at Fort Gordon the two groups started the day with Col. Samuel G. Anderson, the Fort Gordon U.S. Army Garrison commander, giving an overview of the operation of the post in Olmstead Hall. He explained how the post functions much like the towns in their communities.
“Maj. Gen. LaWarren V. Patterson, the U.S. Army Signal Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon commanding general, is the ‘mayor’ of the our community, and I serve as the ‘city manager’,” said Anderson.
“Our current operating budget is about $721.8 million,” he explained. “We have about 1,080 family homes on post, 319 miles of road, and 5,912 troop billet spaces.”
Anderson talked about the future of Fort Gordon and the impact of the post’s growth on the local school systems and the surrounding communities. In addition, he discussed the various amenities the post offers citizens of the Central Savannah River Area.
The career signal officer cited the award-winning dinner theater, Hilltop Riding Stables, the golf course, which was named the top golf course in the Army by the Professional Golfers Association.com; activities hosted by the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, and the hunting and fishing opportunities available at the Tactical Advantage
“We are trying to develop ways to make Fort Gordon more accessible to surrounding communities while maintaining the security we need,” said Anderson.
Anderson encouraged everyone to come to Fort Gordon’s first triathlon, “Dare to TRI”, that will take place March 29 at 10 a.m. He pointed out that all DFMWR recreational activities are not paid by taxpayers.
“These facilities and activities are all operated through user fees.” Anderson said. “If you want to participate in the triathlon, you can still register for it by going to daretotrifortgordon.com.”
The presentation was followed up with a driving tour of the post and stops at various sites for hands-on experience of the training Soldiers undergo. Members of Leadership Augusta and Leadership Columbia County spent time at the EST 2000 facility honing their marksmanship skills while firing M-9 pistols and M-16 rifles. They also experienced the Humvee Egress Trainer, which is the safest, most realistic rollover training tool available for Soldiers.
The group also stopped at the post Training Aids Support Center to learn how various improvised explosive device training tools are made. Later they received a briefing at a forward operating base, ate meals-readyto eat for lunch and talked to cadres from the Regimental Noncommissioned Officers Academy regarding military life and training.
Near the end of the day, the post Installation Support Detachment demonstrated at Olmstead Hall how the American flag is folded during military funerals. The leadership groups viewed a retreat ceremony at the Signal Towers flag pole and wrapped up the day at Kegler’s Lounge inside Gordon Lakes Bowling Center with another opportunity to ask additional questions of Anderson about the impact Fort Gordon has on the surrounding communities, its operations and the amenities it offers citizens in the surrounding communities.