On Wednesday, July 7, 2010, COL McLaughlin, Garrison Commander at Fort Carson, toured Pueblo West and then provided an information brief at a special Pueblo West Metro District meeting. In addition to metro district board of directors, meeting attendees included a couple dozen members of the Pueblo West community, including retired military, active military and military family members. Here are some tidbits from the meeting that I thought might be of interest to you.
- In order to forestall any complaints about Ft. Carson's nightly live-fire exercises which can often be heard in Pueblo West, Col McLaughlin stated that the purpose of Fort Carson is to "train America's sons and daughters for combat". (Kind of hard to argue with that!)
- There is a new 9/11 memorial on the right side of the front gate at Fort Carson. The memorial includes pieces from the twin towers.
- 70% of the military stationed at Fort Carson live off-post in surrounding communities. Unfortunately, the Colonel did not have any statistics on how many active military are living in Pueblo West.
- Fort Carson is the 2nd largest employer in Colorado.
- The area surrounding Fort Carson is the 5th largest military retiree community in the United States.
- Army end strength at Fort Carson for 2011 is projected to be 25,400 soldiers.
Fort Carson is hoping to entice the stationing of a Combat Aviation Brigade at Fort Carson. The decision on the Aviation Brigade's future home is to be made towards the end of the summer. Any money that may come with the Brigade may be used to open gate 19 from Fort Carson to I-25. Gate 19 would be south of existing gate 20 which is at exit 132 off I-25.
Concern was raised by several family members that there weren't enough resources in Pueblo, especially for soldiers with Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) or Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Col McLaughlin said he would look into the matter. I encourage anyone who has information regarding soldier support resources to let me know so that I can share with my readers.