September 17, 2002
Army to relocate command center to Texas

From today's Chron:

SAN ANTONIO - After months of internal debate at the Pentagon and in Congress, the U.S. Army has decided to downsize and relocate its Southern Command from Puerto Rico to Fort Sam Houston here, officials said Monday.

Overcoming a strong lobbying campaign on behalf of Fort Benning, Ga., Fort Sam Houston prevailed in a protracted competition that will bring about 500 jobs -- and a significant amount of prestige -- to San Antonio. The command oversees all Army operations in the Caribbean and Central and South America, including National Guard and construction activities.

The command, known as Army South, has been headquartered at Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico, where it was relocated from Panama in 1999. Although military officials pondered leaving the command on the Caribbean island, they began looking for a new home where its current staff of 1,200 could be greatly reduced.

The Pentagon considered other sites in Louisiana, Mississippi and Georgia, but the selection process was widely considered a two-site competition between Fort Benning and Fort Sam Houston. The victor offered a large underutilized facility -- the old Brooke Army Medical Center [BAMC] -- for the command headquarters.

This is of interest to me primarily because I went to college in San Antonio and roomed with an accident-prone army brat. We used his pedigree to take advantage of the Fort Sam PX and liquor store, and thanks to his misadventures we were both familiar faces at the BAMC. I'm glad to see that Fort Sam has a future.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 17, 2002 to The great state of Texas