Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Thousands of postcards shipped to the Pentagon in support of Fort Carson

By Tom Roeder Updated: August 26, 2014 at 10:20 am

Fort Carson boosters gathered more than 4,000 postcards in support of the post as part of a push to stave off steep cuts in the number of soldiers there.

The weeklong effort to bolster public support for the post wrapped up Monday as the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance shipped the signed postcards to the Pentagon, where Army officials are pondering cuts of up to 16,000 troops at Fort Carson and 29 other installations nationwide. The deadline for public comment on an environmental analysis of the cuts was midnight Monday.

Andy Merritt, the alliance's chief of defense industries, said the postcards could put Fort Carson ahead of its peers "if we get down to those tie-breaking factors."

The Army announced the potential of sweeping cuts in June as part of a plan to reduce its ranks by 2020. The Army said proposing widespread cuts of up to half its soldiers allows generals flexibility in deciding where the 70,000 in needed reductions will occur.

If the full force of the cuts hits Fort Carson, the post would lose two-thirds of its troops, punching a $1 billion hole in the Pikes Peak region's economy, Merritt said.

Merritt said boosters gathered the support of business and community leaders, but hadn't tapped the sentiments of the public until last week.

"It's really a couple of weeks ago that we realized we left out one key component," he said.

The public outpouring exceeded expectations: The initial order of 2,000 postcards wasn't enough.

As he looked at stacks of postcards, Steve Dant, who heads the alliance's Military Affairs Council, said the results will make an impact.

But the effort to stop Fort Carson cuts has a long way to go.

The Army is expected to spend the balance of the year reviewing its options and an announcement isn't expected until 2015.

Dant said he and other business leaders are heading to Washington, D.C., in late September to meet with politicians and military brass.

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Contact Tom Roeder: 636-0240

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