Following is a thank-you letter from Brigadier General William Hickman, the commanding general of Fort Polk, for the show of support for the U.S. Army base.
To our elected officials and community members:
I want to thank you all for participating in the April 15 community listening session held at the First United Pentecostal Church in Leesville. It was an amazing show of support by the community to the Soldiers and Families of Fort Polk – one that will long linger in my memory.
I know that the pending Army 2020 Force Restructure decision is causing uncertainty – but this community has pulled together in the face of that uncertainty, and I am grateful for that. For generations our Louisiana and East Texas communities have stood unique in their dedication to our Soldiers. We call Fort Polk “the best hometown in the Army.” Those are much more than mere words. There’s a force and inherent truth behind them that makes them all the more powerful. From the merchant who offers a kind word and a welcoming smile to a Soldier; to the community member that ties a yellow ribbon around their front yard tree; to all the individual efforts to make our Soldiers feel at home, all of you are what makes the communities second to none.
As the Department of the Army representatives COL Tom O’Donoghue and Mr. Andy Napoli, and Mike Reese of Polk Progress and I traveled to the event, the sight of supporters lining the streets with flags, signs and cheers made a lasting impression. The 1,500-person capacity at the Pentecostal auditorium held more of the same – and there was standing room only. “We are Fort Polk strong,” was one of the themes woven through Monday’s proceedings, and that has never been evidenced so clearly, so strongly.
Again, thank you for your support. I am proud to be a member of this community living in the great state of Louisiana. There are challenges ahead, but together we have been, and will continue to be, the Fort Polk team.
Brig. William B. Hickman
Commanding general, JRTC and Fort Polk
Fort Polk Supporters Line Streets
April 16, 2013 – If the U.S. Army didn’t know before, it’s now assured of the support of Fort Polk in Leesville.
Hundreds turned out Monday afternoon to line the streets leading to a meeting. That’s to hear from people who would most be affected by downsizing the base and the joint-readiness training center.
Supporters yelled and carried signs, and it was all to get their points across before the big meeting across from city hall.
Officials and ordinary citizens weighed in on the importance of the base to our area. One community leader says the group set the record straight about the fall-out from future downsizing. The army’s first evaluation was said to be riddled with errors. There’s no set date yet for a decision on the base’s future.
– KLAX ABC 31 News, April 16, 2013
Save Fort Polk Effort
April 12, 2013 – Community leaders are urging everybody to descend on Leesville Monday afternoon to impress government officials with the need to save Fort Polk.
First, all are needed to line the streets along Hwy 467 to Third and Texas to First United Pentecostal Church to Nolan Trace, across from city hall.
This is the route the U.S. Army officials will take to the church for a meeting that starts at 5 p.m.
More than 4,000 letters have been sent to the army about the need for Fort Polk and urging against troop reductions there.
The purpose of the meeting is to gather more information about a force restructuring in 2020.
What has these community leaders concerned is the first assessment found no significant impact. And, since that time, community leaders have been arguing the government’s figures are wrong. An umbrella group called Fort Polk Progress is championing the effort to stave off reductions.
– KLAX ABC 31 News, April 12, 2013