The Denver Post: Fort Carson May Land New Combat Air Brigade

February 7, 2011
In The News

By Kyle Glazier

The economies of Colorado Springs and the entire state are poised to receive a boost after Colorado politicians in Washington, D.C., announced Friday that Fort Carson will likely be home to a new combat air brigade.

In a joint news release, Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, both Democrats, and Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Republican from Colorado Springs, announced that an Army review recommends placing the 13th Combat Aviation Brigade at the Army post just south of Colorado Springs.

The news means that up to 2,700 soldiers and 120 helicopters will join troops already stationed at Fort Carson, the announcement said. Additionally, the release said the Army plans to order up to $224 million in construction projects to support the new brigade.

An official announcement of the new brigade is expected March 7, according to the release. Colorado's congressional delegation said the Army found that the terrain around Fort Carson provides good training ground for troops who might be deployed to mountainous Afghanistan.

"A new aviation brigade would bring new opportunities for job creation and economic development to southern Colorado," Bennet said. "It would also benefit our troops by allowing Fort Carson soldiers to train more closely with the aircraft they will operate before they deploy, ensuring better preparation for combat."

"I'm ecstatic," Udall said. "This is great news for Fort Carson and Colorado Springs."

"From an economic standpoint, that's all positive," said Brian Binn, president of military affairs for the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce.

Binn said that most of the new troops will live off-base.

"That's a boon for the housing market and renting market," Binn said.

The announcement said new land acquisitions would not be sought as part of the garrison increase. If officially approved, stationing would begin in fiscal year 2013 and finish the following year.

Lamborn said Fort Carson contributes about $2 billion annually to the state economy and that new military personnel anywhere in Colorado positively affects the entire state.

"There's intense competition for something like this," said Lamborn, who said he had been advocating for Fort Carson to receive a new brigade for two years.

"There are congressmen who would give their right arms to have a brigade come to their districts."

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