Colorado

Aug 23, 2010 8:28 PM by Matt Stafford

Growing pains are getting better, Ft. Carson leaders say

"(20)10 marks the largest deployment of troops from Fort Carson since the Vietnam War," Col. Robert McLaughlin, Garrison Commander for Fort Carson. Roughly 10,000 soldiers are already deployed. Leaders expect the deployment cycles to continue for the near future.

While these assignments will continue to keep soldiers away, the number of missions assigned to Fort Carson has steadily grown -- causing issues with neighbors as they try to train.

One issue brought up last spring at a community forum was on helicopter use near the base. Col. McLaughlin says leaders got a chance to talk with the community, adjusted some flight paths and has since seen improvement.

"Frankly, (we) haven't had a lot of complaints recently about any flight operations," Col. McLaughlin says.

They have another forum planned this week; likely touching on topics including the proposed expansion of the Piñon Canyon Maneuvering Site and giving more access to the rail spur running along Stratmoor Hills.

It can be a struggle learning how to move troops and train them, without bothering neighbors.

"We're constantly looking at how we can get better at that," Col. McLaughlin says.

However, growth isn't always a concern.

"As deployments come and go, service needs, they'll come and go," explains Robert MacDonald, Executive Director of the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments. The council of governments hosts the forum.

Business owners are finding out Fort Carson expects their number of soldiers and families to grow to 64,000 people.

"They benefit from the soldiers and the families coming into the community," MacDonald explains.

For community forums, like the one planned this Thursday, they want to find out how they can best do their job -- training our soldiers for combat while respecting and working with others.

"It's also important that we're good neighbors as we do that," says Col. McLaughlin.

It's a partnership that only looks to be growing.

If you're interested in attending Thursday's community partnership forum, it begins at 3 p.m., August 26th, at the Antlers Hilton in Downtown Colorado Springs.

For more information on the forum, click here.

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