Opinion Forum

Fort Benning’s long-lasting relationship with the Columbus area will continue to flourish

On behalf of all the soldiers and leaders of the Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Benning, it has been a special honor to be here as we cross the 100th anniversary of the post’s creation.

From my own perspective — and I am sure I can speak for others — Fort Benning holds a special place in my life: It grew me as an Infantry soldier and leader through several assignments. I couldn’t be more humbled to be here now.

From a professional perspective, I stand on the shoulders of a series of great leaders who commanded before me, who have shaped the Fort Benning community, trained soldiers, developed leaders and stood at the forefront of innovation for our Army. And as Fort Benning moves into the next 100 years defending the nation, Fort Benning, Columbus, Phenix City and all our partner communities in the Chattahoochee Valley area can expect to shape the world, just as we have done throughout the last century.

And there are a lot of milestones accomplished here since the Army established Camp Benning 100 years ago. When George C. Marshall was a lieutenant colonel and assistant commandant of the Infantry School in the 1920s, he implemented training changes to prepare soldiers for the chaos of battle. In the wake of World War I, Marshall felt sufficient training would prevent greater casualties in future conflicts, and that legacy of preparation continues today. Fast-forward to present day, our mission remains laser-focused on the same target: To train and prepare soldiers and leaders for the demands of combat!

The innovation of the last century continues, much thanks to the concerted effort and cooperation with our community partnerships. Right now the Maneuver Center of Excellence is transforming how we conduct One-Station Unit Training for Infantry soldiers and soon Armor soldiers as well. We are helping the Army advance its modernization priorities with the lead for the Soldier Lethality Cross Functional Team. Our Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate works with partners in industry and academia, both here and afield, to leverage expertise and keep Fort Benning and Columbus at the forefront of innovation.

The long-lasting relationship with our communities has and will continue to be the envy of many. It is a relationship of care and friendship, seamless communities, shared vision and mutual respect.

It is our hope as we enter our next 100 years that this partnership continues to provide the solid foundation of our nation’s defense and to support the strategic vision of Columbus and surrounding cities.

One Force One Fight!

Maj. Gen. Gary M. Brito is commanding general of the Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Benning.