Lawton/Ft. Sill_The first step in BRAC coming to Southwest Oklahoma was felt at Fort Sill Monday. An official ground breaking ceremony was held on post, making the spot for the new "Air Defense Artillery School." The first of over $200 million being spent and 10,000 new people are making the move to Comanche County.
City, State and Government officials gathered to see BRAC in action. The Air Defense Artillery Complex is a partnership to keep our land and skies safer and it's finally arrived. In 2005 BRAC recommended moving the ADA training from Ft. Bliss to Ft. Sill and now the military is planning to spend almost $500 million over the next seven years. "We now start to see the physical presence and the groundbreaking is that symbol that BRAC is on track and it's coming here and everything that we know about it is good news for southwest Oklahoma," Major General David Ralston said.
Colonel Heidi Brown is the Assistant Commandant of the ADA School at Ft. Bliss and says they are ready for the move. "We're looking forward to this move," she said. "We feel very welcome here in southwest Oklahoma and this was a great start today."
Fort Sill already trains soldiers for ground warfare. Now, bringing the ADA School to the base will ensure continued growth. "There'll be jobs created and then as the soldiers from Fort Bliss and the civilians from Fort Bliss start coming here for training and other functions, we'll see the city continue to grow. So it's just a huge impact on the city of Lawton. And this is a great day," said Mayor of Lawton John Purcell. Fort Sill will now be the home of the "Fires Center of Excellence" and about eight current facilities will be upgraded. General Ralston and Colonel Brown say that with both air and ground artillery training, Ft. Sill now has both thunder and lightning.