McKiernan Delivered State of Fort Sill Address
On Sept. 22, Maj. Gen. Brian J. McKiernan, Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill commanding general, delivered his State of Fort Sill address to a captivated audience at the Cameron University McCasland Ballroom. He had landed in Lawton only two hours prior after an extensive trip to the United States Pentagon. His address spoke of the past success of Fort Sill and its optimistic future.
He boasted of Fort Sill's volunteer efforts within the community, which saw soldiers in local schools and assisting various nonprofit organizations. Fort Sill's Healthy Base Initiative, and multiple other health-based initiatives, has allowed the Army base to be considered a model installation giving it a gold level standard for a healthy generation. The military base has increased its efforts in STEM programs for 5th grade students in 17 districts, which has improved students' math and science subjects by 10 points. McKiernan also boasted about the relationship between Lawton and Fort Sill, which he believes is the best community/military base relationship across bases. He believes he will only see this relationship increase over the coming years.
As for the future of Fort Sill, McKiernan had only positive outlooks. Fort Sill will see growth in its Fires Center of Excellence over the next decade, which will enable the maneuvering of ground forces with field artillery and air defense artillery. He predicts capabilities in the near term to see solutions to the Army, which will lead to the increased capabilities of the National Guard by increasing its weapon strength. Growth across the Army will continue over the next couple of years, which includes enlistees, instructors and support personnel for training. An increase in troop strength and combat training will shape the lay of Fort Sill, including housing and facilities. McKiernan sees significant growth in Fort Sill's future, which means there will be an update to its Visitor Control Center. He said last year the center issued 115,000 short-term passes and 7,500 passes, so the center is seeking an easier process for passes.
He concluded by stating that Fort Sill is continuing to increase its relationship with the Lawton community. Its youth concert earlier this year saw 2,000 attendees and its annual Fourth of July Celebration saw 5,000 attendees. He hopes to utilize the Lawton Fort Sill Convention and Visitors Bureau's Visit Lawton app to make incoming service men and women and their families aware of what Lawton-Fort Sill has to offer. He also hopes to work together more with the Lawton Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce and local leaders to make Fort Sill a "destination" for families. On the horizon, he sees positive changes for Fort Sill and is optimistic for what it means for Lawton and its bright future.
McKiernan ended his address by stating that he will be departing from his post at Fort Sill in November to be the Deputy Commanding General in the 18th Airborne Corps. But he stated that he is "dragging his feet" on the change in command because it will be difficult for him and his family to leave Lawton. He said Fort Sill is "home" and will be homesick as soon as he leaves, but he plans have his retirement ceremony at the post’s Old Post Quadrangle. McKiernan wished a "thank you" on behalf of his family, the Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill for "the best community relationship our Army has."
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