By Capt. Marvin J. Baker

120th Infantry Brigade, Division West public affairs

GATESVILLE - Fort Hood officials attended the Feb. 8 Gatesville Chamber of Commerce meeting to discuss how plans for the military installation might affect the Gatesville community.

The Fort Hood Strategic Plan 2020 will guide Fort Hood to 2020 and beyond, Col. Mark A. Freitag, Fort Hood garrison commander, said during the meeting.

"The plan establishes a clear vision for the future and charters a strategic course to meet that vision," Freitag said. "It is important that we communicate this plan to our various audiences, including soldiers, families and the local community."

Current plans for North Fort Hood include the construction of six training operations centers and a multimillion-dollar Army Reserve Center, Freitag said.

Chamber leaders were interested in how the winding down of the U.S. missions in Iraq and Afghanistan would affect North Fort Hood. Gatesville, North Fort Hood's neighbor, has seen more than 5,000 soldiers a year train for deployment at North Fort Hood in the past five years.

During the past two years, Gatesville residents have seen Division West headquarters and two Division West training support brigades join the 120th Infantry Brigade at North Fort Hood.

Carla Manning, Gatesville Chamber of Commerce military affairs liaison, said, regardless of the drawdown, the city will continue to support and welcome the support of soldiers stationed and training on Fort Hood.

"The soldiers make a huge sacrifice for us every day, and whatever we can do to make life a little easier, we will do," Manning said.

It is exciting to see more soldiers from Division West and from III Corps working to build good community relations with Gatesville, Manning added.

The Gatesville Chamber of Commerce will honor Fort Hood soldiers and their families during the third annual Military Appreciation Fish Fry at 6 p.m. Feb. 25 at the Coryell County Complex in Gatesville.

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