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International delegates tour Stewart
Consuls on economic development mission
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Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Phillips stands to address the delegates during a breakfast. - photo by Photo by Denise Etheridge
A delegation of international representatives based in Atlanta with the state’s consular corps toured Fort Stewart on Friday as part of a regional tour focusing on economic development opportunities. The trip was sponsored by the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
Diplomats representing 20 countries including Israel, Korea, Great Britain and the Philippines started their tour with an overview of armored security vehicles, given by soldiers with the 385th military police battalion. Afterward, they toured the 4th Brigade’s new headquarters being constructed and had lunch at a dining facility on post.
The consul delegation wrapped up its tour with a visit to Warriors Walk, a living memorial to soldiers who have been casualties of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Reda Mansour, Israel consul general and dean of the consular corps, said annual visits like the one to southeast Georgia and Fort Stewart are an opportunity for consul to see how local economies are built and maintained. He said the consuls can provide valuable feedback and insight to their home countries as a result of the visits.
“What impresses us is the relationship between the military and the community, and we can learn from that,” Manseur said. He said what also is valuable to see is how the military understands and uses local expertise to strengthen its own operations, including the educational component of post life.
Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Phillips, 3rd ID deputy commanding general-rear and Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Ashmen joined the delegation at lunch with other soldiers at the 4th Brigade dining facility. “We want to show you why Fort Stewart is such an important part of the Army and Georgia,” Phillips said. “The 4.52 billion we generate is a very important part of the economy here in southeast Georgia.”
Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo, commander of the 3rd ID and Fort Stewart, also made a special appearance via video message, which he recorded for the occasion. “Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield is an economic engine for southeast Georgia,” Cucolo said.
He added that in the nearly 30 years he’s been in the Army, family life has shifted to have a greater impact on the communities surrounding military bases.
“The population on base is inextricably linked to the population off base,” Cucolo said. “Eighty percent of my soldiers live off the base with their families.
“The local folks here have done such a wonderful job of making [Hinesville] home away from home that the families stay,” he said. “We maintain our great energy for any and all fights because of the support of the local civilian population of  Hinesville.”
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