Fort Stewart, Georgia is a United States Army post and home to the 3rd Infantry Division. The Military Reservation includes about 280,000 acres. It’s the largest military installation in Eastern United States. It was named after General Daniel Stewart who fought during the American Revolution. Fort Stewart has a lot of history from WWII to Women AirForce Service Pilots (WASPs) and a holding area for POWs, to the Cuban Missile Crisis and the staging area for the 1st Armored Division, to helicopter pilot training and Operation Iraqi Freedom. It’s seen a lot of action.
But this past week, it seems there’s been a different kind of action taking place at Fort Stewart. The base was placed on lockdown by authorities who were searching for cocaine. As many as 64 soldiers were rounded up.
H/T Conservative Tribune:
Something big is going down at Fort Stewart, Georgia.
On Tuesday, the base was placed on lockdown and several soldiers were arrested because authorities believe that they either have in the past or are currently selling, possessing, or using cocaine, Popular Military reported.
While the investigation is continuing, Popular Military reports that it had been told by a source there could be as many as 64 soldiers from the “3-15 Infantry Battalion and the 1-30 Infantry Battalion” involved in the affair.
UIt wasn’t clear how many had actually been arrested, but Popular Military said its source had reported that the drug ring’s leader had ties to a known drug cartel.
The Liberty County Sheriff’s Office arrested Pvt. First Class Mario Figueroa on drug trafficking charges, according to Maj. Jeff Hein of the LCSO Drug Task Force. The arrest was the result of a 90-day investigation by LCSO, Fort Stewart’s Criminal Investigation Division and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.
A spokesman for the Army’s Criminal Investigative Division (CID), Chris Grey, confirmed the apprehension of other soldiers but would not say how many soldiers were apprehended.
Apparently, security at the Georgia military base locked down the entire base and conducted 100% search of all vehicles entering the base.
Yeah, it seems every cop in a 20 mile radius showed up and raided the COFs and the barracks.
Groups of Soldiers were taken away in white vans. Some soldiers were returned a couple hours later, probably after interrogations were completed. Others weren’t so lucky. It looks like some soldiers in C Company may have some explaining to do!
For a drug operation to be this large, something tells me that some leader(s) in charge or of higher rank, may have been turning the cheek the other way and maybe collecting some nice chunk of change on the side. Who knows!
The Associated Press reported via the Army Times that several of the soldiers from the Tuesday apprehensions had been cleared of wrongdoing.
Maj. Gen. James Rainey, senior commander of Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield issued a short statement to the media — if you can call it that.
It seemed like he wanted to remain pretty tight-lipped, at least for the moment.
“We dedicate resources and work closely with our local law enforcement partners to identify and suppress illegal drug use in our ranks,” he said according to WSAV. “We take this seriously, and we will continue to do everything we can to ensure our Army and communities are drug free.”
He felt it important to note that this incident should not distract from the work done at the military base by American servicemen.
“There are over 25,000 men and women serving in the Army at Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield who selflessly defend our country every day,” the general continued. “This incident does not diminish their hard work and sacrifices.”
Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield is the Army’s world-class training, and military armored power projection combination on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. This dynamic platform allows military units in the region to deploy rapidly throughout the world.
The Stewart/Hunter Military Complex is responsible for organizing, directing, coordinating and controlling garrison support and service activities, including overall management of the garrison workforce. The command is composed of numerous directorates and organizations responsible for the day to day operation of the Stewart/Hunter Military Complex. The Garrison Command provides support to assigned, attached and tenant units or activities to include on post units and activities in the assigned geographic area.
Previous noted incidents of drugs include from September 2016, as reported in the Marne Justice:
A 1LT received a GO Art. 15 for use of illegal drugs, resulting in a forfeiture of $2,517 and a written reprimand.
A SGT received a Field Grade Art. 15 for use of marijuana, resulting in a reduction to E-1, forfeiture of $783 for two months (suspended), extra duty for 45 days, and an oral reprimand.
A non-affiliated civilian who previously pled guilty to driving under the influence of illegal drugs on Fort Stewart violated the terms of her probation. As a result, the U.S. Probation Office filed a petition with the court to revoke the defendant’s probation. After a hearing on the matter, the defendant was sentenced to three months of confinement.
Drugs are not new to the military, but they are not condoned either.
American soldiers from past and present are deployed to war. In War, soldiers see a lot of ugliness, death and destruction. Americans in uniform not only have shot and killed the enemies often under grueling circumstances, but they’ve seen other soldiers and friends die, some standing right next to them under those same gory conditions, as they have defended our freedom. It’s can’t be easy coping with the memories of the past or war. Often, many soldiers come home with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Whether these soldiers from Fort Stewart were dealing with PTSD or just making a quick buck, who knows. One thing is for sure. Drugs are illegal – whether you’re a soldier or civilian.
As Major Gen. Rainey said, “There are over 25,000 men and women serving in the Army at Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield who selflessly defend our country every day,” and “This incident does not diminish their hard work and sacrifices.”
Certainly not. We honor those who have served and continue to serve our country. Americans can be grateful for their service. All gave some, some gave all. God Bless Our American Soldiers who fight to defend our freedom every day.