February 14, 2007
FORT GORDON, Ga.---Many people believe Congressman Charlie Norwood was the driving force behind keeping Fort Gordon's gates open, and for that his legacy and dedication to the military will always be remembered.
It was May 2005 when the decision came down: Fort Gordon had been spared during the Base Realignment and Closure Hearings, or BRAC cuts.
Charlie Norwood was credited with keeping Fort Gordon's gates open.
"It was his leadership and his foresight, and he saw that if we didn't act as a community to prepare for BRAC, that we were subject to losing our largest employer," said Thom Tuckey of the Fort Gordon Alliance.
But that didn't happen--and after the hearings, Fort Gordon actually began to grow even more. New businesses, new homes, and more jobs for the military community were all part of Norwood's plan to prove Fort Gordon's needed existence.
Retired general Jan Hicks, who was the commanding general at Fort Gordon at the time, teamed up with Norwood. She says he had the vision and influence to save the post.
"I could take it to the Pentagon, but Charlie needed to take it to the Hill," she said. "He needed to take that message, and he had a great commitment to the Army."
Even though Fort Gordon was spared from that fateful list, there is still much more ahead for the post. Those who knew of Norwood's compassion for the military and his unwavering support say that he was proud of Fort Gordon and would want the area to continue to thrive.
"Charlie was behind us a hundred percent, and he would want us to continue to take care of our military families and our service members," Tuckey said.
"He would want us to grow and he would want us to keep pushing, and will do a lot of that in his name," Hicks said.
Fort Gordon's commander, Gen. Randolph Strong, had this to say about Norwood: "Fort Gordon, Georgia and our entire nation has lost a true patriot, a devoted citizen and a good friend in Charlie Norwood. His tremendous support of those serving in the military, their families, and of the Army Post will be greatly missed."