FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 2, 2010

SCHUMER URGES ARMY TO REVERSE DECISION TO MOVE 98th ARMY RESERVE DIVISION TO GEORGIA - WOULD BE SIGNIFICANT LOSS TO ROCHESTER AREA


98th Division Has Been Based in Rochester Area for Over 50 Years and Is Integral to the Community

Loss of Troops Would Hamper Economic Growth in Rochester-Finger Lakes Region

Schumer: 98th Division Belongs in New York, I'll Fight to Keep Them Here

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that he has sent a personal letter urging the Army to reverse their decision to move the 98th Army Reserve Division in Rochester to Fort Benning, Georgia. The 98th Reserve Division has been a part of the Rochester-Finger Lakes region for over 50 years and is a source of great pride and economic activity for the entire community. According to the Army, they have decided to relocate the 98th Division as part of a larger transformation of Army Reserve Training Divisions. Today Schumer urged the Army to reverse the flawed decision to move the 98th, as the move could both hurt regional families that have relatives stationed overseas as well as damage the local economy.

In addition to the economic activity generated by the base, Schumer pointed to the critical services that it provides to area families that have relatives stationed overseas. The base is home to a “virtual installation” which provides family members many of the benefits that can typically be found on large military bases around the country. This includes counseling and other critical services. If the base were to close, the closest facility would be Fort Drum, over 120 miles away.

“Relocating the 98th is a bad move for the Army and a bad move for Rochester because of everything it provides to the community and our reservists, and I am going to do everything I can to keep them here in Rochester,” Schumer said. “For over 50 years these amazing women and men have been the pride of this community and I’m committed to them staying in the area for the next 50 years.”

The 98th division has a long and proud history of service to the Rochester community dating back over a half-century. The base is incredibly important to this community due to the fact that a significant number of Army Reserve Soldiers and their families live in this area. Additionally, the Rochester community has a rich history of support for military members and their families and to move the base would harm the community fabric that has existed for well over a half-century.

More than 800 Army Reserve Soldiers live within 50 miles of Rochester, which is located more than 120 miles from Fort Drum. This makes this installation crucial to the growth of the region. If this facility were to close those 800 families would either have to leave the community or deal with having their loved ones stationed at bases far away from home. The 98th Reserve Base in Rochester was chosen as the first base in the country to get a “Virtual Installation” which provides much needed support for families living in a community, such as Rochester, while their family members are deployed. This is important because one of the major benefits of living on a large military installation is the access to readily available support services. This installation is on the cutting edge of how we help families stay happy and healthy while their loved ones fight for our country overseas. While our reservists are being counted on more and more to serve and sacrifice for their country we should not be considering the closing of valuable bases and the services that come with them.

Schumer has a long history of advocating for military families and the communities in which they live. Since becoming New York’s Senator, Schumer has been proud to announce millions of dollars in funding for military communities all across New York in order to strengthen them and ensure that they remain economic hubs for their communities. And this past October, Schumer led a bipartisan effort to pass legislation that would make it easier for service members serving abroad to vote in elections.

Schumer added, “We’ve got a top notch Army Division at a top notch facility and we’ve got to work around the clock to make sure they stay here and remain pride and foundation of this community.”

The full text of the letter is below.

March 2, 2010

Secretary McHugh:

It is my understanding the Army has decided to relocate the 98th Army Reserve Division out of Rochester, NY. I write to respectfully urge you to reverse this decision due to the negative impact it would have on the Army, and on the service members and military families in Rochester and the surrounding communities.

The 98th division has a long and proud history of service to the Rochester community dating back over a half-century. The base is incredibly important to this community due to the fact that a significant number of Army Reserve Soldiers and their families live in this area. Additionally, the Rochester community has a rich history of support for military members and their families and to move the base would harm the community fabric that has existed for well over a half-century.

More than 800 Army Reserve Soldiers live within 50 miles of Rochester, which is located more than 120 miles from Fort Drum. This makes this installation crucial to the growth of the region. If this facility were to close those 800 families would either have to leave the community or deal with having their loved ones stationed at bases far away from home.

As you know, the 98th Reserve base in Rochester was chosen as the first base in the country to get a “Virtual Installation” which provides much needed support for families living in a community such as Rochester while their family members are deployed. This is important because one of the major benefits of living on a large military installation is the access to readily available support services. This installation is on the cutting edge of how we help families stay happy and healthy while their loved ones fight for our country overseas. While our reservists are being counted on more and more to serve their country we should not be closing valuable bases and the services that come with them.

I am sure you recognize the proud history and strong commitment to community that has always has embodied the 98th Army Division Reserve Base in Rochester, NY. Therefore, I urge you to reverse the decision to close, relocate, or downsize this facility.

Thank you for your consideration and please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator

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