Military Affairs Committee hosts III Corps for dinner, last for 2016

By LYNETTE SOWELL
Cove Leader-Press
 
The Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce’s military affairs committee fired up the grills last Thursday evening at the Copperas Cove Civic Center, as it hosted one of eight military affairs dinners it holds throughout the year to reach out to the different divisions stationed at Fort Hood.
 
The honored guests of the evening were from III Corps, Maj. Gen. John Uberti and his wife, Linda, as well as other members of III Corps mixed and mingled with military affairs committee members, chamber of commerce members, along with business owners, city staff and local officials.
 
Marty Smith, who serves on the Copperas Cove city council and is a past president of the chamber of commerce, was the emcee for the evening and welcomed both military and civilians alike to the dinner.
 
After eating a meal of freshly grilled ribeye steak cooked to order, along with baked potato and salad, Uberti spoke, first about the relationship between Copperas Cove and the Fort Hood community.
 
“This is our community. Wherever I end up having the opportunity to talk about your Army, III Corps, our soldiers and our families, it really is about our community,” Uberti said. “Most of our soldiers and family members live in this community. Thank you for having such a welcoming community and a great place to live.”
 
He said he is amazed every month at how many retiring soldiers and civilians fill out the “retiring to” section of their retirement form with the name of a city in Central Texas, including Copperas Cove.
 
“Many of you did that also. You are the ones creating that sense of community,” he said. “We come and go, so that sense of community is because of what you do.”
 
He also shared some of the numbers regarding current deployments from Fort Hood and the Army worldwide. He said there are 93,000 troops assigned to III Corps on any given day, with 13,000 of III Corps troops are deployed on five continents today.
 
“That’s just a microcosm of what’s going on (in the Army),” Uberti said. “There are 187,000 soldiers forward stationed or deployed in 140 countries around the world. That gives you a sense of how busy the Army is and how busy III Corps is.”
 
He said III Corps’ 4th Infantry Division in currently in Europe working with NATO and European allies for over a year now, with a major exercise under way. III Corps is also involved in Operation Freedom Sentinel in Afghanistan. The 1st Infantry at Fort Riley is preparing to go to Iraq, and has a brigade also in Kuwait right now. The 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss has its headquarters deployed in central command responsibility in the Middle East.
 
He said the 1st Cavalry Division’s Headquarters is preparing to deploy to Afghanistan and there is currently a brigade combat team in Korea on a nine-month deployment.
 
After Uberti’s remarks, Copperas Cove mayor Frank Seffrood addressed the III Corps contingent and presented Uberti and his wife with a plaque called “The Front Door to the City.”
 
He also acknowledged city council members present to include Marty Smith and Dan Yancey. City manager Andrea Gardner was in attendance, as was the city’s human resources director, Jeff Davis. CCISD superintendent Joe Burns spoke to the group and presented the III Corps’ top brass present with Bulldawgs ballcaps.
 
Marty Smith said the remaining military affairs banquets for 2016 have been canceled. At the June 7 city council meeting, the council amended the city’s rental policy where nonprofits are concnered. Before that amendment, which affects rentals to other groups as well, the military affairs committee had received a discounted rental fee of $250 for the civic center. At that meeting, representatives from the military affairs committee said paying the full price for renting the civic center—$900--would make the dinners cost prohibitive for the committee.
 
The city recently offered an interlocal agreement to the chamber of commerce, which was not accepted by the chamber, city manager Andrea Gardner said at the time.
 
Smith chalked the entire situation up to simple miscommunication that can be worked out between the chamber and the city. Her outlook was upbeat on Thursday evening that the military affairs dinners will resume in 2017.
 
“We’re going to work it out; it’s what we do,” Smith said.
 

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