Dear Editor:

In your last “At Issue” editorial you answered your own question – whether or not the Army is important to the “vitality” of Colorado Springs. Of course it is – economically.

But the Army does not station its troops in places such as Fort Carson for the economic welfare of the local community. It places its combat troops where they can, above all, be fully trained to go to war.

That means training at the individual, small unit and large unit level with live fire, until there is a high probability, on short notice, through their combat readiness, they cannot only prevail on the battlefield, but do so with the fewest possible casualties.

The slogan must always be: “more sweat less blood.”

That is the part of the equation that really never gets talked about in El Paso County by public officials, academics or by you in media. Only we veterans who have fought up close and in person in our nation’s wars, know that is the real bottom line for stationing – and the only purpose for Fort Carson.

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Combat readiness is the No. 1 Army product. Not payrolls.

That is why I sent a fax to Gov. Bill Ritter the day he signed that bill blocking the Army’s expansion of Pinon Canon that bluntly said: “You have just signed the death warrant for thousands of soldiers.”

Unless he and Colorado fully support the training needs for Army soldiers stationed at Fort Carson, the Army will be fully justified if it pulls its combat troops entirely out of Colorado. Then we shall see just what was “important” in their being here in the first place.

David Hughes (colonel retired, U.S. Army),

Colorado Springs