A busy Camp Bowie Training Facility is good news for Brownwood, for Brown County, for the nation and especially for the troops who sharpen their skills in the process. And thatís good for each citizen.

While National Guard officials are quick to remind us that the rumored expansion of the facility involving hundreds of thousands was incredibly exaggerated, growth is happening. But itís all within the existing boundaries of the area currently being utilized, and additional acreage is not in the plan.

New firing ranges are being funded. Additional lodging for troops ó billets ó will more than double the existing accommodations to almost 600. And with the projected enhancements, Camp Bowie will become a destination for troops not only from throughout Texas, but also from throughout the United States.

At the foundation of all this lies the ongoing support from a community that for generations has been unfailing in its respect for the armed forces. Certainly, thereís a economic benefit to having the Camp Bowie Training Facility here, but it goes beyond that. Itís the kind word to a soldier standing in line at a convenience store. Itís a nod of appreciation to a table in the restaurant where three uniformed men and women are seated. Itís a dedicated group of volunteers taking time to prepare and serve a homemade meal to units in training far from their own homes.

These small gestures are important to service men and women, because they will tell you itís not this way every where they go. In many communities, the hostility to those wearing the nationís uniforms is outwardly visible.

Brown County residents repeatedly show their high regard for Americaís armed forces, and that extends even to most who donít agree with the wartime assignments that their nationís leaders hand them. The Army and the National Guard has many options about where its troops will train and where its investments will be made. Such local support canít help but make decisions about doing all that in Brownwood easier.

Brownwood Bulletin