Cooke says Utah needs to keep military commands

Published: Tuesday, June 5 2012 2:17 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's Democratic gubernatorial candidate has stressed the importance of keeping Utah's two two-star military commands within the state.

Retired two-star Maj. Gen. Peter Cooke expressed that while he is interested in exploring another Winter Olympics for Utah, the state has a duty to ensure the bid does not force its commands to relocate elsewhere in the country.   

“Utah has two two-star Army Reserve Commands headquartered at Fort Douglas that are invaluable assets to our defense program,” Cooke said during a Monday press conference. 

“Fort Douglas is also home to the 807th medical unit, which commands 11,000 troops and all medical units west of the Mississippi River, and specializes in behavioral health for active duty and return soldiers. We’ve spent a lot of time and energy to get these two important commands to come here. They are a powerful representation of our state’s commitment to the military and are critical to our national security.  

“I guarantee the Army Reserve has not yet been brought into this proposal for another Olympic bid. I think we are making a serious mistake in assuming we can take over these military forts, which we have fought hard to bring to the state, without consulting the military and free of cost — there isn’t going to be any free Army land. What’s more, threatening Fort Douglas sends a horrible message to those trying to defend Hill Air Force Base from defense cuts, base closures and job losses. We must be a state that stands tall for our military,” Cooke said.   

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