Fort Monmouth Prepares For Formal Shut Down Tomorrow

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FORT MONMOUTH – After 94 years of service, Fort Monmouth will officially close on Thursday. An inactivation and color casing ceremony was held today.

“It was a great community relationship that made Fort Monmouth, and what makes leaving more difficult,” said Davis D. Tindoll Jr., director of the Installation Management Command’s Atlantic Region. “No matter what the future holds for this ground, its rich legacy of people and technological advancements will always he remembered and honored.”

The U.S. Army Communications Electronics Command (CECOM) flag was cased during the ceremony by Tindoll, Garrison Manager George E. Fitzmaier and Sgt. Maj. Lesley McCorkle. A flag casing is a formal event where the unit’s colors are taken down and put into a protective covering.

On Thursday, the fort will hold the final retreat ceremony, in which the American flag near Russel Hall will be lowered for the last time.

In 2005, Fort Monmouth was selected for closure by the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission and soon embarked on a transition to move operations to the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. The BRAC decision called for the transfer of 4,950 civilian and 450 military positions.

“This is a very special day,” Fitzmaier said to a large crowd that turned out for the ceremony. “Fort Monmouth means so much to so many people. The first airplanes were here, homing pigeons, hot air balloons, night vision goggles … it was called the Army’s house of magic.”

At 12:01 a.m. Friday, the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA), which operates under the state Economic Development Authority will assume responsibility for the fort property’s redevelopment and re-use.

“The fort’s closing is one of the saddest yet most important chapters in Monmouth County’s history,” said Freeholder Lillian G. Burry, vice chairwoman of the FMERA panel. “Our hope is that in the near future the fort property will enter a new phase of importance to the county and will become an important economic engine for the entire region.”

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