ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - The pomp and circumstance of the BRAC completion ceremony came complete with a flag presentation, the award of a medal and a compliment of mementos commemorating the massive move that has transformed the Aberdeen Proving Ground.
Major General Nick Justice says Maryland rolled out a welcome mat unlike any he’s ever seen to families moving to Maryland from Fort Monmouth, New Jersey.
"So they could visit Baltimore... visit the surrounding towns and communities, visit housing... schools... open the schools for us to go into and literally went out and the state of Maryland provided bus service so the families could come down and visit and find out the kind of community they were locating in."
Of all of the Army's re-jumbling of its military bases, we're told this was the largest BRAC relocation in the country and military leaders here at APG say, at one point, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers called it a 'perfect storm'.
As part of the largest infrastructure project since World War II, the Army tore down 140 buildings on the base and built 18 cutting edge science and technology centers from the ground up in just six years.
"We have completed over $1 billion in design and construction programs delivering over 2.8 million square feet of state of the art facilities,” said Deputy Garrison Commander Colonel Andrew Nelson, “That's somewhere in the equivalency of eight Harford Community Colleges or 12 Aberdeen High Schools."
While APG once represented a temporary assignment for soldiers in training, the re-build is growing the community with some of the military’s brightest minds who will now call this their home.
"These people that are joining churches, are joining scouting organizations, are joining PTAs, joining Parks & Recs---they're input into Harford County has and will be significant,” said Harford County Executive David Craig, “Now will they buy Ravens tickets? No. They're still Giants fans, but they'll learn."
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