Hundreds attend meeting to discuss military layoffs

Ft. Sam Houston potentially facing 6,000 job cuts

SAN ANTONIO – Hundreds of service members and their families packed the Freeman Coliseum Expo Hall Tuesday to learn more about potential military job cuts in San Antonio.

Officials from the U.S. Army told the crowd the branch is facing a reduction of nearly 80,000 positions over the next four years and $95 billion in funding cuts over the next 10 years.

"That does not leave a lot of room for any installation to escape these cuts unscathed," said Deputy Director of Force Management John McLaurin.

The Army estimates Fort Sam Houston could see its workforce cut by 6,000 jobs 4,000 of those positions would be military. It was that uncertainty that brought retired Army veteran Johnny Gaitan to the meeting.

"Somebody that just got out of the Army after maybe eight to 10 years...they're saying, 'Well, what am I going to do know if they cut my position?'" Gaitan said. "It puts a strain on those families."

Earlier Tuesday, Mayor Ivy Taylor introduced members of the newly created Military Workforce Advisory Committee. Retired Brigadier General and San Antonio Director of Military Affairs Robert M. Murdock tried to find a silver lining in the dark cloud hanging over what many people call "Military City USA."

"I think whatever reductions we see at Fort Sam Houston will be minor compared to other Army posts," he said. "Now that the wars are over, I foresee a decrease to some degree in the (Army) headquarters level, but very minor compared to those posts that have a combat mission."

Army officials took questions from military members during the meeting. Those comments will help the Department of Defense craft its next budget.

A decision on how many cuts will be made at Fort Sam could come as early as this summer.