Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., is leading a fight to maintain Fort McPherson's commissary, the sole military benefits store in the Greater Atlanta area that's slated to close Sep. 28.
Located just outside of Atlanta in College Park, the commissary is in danger of closing due to the construction of a future store at Dobbins Air Force Base in nearby Marietta, Ga. However, that construction has been stalled due to a lack of funding, leaving many to wonder if it will open at all.
In a letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Johnson urged the defense department to keep the commissary at Fort McPherson open until the one at Dobbins AFB is completed. If the commissary closes before then, Johnson wrote, thousands of servicemembers and veterans residing in the Greater Atlanta area will be left without access to a military provisions store.
A member of the House Armed Services and Judiciary committees and long-time advocate for veteran benefits, Johnson stated that cutting this "important benefit" from active-duty members and veterans undermines their service.
"These heroes have earned this benefit through service to our nation," Johnson wrote. "In these difficult economic times … it is deeply disappointing that the Department would make the decision to deprive Atlanta-area veterans of a commissary."
Although Fort McPherson stopped operating in 2011, its commissary remained open. If it closes, servicemembers and veterans will have to travel more than two hours to Fort Benning in Columbus, Ga. for the nearest military provisions store.