Congressman Jason Smith of the 8th congressional district sent the letter on Friday to Major General Christopher Beck regarding Fort Leonard Wood West and South Gates

A Missouri Congressman has written a letter to the Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, urging him to reverse the decision to limit access to Fort Leonard Wood’s South and West gates. Congressman Jason Smith of the 8th congressional district sent the letter on Friday to Major General Christopher Beck. As Smith noted in the letter, the gate closures are disrupting commerce and negatively impacting the livelihoods of local families, workers, and patients. Smith wrote, “Fort Leonard Wood doesn’t just play a vital role in our nation’s defense, it also drives the local economy and provides lifesaving care to patients in the surrounding area. It’s unacceptable that Fort Leonard Wood leadership, despite significant concern within the community, reduced the operating hours for the South and West gate entrances for people who visit or travel through the installation every day, including employees driving to work, parents dropping their kids off at school, and commercial truck drivers transporting goods. What’s also troubling about this decision is its impact on patients who rely on Fort Leonard Wood General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital for emergency care like heart attacks or strokes when every minute counts. I urge Fort Leonard Wood leadership to do what’s right and reverse this decision immediately.” Fort Leonard Wood is a critical economic driver, employing over 9,000 civilians and contributing $3 billion to Missouri’s economy each year. General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital is the only hospital in Pulaski County and the closest within a 30-mile radius.