Soldiers from a Fort Knox-based infantry brigade combat team are set to return home from Afghanistan.
The 110 members of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division are scheduled to arrive at Ft. Knox Friday at midnight. They’ll be welcomed home during a ceremony at the Natcher Physical Fitness Center at the army post.
The event will be the final redeployment ceremony for the brigade, signaling the end of its nine-month deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The unit has been stationed in the Zabul province in southern Afghanistan, an area larger than the state of Connecticut. The soldiers have been assisting Afghan security forces, government members, and police forces in the province.
Army officials have moved up the timetable for the departure of Fort Knox's only fighting brigade.
Maj. Gen. Jeff Smith tells the News-Enterprise the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division will fully deactivate by the end of the year.
Last summer, the Army announced that 12 brigade combat teams, including Knox's, would be deactivated by 2017 as part of a force reduction of about 80,000. Fort Knox's brigade has more than 3,000 members.
Smith said many soldiers in the unit have already received new assignments and soon will depart.
The general says the "greater part" of 2,000 soldiers and their families tied to the unit will leave in the next six to eight months. Soldiers nearing retirement or who are exiting the Army will remain at Knox.
A U.S. Army sergeant faces a court-martial hearing this week at Fort Knox in the shooting death of a civilian employee last year.
Sgt. Marquinta Jacobs of Radcliff is charged with premeditated murder and aggravated assault in the April 3 death of 51-year-old Lloyd R. Gibert of Elizabethtown. Investigators say Jacobs approached Gibert in the parking lot near the Human Resources Command building where Gibert worked.
Nearly 300 Ft. Knox soldiers are home for the holidays after serving a nine-month deployment in Afghanistan.
The soldiers assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division were honored during a ceremony Sunday night at the Hardin County Army post. The 285 troops had been operating in the roughly 7,000–square-mile Zabul Province in southern Afghanistan, assisting Afghan security forces, government representatives, and police forces.
The unit will continue to send soldiers home through next May, with the majority of the brigade home before March.
Elizabethtown, in the shadow of Fort Knox, has been named the number one military boom town in America.
Military spending provides a major boost to the economies of communities like Elizabethtown, which ranks number one in the nation when it comes to population growth, per-capita personal income and gross domestic product.
Other cities in the top five of the list include Clarksville, TN, the home of Fort Campbell.
A 27-year-old Army soldier based at Fort Knox has died after his unit was attacked in Afghanistan last Saturday. The military says Army Spc. Angel L. Lopez of Parma, Ohio died in Zabul Province, Afghanistan. Lopez was a wheeled vehicle mechanic. It was Lopez’s first deployment overseas.
His awards include the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Combat Star, National Defense service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, NATO medal and the Army Service Ribbon.
Even as the Army faces shrinking budgets, an audit shows it paid out $16 million in paychecks over a two-and-a-half-year period to soldiers designated as AWOL or as deserters. It's the second time since 2006 the military has been dinged for the error.
A memo issued by Human Resources Command at Fort Knox, Ky., found that the Army lacked sufficient controls to enforce policies for reporting deserters and absentee soldiers to cut off their pay and benefits immediately. The oversight was blamed primarily on a failure by commanders to fill out paperwork in a timely manner.
The payments from 2010 to 2012 represent only a fraction of the Army's nearly $44 billion projected payroll for 2013. Auditors and a watchdog group derided the waste as government agencies grapple with automatic spending cuts.
A leadership course for Army cadets will be moving to Ft. Knox, bringing thousands of college students to the post next summer.
The relocation of the Leader Development and Assessment Course is good news for Ft. Knox, which is losing a combat brigade as part of the Pentagon's force reduction.
A statement from the Army's Cadet Command says the move will consolidate summer training for its Reserve Officers Training Corps. Along with another ROTC course at the base, the summer courses will bring about 12,000 cadets and staff to Ft. Knox beginning in 2014.
The course was previously hosted by Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.
Military posts all over the country began scaling back operations this week under furloughs ordered by the Department of Defense. A total of 11 days must be taken before September 30th due to across-the-board cuts in the federal budget.
At Fort Knox, about 5,900 civilian workers will be impacted. Fort Knox Spokesman Kyle Hodges says work weeks will be shortened to 32 hours.
"In large part, the furloughs will take place on Mondays or Fridays. However, depending on the office, there may be some exceptions."
Some positions, like medical and combat, are exempt.
Fort Knox is the largest employer in the Hardin County region. The local economy could feel the pinch of furloughs as the civilian workforce earns less money between now and the end of the fiscal year.
The George Patton Museum and Center for Leadership at Fort Knox is set to be rededicated Friday after a three-year renovation. The museum will open its doors with a new focus following a $5 million overhaul.
Gone are the days when the facility was dedicated to a collection of tank artifacts, something that was appropriate when Ft. Knox was home to the Army’s Armor School.
Instead, the Patton Museum will now focus on interactive features teaching lessons in military leadership from 1775 to the present. The museum will also soon be home to a fire truck that was used in the response to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the Pentagon.
The museum’s focus on leadership dovetails with the presence of the U.S. Army Cadet Command at Ft. Knox. That organization is responsible for commissioning the Army’s future officer leaders.
Gov. Steve Beshear and Ft. Knox Commanding General Jeff Smith will speak at Friday's rededication ceremony, which begins at 10 a.m. eastern.