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.