Ft. Campbell

DVIDSHUB / Flickr (Creative Commons License)

A coalition of security forces, led by the US Army’s 101st Airborne Division out of Fort Campbell, have begun an offensive to retake a stronghold of the so-called Islamic State.  

Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky confirmed the action on his Facebook page Monday morning saying that security forces have been “waiting to liberate Mosul for two years, and today is the day.”  

Mosul is ISIS’ largest and last remaining stronghold in Iraq.  

Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of the Combined Joint Task Force: Operation Inherent Resolve, says in a YouTube video this may be a tough battle and there’s no telling how long it will last.  

“But the Iraqis have prepared for it and we will stand by them.  The Iraqi security forces and the coalition are not only fighting for the future of Iraq, we are fighting to ensure the security of all of our nations.”

Ft. Campbell

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin says he will order flags lowered to half-staff in honor of a Fort Campbell soldier who has died in Kuwait.

1st Lt. Jeffrey D. Cooper of Mill Creek Washington died Saturday from a non-combat related incident. 

According to a news release, Cooper, 25, was killed in a vehicle rollover accident while traveling from Camp Buehring to Ali Al Salem Airfield.

Cooper was an infantry officer in the 2nd Battalion 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division.

He joined the Army in 2013 and arrived in Fort Campbell in 2015. He has received the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon. 

The accident is under investigation.

Five Soldiers Injured in Hard Landing During Training

Sep 8, 2016
Fort Campbell

Fort Campbell says five soldiers have been injured in a training exercise.

A statement from the post on the Kentucky-Tennessee border says the soldiers were injured when a helicopter made a hard landing. The statement says the soldiers were in the middle of a routine training exercise Wednesday evening when the incident happened.

All five soldiers were taken to medical treatment facilities, according to the statement. The Army declined to release the nature of their injuries or their conditions.

No further information was available.

Fort Campbell

The U.S. Army is deploying 1,400 Fort Campbell 101st Airborne Division soldiers to Afghanistan. The 3rd Brigade Combat Team deploys this fall to support Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. 

In a news release Tuesday, 101st acting senior commander Brigadier General Scott E. Brower praised the brigade, known as Rakkasans, for combat efforts against al Qaeda and Taliban forces in 2002 and an advise-assist mission in 2014 and 2015.

"From hunting Al Qaeda and Taliban forces during Operation Anaconda in 2002, to performing the advise-assist mission in 2014-15, the soldiers of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team have been nothing short of exceptional while supporting operations in Afghanistan over the years," said Brig. Gen. Scott E. Brower, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) acting senior commander. "The Rakkasans are trained, well-led, and prepared to accomplish any mission given to them while supporting Operation Freedom's Sentinel."

According to the U.S. Army website, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel trains, advises and assists Afghan security institutions and conducts counter-terrorism measures against remaining al Qaeda forces.

U.S. Army Fort Campbell Facebook

Military police have apprehended a soldier after report of an active shooter at Fort Campbell. 

The soldier was in the 101st Airborne Division . The incident occurred near the Campbell Army Airfield. 

Spokesman Robert Jenkins says no injuries were reported and the installation is secure. He says gates are open and there are no threats to the post or local communities.

Ft. Campbell

The US Army is deploying more troops from the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell to Iraq this summer.  

Approximately 400 additional soldiers of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team will support Operation Inherent Resolve as a result of President Obama’s increase in authorized troop levels in Iraq.  

They join the 1,300 soldiers deployed in the spring.  

Last month, Ma. Gen. Gary Volesky said the unit is gearing up to assist Iraqi security forces retake the city of Mosul, which has been a stronghold of the so-called Islamic State since 2014. The troops are working to establish a logistics hub at an air base south of the city.

Volesky said soldiers in Iraq can expect a nine month rotation, unless conditions change in the operation.

Body of Missing Fort Campbell Soldier Found

Jul 13, 2016
Ft. Campbell

The body of a 101st Airborne Division soldier who was swept away by strong currents during severe weather at Fort Campbell has been found.

The post said Tuesday that the soldier was found less than a half-mile from the low water crossing over Little West Fork Creek on the post where he was swept away Friday evening.

The soldier's name hasn't been released pending notification of family.

Civilian and military agencies were called to help find the soldier.

Jerry Buchanan, emergency management director in Montgomery County, Tennessee, told The Leaf-Chronicle that the creek had been swollen by heavy rain.

David Monniaux, Wikimedia Commons

Fort Campbell is closer to breaking ground on an alternative energy project that will build the largest solar array in the state. 

Last week, project coordinators received the green light to break ground in two weeks’ time which will see installation of 5,814 solar modules on 25 acres generating over 2,466 megawatt-hours of electricity annually.  

Ft. Campbell Resource Efficiency Manager Dewayne Smith says the base’s electric utility, Pennyrile Rural Electric Co-op, is fronting the capital costs which will be paid back through the energy savings.  The array will generate a 5 megawatts capacity, alleviating some of the base’s 31 megawatt average monthly demand.

It's also part of a initiative under the American Renewable Energy Act requiring 25 percent of government installations’ power to be produced by renewables by 2025.  For Fort Campbell, those renewables include the solar array as well as a 20 megawatt biomass-burning plant.

Ft. Campbell

A two-state coalition of local governments and chambers of commerce is planning to lobby against looming personnel cuts at Fort Campbell.

The sprawling military base on the Kentucky-Tennessee state line is facing a potential reduction of half its 32,000 payroll as part of sequestration in the Department of Defense’s budget. The Fort Campbell cuts were one of the possible scenarios outlined in a June 2014 Army report.

The reduction would also have a strong negative economic impact on surrounding communities.  

In January, Hopkinsville's city council sent a letter urging Congress to block the possible reduction at the base.

The joint partnership includes the governments of Montgomery and Christian County, Clarksville and Hopkinsville city governments, the Hopkinsville Chamber of Commerce and the privately-funded Aspire Clarksville Foundation. The group has hired Cassidy & Associates to maximize Fort Campbell's exposure in Washington ahead of the DoD's decision.

More than 1,500 western Kentucky and northwestern Tennessee residents gathered at Fort Campbell Tuesday night to share concerns about potential cuts.

U.S. Army

The Department of Defense will deactivate the 159th Combat Aviation Brigade at Fort Campbell, according to a statement released by three members of Kentucky's congressional delegation.  It’s a move that will drop the Fort Campbell soldier population by nearly 2,500 to 26,500 by the end of 2015, according to various media reports.

The move did not come as a complete surprise.  In March, the Army announced it would be losing three combat brigades. 

Still, three Kentucky Republican lawmakers expressed dismay with the move.  Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, along with Congressman Ed Whitfield released a statement saying they were “deeply disappointed by the Obama administration’s decision."  They called it “bad news for our nation’s security and for the local Fort Campbell community.”

Jonathan Meador

FRANKFORT—A group of state lawmakers are calling for the U.S. Department of Defense to abandon its plan to reduce personnel at military bases in Kentucky and across the country.

The reductions would mean a loss of 16,000 positions at Ft. Campbell and 7,605 spots at Ft. Knox, as well a combined income loss of $1.29 billion in Kentucky, according to data from from the U.S. Army's 2020 Force Structure Realignment report, which was provided to the state committee by the Kentucky Commission on Military Affairs.

The state's Interim Joint Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Safety wants intends to fight the reductions and voted Thursday to send a resolution to the U.S. Department of Defense.

David Thompson, executive director of the Kentucky Commission on Military Affairs, said the $1.29 billion figure only includes income, thus the total economic effect of the base reductions could be much greater.

"It's definitely fodder for a letter to the Army," Thompson said. "If we think they're going low on their estimates of economic impact, it's up to us to illuminate that to them and say 'hey, it's a much bigger impact than you're indicating.'"

While VA hospitals are dealing with long wait times, Fort Campbell’s health system has excess capacity. Blanchfield Army Community Hospital has reopened its facilities to a limited number of retirees for the first time in a decade. Enrollment was cut off to veterans in 2004 because so many doctors and nurses were deployed to the Middle East.

81st Regional Support Command, Ft. Campbell

A Meade County native who died while serving in Iraq is being honored this weekend at Fort Campbell.

The U.S. Army Reserve Center at the southern Kentucky post is being renamed Sunday in honor of Major Michael L. Mundell, who died in 2007 from injuries suffered when an improvised explosive device was detonated in Fallujah.

Mundell, who was 47 when he was killed, had volunteered to deploy to Iraq, and was survived by a wife, Audrey, and four children; Erica, Ryan, Zachary, and Dale.

Michael Mascari, Public Affairs Director with the 81st Regional Support Command, says Mundell  served in an 11-man unit in Fallujah that was training Iraqi soldiers. Several of Mundell’s former comrades will be at Sunday’s ceremony.

“And one of the things that was unique about that unit was how small it is and how specialized the staff were,” Mascari told WKU Public Radio. “They took soldiers from all over, from all different types of units to assemble them for this. And out of 11 people, six soldiers from his unit are actually going to be there.”

Ft. Campbell

The Army has analyzed the impact of cutting 16,000 personnel from Fort Campbell, which would be about half of its current population.

This analysis was part of the Army’s Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Assessment 2020 Force Structure Realignment,(SPEA) which studied the impacts of reducing the force from around 500,000 to between 440,000 to 450,000. The draft study found there would be no significant impact from the Army’s force reductions, though there are many factors to be assessed before reduction numbers are finalized for the 30 individual locations, including Fort Campbell.

The assessment indicates Fort Campbell is a major economic influence in Christian County, Kentucky, and Montgomery County, Tennessee, where the Armed Forces accounts for 23 percent and 14 percent of the workforce respectively. Hopkinsville Mayor Dan Kemp says the SPEA is only a study and has not affected Hopkinsville’s planning. He says there was no impact on Fort Campbell after a similar evaluation was done two years ago.

“We don’t know if anything will happen but we expect that there would not be a significant reduction at Fort Campbell because Fort Campbell is one of the most strategic military posts in the country,” Kemp said. “We’ve been briefed at Fort Campbell by the command down there and we’ve endeavored to obtain as much information as we can.”