Inside a gym on the Fort Knox Army post, a group of soldiers show up ready to play ball, but not in jerseys and cleats.
The uniform here is camouflage.
BJ Levis has come to Fort Knox to introduce Beep Baseball. Levis works for Metro Parks and Recreation in Louisville. One of the programs she oversees is adaptive sports for people with disabilities.
“A lot of times when people have a recent injury and their life has changed it’s like 'I’m not going to be able to do anything I could do before,'" says Levis. "We like to introduce different sports and say 'Yes you can.' There’s just some simple adaptations or some simple equipment you might need so you still can participate in sports or start some you’ve never even done before which is really cool.”
Nearly 250 Ft. Knox soldiers will be welcomed home Wednesday following a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan.
The members of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division have been operating in the southern province of Zabul, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The Ft. Knox soldiers assisted Afghan security forces, government, and police forces as they transitioned to independent security and governance.
Soldiers in the unit will continue to return to Ft. Knox in small groups through May of next year.
Wednesday’s welcome home ceremony is being held at 4:30 am eastern, at the Natcher Physical Fitness Center.
When U.S. Air Force veteran Staff Sgt. Karl Edward Stempien was laid to rest Thursday, he became the 3,000th person buried at the Kentucky Veterans Cemetery Central since it opened just outside Fort Knox in June 2007.
Stempien had served 11 years in the Air Force.
The Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs oversees the state's regional military cemeteries. The cemetery in Radcliff contains the remains of 2,489 veterans and 510 dependent spouses and children. The total includes 11 service members who died on active duty, four of whom were killed in action.
The cemetery also serves portions of Ohio and Indiana.
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 new veterans center planned for Hardin County will be just the fourth such facility in the state, and will offer long-term care in a region known for its close ties to the military.
State and local leaders were in Radcliff Wednesday to honor the official groundbreaking for the center that has been seven years in the making. With a planned opening in June, 2015, the project will feature a dozen ten-person homes, and will provide full nursing services to 120 veterans.
Those who helped design the Hardin County facility say it will offer residents a degree of autonomy not often found in nursing homes.
“They will be able to design their own rooms as far as how they decorate the room,” said Gilda Hill, Executive Director of the Office of Kentucky Veterans Centers. “They are welcome to bring their own furniture if they like, if that will make them feel more at home. They will tell us when they want to eat breakfast, when they want to bathe, and when they want to go out of the building for visits.”
The Radcliff Veterans Center will sit on 195 acres of land donated by the Defense Department.
Speaking at Wednesday’s ceremony, Governor Steve Beshear pointed out there is a great need for the kinds of services that be provided at the Radcliff Veterans Center.