Interview with Brad Richardson, president of the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce
A wide-ranging plan by the U.S. Army to thin its ranks by 80,000 will lead to the loss of the infantry brigade combat team at Ft. Knox.
Ft. Campbell will also lose a brigade, which typically consists of about 3,500 soldiers, but can total up to 5,000 for certain heavily armored units.
The plan announced Tuesday by U.S. military leaders would decrease the overall number of active-duty combat brigades from 45 to 33, and would also impact Army installations in Texas, Georgia, Colorado, North Carolina, New York, Kansas and Washington.
The military downsizing would dissolve the lone infantry brigade combat team stationed at Ft. Knox by 2017. However, Hardin County Chamber of Commerce President Brad Richardson told WKU Public Radio that there are discussions ongoing about the possibility of Ft. Knox landing some other type of Army brigade.
Richardson stresses any such discussions are very preliminary and in no way set in stone.
The army downsizing in no way impacts the thousands of civilian workers employed at the Human Resources and Recruiting centers at Ft. Knox. Still, Richardson says the loss of 3,300 active duty soldiers and their families would hurt the region's economy. He points out about 70 percent of the military personnel stationed at Ft. Knox live off the post, in communities like Radcliff, Vine Grove, and Elizabethtown.
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.
A Memorial Day ceremony at Fort Knox will honor a Daviess County native who received the military’s highest decoration—the Medal of Honor.
Monday’s ceremony at the Brooks Parade Field at Ft. Knox will honor U.S. military troops, both past and present, for their service. Part of the “past” will be a remembrance of P.F.C. David Paul Nash, a native of the Daviess County town of Whitesville.
As a member of the 9th Infantry Division, the 21-year-old Nash was serving in Dinh Tuong Province in Vietnam. According to his Medal of Honor citation, Nash and three fellow soldiers were on an overnight patrol December 29th, 1968. An enemy grenade exploded near them, wounding two of the soldiers.
Seconds later, a second grenade landed nearby. Nash shouted a warning to his comrades and threw himself on the grenade.
His citation says Nash “saved the lives of the three men in the area at the sacrifice of his life.”
Nash is buried at Saint Mary of the Woods Cemetary in Whitesville, and a section of Highway 54 that runs through the town is named “The David P. “Paulie” Nash Memorial Highway.”
A soldier apprehended Thursday in Tennessee was charged with murder in the shooting death of a civilian employee at Kentucky’s Fort Knox a day earlier.
The FBI said in a court filing that Marquinta E. Jacobs fired a .45-caliber handgun at the victim, “striking him several times.” Jacobs is charged with murder, according to the criminal complaint.
Jacobs is the soldier whom Army investigators said was apprehended Thursday in Portland, Tenn., FBI spokeswoman Mary Trotman said.
Army investigators had said a soldier wanted for questioning was apprehended in Portland, where Jacobs’ mother lives. But the Army declined to identify the soldier, except to say he is a member of Fort Knox’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division.
A Fort Knox soldier is being charged with murder in connection with Wednesday’s shooting death of a civilian employee at the Hardin County post. A news release from the Fort Knox public affairs office says Marquinta Jacobs is assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division.
Jacobs was apprehended in northern Tennessee by Portland Police and agents with the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command.
Fort Knox officials say the shooting appears to be a domestic issue, as opposed to a random act of violence. The shooting took place early Wednesday evening in a parking lot outside the U.S. Army Resources Command headquarters at Fort Knox.
Notifications of planned furloughs are expected to be sent out in the next couple of weeks to federal employees who work on Kentucky military installations as unions negotiate details of the impact of automatic budget cuts.
Thousands of federal employees who work at Fort Knox in central Kentucky and Fort Campbell on the Tennessee state line could face up to 22 unpaid days off work between April and September as part of cuts triggered on March 1. Union officials say they expect notifications to start being sent to employees in mid to late March.
Vicki Loyall is the president of local 2302 of the American Federation of Government Employees based at Fort Knox. She said employees there worry about paying bills and are considering cancelling their health insurance.
The Ft. Knox soldier and spouse who died Friday in their on-post home have been identified as Specialist Christopher Meeks, and his wife, Krista Meeks.
Ft. Knox Police responded to the couple's residence in the Oak Park neighborhood at 3:40 a.m. Friday morning after a 911 call was made from the home. Four responding officers heard gunfire in the residence upon arrival and entered the home. They found the couple inside, both with gunshot wounds.
Spc. Meeks was dead. Krista Meeks was given first aid by police, but she died at the scene.
The couple’s two children were in the residence at the time of the incident. Neither was injured. The children are now in foster care pending permanent placement.
Officials at Fort Knox are weighing options on how to deal with potentially deep budget cuts without hurting essential functions.
Kyle Hodges, a spokesman for the Army post in Hardn County, told The News-Enterprise that no decisions have been made on whether layoffs or terminations would be needed. He said furloughs of civilian employees would be a drastic move.
"There has been no decision at this time for any Fort Knox Army civilians to be furloughed, as that is a tool of last resort that also requires approval of the Secretary of the Army," Hodges said in a statement.
Hodges said the post has been instructed by the Army to plan for financial impacts due to the possibility of deep federal cuts.