military

U.S. Army

Veterans and their dependents are being encouraged to attend a military jobs fair this week at Fort Knox.

The Hardin County military post is hosting organizations that are looking to hire active duty military, veterans and their spouses.

Garrett Reed is with the group organizing the event, CivilianJobs.com

He says there will be companies at the Wednesday event from many industries, including aviation, law enforcement, management, and engineering.

“Just about every company is trying to hire military folks, in some shape, form, or fashion. So these events are really to help get in front of them face to face," Reed told WKU Public Radio.

The jobs fair is being held Wednesday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Saber and Quill officer’s club at Ft. Knox.

A link to the registration page for the fair is here.

Ft. Knox Army Post

Maj. Gen. Christopher Hughes is the new Commanding General at Fort Knox.

He assumes the position previously held by Maj. Gen. Peggy Combs, who was the post's first female commander. She'll be the new chief of staff of the Northern Command Headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Hughes comes to Fort Knox after serving a two year term as chief of staff for the Army's Pacific Command at Fort Shafter, Hawaii.

One of the Commanding General's major responsibilities is guiding the Cadet Command at Fort Knox.

Cheryl Beckley, WKU PBS

Kentucky’s senior U.S. Senator says he supports the idea of having women register for a potential military draft.

The Courier-Journal reports Republican Mitch McConnell said he thinks it would be appropriate, given that women in the military are already performing many different functions.

The Selective Service System currently registers men ages 18 to 25 only.

Both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees have recently passed defense policy bills that include  a registration requirement for women.

Some Democratic lawmakers have said adding women to the Selective Service list would help achieve gender equality for women in the military.

Ft. Knox Army Post

Ireland Army Community Hospital at Fort Knox says it will begin limiting new surgery cases starting next month.

The hospital says the change is due to operating room staffing changes and the impact on maintaining safe, quality care. Cesarean sections and all currently scheduled surgeries will continue, but no new surgeries will be scheduled after June 1.

The hospital is scheduled to become an outpatient clinic and will end inpatient and emergency services by Dec. 15. The hospital said that could happen sooner if staffing becomes an issue.

The hospital said in a news release that service members and TRICARE beneficiaries will continue to have inpatient and surgical care needs met by central Kentucky community health partners.

Joe Corcoran / WKU Public Radio

The Screaming Eagles of Fort Campbell’s 101st Airborne Division Air Assault are once again in harm’s way on foreign soil. Five hundred soldiers are in Iraq and Kuwait on an advisory mission, called Operation Inherent Resolve, aimed at helping the Iraqis in their fight against the terrorist group ISIS.

The troops’ official departure ceremony was hard on their family members. It was also hard on the feelings of those off base who've seen it all before.

At a recent Casing the Colors ceremony, service members from Fort Campbell packed up the unit’s flags and pennants and prepared them for their journey to the Middle East. The symbols of unit pride and identity are then unfurled in foreign war zones to signify a new base of operations.

Speaking to soldiers and family members in attendance at the base, Staff Sergeant Cara Duda read from the ceremony's official history. "The very soul of a military unit is symbolized by the colors under which it fights," she said. "They record the glories of the past, stand guard over its present destiny and insure inspiration for its future. Today the colors serve as a binding symbol of continuity and a point of inspiration for the future. Commanders and soldiers come and go but the colors will remain steadfast."

Flickr/Creative Commons/Floyd Wilde

Bowling Green could be the latest area of the state to build a veterans nursing home. 

Funding for the project was included in the budget approved this week by the Kentucky House. 

Some 40,000 veterans in the region would be served by a Bowling Green nursing home.  The closest one to them now is more than 100 miles away. 

Roger Miller, commander of the American Legion Post in Bowling Green, told WKU Public Radio that the 90-bed nursing home would fulfill a real need.

"It would mean a whole lot.  I'm 77 years old," said Miller.  "It would be a blessing to me and a lot of other people who are really needing one right now."

About 20 acres of land has already been donated for the facility at the Kentucky Transpark in Warren County.

Radcliff Veterans Center

The new Radcliff Veterans Center that’s promising to be a national showplace for skilled nursing care is staffing up for its July opening.

Six members of the executive team are already working and the next phase of hiring was launched Feb. 22.

Administrator Israel Ray says five new leadership positions are posted.

“The director of nursing, which is called the nurse executive. And staff development, which will be listed as a registered nurse. The director of dining services. Our activities director and our housekeeping supervisor,” says Ray.

The veterans center is also looking for a medical director.

Construction is progressing at the new center, which is located on 192 park-like acres donated by Fort Knox.

Wikimedia Commons

A bill introduced by U.S. Sen. Rand Paul would allow Fort Knox to continue producing natural gas to power the Army base.

Almost a year ago, Fort Knox became the first U.S. base to generate all of its own electricity. The move was spurred by the region’s 2009 ice storm; parts of Fort Knox lost power for nearly a week and highlighted the national security need for the base to become self-sufficient.

“It was pretty devastating, and Fort Knox was without power for upwards of seven days in some places,” Fort Knox Energy Manager R.J Dyrdek said in March.

The transition was helped by the discovery of natural gas reserves under the property. Now, Fort Knox is powered by a mixture of solar power, on-site natural gas and geothermal. In 2013, the post unveiled the largest solar panel array on a military installation east of the Mississippi River.

Developing natural gas resources on federal lands usually falls to the Department of the Interior. The bill introduced last week by Paul, a Republican, would make Fort Knox an exception and allow the Department of Defense to keep producing natural gas to power the site.

Counties surrounding Fort Knox are working to lessen their reliance on the post in the face of military cutbacks. 

A study is underway to determine how the region might diversify to improve the local economy.  Wendell Lawrence, executive director of the Lincoln Trail Area Development District, says discussions like this are happening across the country.

"It is Army wide because the end strength seems to be going down quite frequently, and when you have cutbacks in strength, it affects units and installations," Lawrence told WKU Public Radio.

Fort Knox has lost at least 2,3000 soldiers since 2010, in addition to their family members and civilian employees. 

Lawrence says cutbacks at Fort Knox have the potential to affect more than 150,000 residents of Hardin, Larue, and Meade counties. 

He added that the region has several assets as it looks to diversify, including manufacturing, agriculture, and tourism.

Kevin Willis

A new support center at WKU will provide help to the more than 2,000 students with military backgrounds.

The Military Student Support Center at the WKU-Glasgow campus was officially opened at a ceremony Wednesday. Military Student Services Director Tonya Archey says the center will assist students from all over the world who are enrolled in WKU classes.

“We have Coast Guard students in Florida right now, we have active duty Navy in Hawaii right now, and we have students serving all over the world, in Europe and Asia. It’s hard to get admitted when you’re stationed in Korea, for example. It’s hard to navigate the admissions process from overseas. So they call us and we help them through that process.”

Archey says completing college admissions and financial aid forms can be complicated for any student. But she says it can be especially daunting for military students, who face additional paperwork related to admissions and benefits they are entitled to based on their service.

U.S. Army

Obesity is the leading medical reason why nearly three-quarters of young Kentuckians are not eligible to join the armed forces.

A report from the group Mission: Readiness is based on U.S. Defense Department data, and shows nearly 33 percent of Kentucky teens are overweight or obese.

Read the report here.

Retired U.S. Marine Major General Jerry Humble of Russellville is a member of the group, and says other factors disqualifying young Kentuckians from military service are criminal records and a lack of high school diploma.

“We’re really worried about the future—the next 10 to 12 years—of our military armed forces. And the world isn’t becoming a kinder, gentler place, either,” Humble said.

The report, entitled Retreat Is Not An Option for Kentucky, also finds:

* 78 percent of Kentucky adolescents do not get the recommended hour of daily exercise.

*The military currently spends $1.5 billion annually on obesity-related medical costs and to replace those discharged because they are physically unfit.

The head of Kentucky’s Department of Veterans Affairs is hoping to hear soon on whether Bowling Green will be the site of a 90-bed long-term care facility for veterans.

Commissioner Heather French Henry says the state has submitted to the federal government a needs assessment for veterans in the southern Kentucky region.

Speaking after an address to the Bowling Green Noon Rotary Club Wednesday, Henry said  if the federal VA  gives its approval, she would then lobby state lawmakers to support the project in the next two-year budget.

“There is a grant matching fund process that takes place, so if they see the need and they give us a favorable outcome to the needs assessment that we’ve given, we’ll go to our state legislature and we will try to get the match for the money we’ve asked for.

Commissioner Henry says she’s hopeful the state will get the go-ahead soon.

“I have not gotten an official response, though they have called several times and we’ve been able to answer any questions they have. So hopefully, to me, that shows they have interest.”

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.

A traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall is coming to Hardin County this week as part of a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the war.

The traveling wall contains all of the names of U.S. military personnel killed during the war, and will arrive in Radcliff on Thursday. Event organizer and Vietnam veteran David Cowherd says the replica wall offers a chance for those who haven’t seen the Washington memorial to pay tribute to those who died, as well POWs and MIAs.

“They served there with us, and they are in some case family members and really close friends. So it helps with some of the healing, in my view,” said Cowherd, who served in the Navy during the war in southeast Asia.

The replica wall will be on display in Radcliff from Thursday through Sunday. Area schools are bringing students to see the wall, and a candlelight service honoring Hardin County natives killed in the Vietnam War is being held Saturday night.

Vietnam War veterans are invited to a Sunday afternoon group photo shoot in front of the traveling wall.

Pages