By Compiled by Kory Gibbs and Maria Rice McClure, Fort Campell CourierJanuary 9, 2017
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. -- Fort Campbell is the home to the Army's unmatched expeditionary air assault capable forces and provides the nation with a premier force projection platform from which to deploy Soldiers worldwide at a moment's notice.
In 2016 the post's garrison continued to face challenges head-on supported by a dedicated workforce and strong community partnerships that are the foundation that sustains Fort Campbell's Army Family.
The year began with a Jan. 20 winter blast that dumped 3 inches of snow on the post followed quickly by Winter Storm Jonas that brought a half inch of ice and another 8 inches of snow. Fort Campbell Soldiers and employees received information about the dangerous weather conditions through the AtHoc notification system. With safety as a primary concern the installation limited operations for several days.
Civilian workers from the Directorate of Public Works, augmented by Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division's 326th, 39th and 21st Brigade Engineer Battalions, responded to the winter storm using equipment including salt trucks, graders and skid loaders to clear the roadways.
It took approximately 1,900 gallons of diesel to power the equipment along with more than 40 gallons of coffee to power the DPW work crews as they spread more than 400 tons of salt and drove approximately 3,500 miles while clearing the installation's roads.
Building for the future
Fort Campbell is committed to giving its youngest residents the best educational opportunities possible. In 2016, the post continued that effort by constructing 21st Century schools.
A 21st Century school creates a more hands-on and collaborative learning environment through enhanced technology, which prepares students for a multitude of career paths involving communication, digital literacy, critical thinking and problem-solving. The newly constructed Marshall Elementary School that opened in October, provides students with the latest in educational tools to enhance their learning experience. Although still under construction, Barkley Elementary and Fort Campbell High School also will provide students with a 21st Century learning environment.
Also during 2016, many services on post moved to new locations, while others received a facelift.
In February 2016, the R.F. Sink Library gained a refurbished reference room. Col. James "Rob" Salome, garrison commander, said the renovation was a big step for the future of the post library.
"Fifty years ago this library started to offer services to our Soldiers and their Families," Salome said.
"Here we are really stepping into the next generation of services and expanding that capability."
The reference room now features 40 computers, triple the amount the room once contained. The Sink Library also celebrated its 50th anniversary in May. During the ceremony, Robin Sink McLelland, Lt. Gen. Robert F. Sink's daughter, donated a desk that once belonged to him.
"I want you to love the desk to death," McLelland said. "I want it to live out a happy life here and know that every patron who steps in here has access to it and may discover something that is important and valuable to them. And then, when it's all good and worn out, it will just return to the universe. Please, enjoy it."
In April, the Army Community Service office moved to the renovated Clifford C. Sims Center on Indiana Avenue, and was rededicated to honor Medal of Honor recipient Staff Sgt. Clifford C. Sims in June. The move centralized many of the services offered by ACS.
On June 13, Fort Campbell's Provost Marshal Office and the Military Police Station opened the doors to their new location nestled alongside the 716th Military Police Battalion at 6254 Desert Storm Ave.
"The new location allows us to consolidate more in the footprint with all the other MP and police assets on the installation," said Fort Campbell Police Chief Keith Shumate.
In December, the Sgt. Brett T. Christian Tax Center was moved to 43 Michigan Ave. Also housed the Michigan Avenue building are the American Red Cross, Operation Homefront, Combined Federal Campaign and Association of the United States Army.
The tax center was rededicated to its namesake during a Dec. 14 ceremony memorializing Christian who lost his life when a roadside bomb exploded during a transport mission in Iraq in 2003. Prior to his deployment to Iraq, Christian was a tax adviser.
In 2016, the garrison began focusing on engagement with its civilian workforce.
The garrison created a new online tool that consolidates training, professional development and new employee integration into one website called Civilian Employee One Stop Shop. Additionally, training for civilian employees was made easier with the creation of consolidated annual training sessions that began in October and will be offered quarterly. More than 300 employees attended the first training session.
The garrison introduced Army Design Methodology in 2016 to improve garrison operations. Through the implementation of this methodology, the garrison sought to increase employee engagement, discover and harness untapped talent in garrison personnel and to use the feedback loop of the workforce to foster improvements in all aspects of the garrison mission.
Soldier for Life
Fort Campbell garrison continued to provide Soldiers with the tools to succeed after leaving the Army. Soldier for Life -- Transition Assistance Program hosted numerous job fairs throughout 2016 for Soldiers and spouses including a fair provided by Hankook Tire, a South Korean tire manufacturing company that opened a plant in Clarksville in late 2016.
In April, Fort Campbell introduced the Microsoft Software and Systems Academy, a new career skills program, which celebrated its first graduation in September.
"The Microsoft Software and Systems Academy is a partnership between the career skills program, Embry-Riddle [Aeronautical University] and Microsoft," said Regina Watkins, Fort Campbell campus director, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. "It's a transition program where we are preparing service members for their transition out of the military, [as] part of the Vow to Hire Heroes Act."
The MSSA is an 18-week program that allows transitioning Soldiers to receive hands-on and classroom training in information technology.
Another addition to Fort Campbell's CSP is provided by Hiller Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electrical company. Daphne Frontz, Hiller corporate recruiter said the partnership between Fort Campbell and Hiller began as a way to get good, dedicated, intelligent and hardworking employees.
Soldiers have the choice to sign up for a 30-day trade course in plumbing, heating and air or electrical, or all three over a 90-day period. At the end of the course, the Soldiers get an interview at one of Hiller's 13 locations or the company will set up interviews with other companies outside of the local area.
Resiliency, remembrance and celebration
Fort Campbell lost Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army for Central Kentucky Clarissa Ann "T.C." Jackson Freeman to pulmonary fibrosis in May. She was honored a month later during a memorialization ceremony by the renaming of Gate 4 to T.C. Freeman Gate.
"T.C.'s passing is a tremendous loss to us all," said Maj. Gen. Gary J. Volesky, commanding general of the 101st Airborne Division and Fort Campbell, who was deployed to Iraq at the time. "She has been a dedicated friend of Soldiers and their Families. No fight was too large if it was for the good of our Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and the Army. For more than 30 years she has been our champion."
During the last week of September, Fort Campbell celebrated Gold Star Families by hosting its annual Military Survivor Appreciation Week. Marking the beginning of survivor week was the Boots on the Ground display on the lawn of the 101st Airborne Division Headquarters. For the third time in as many years the display of some 7,170 decorated boots stood in memory of fallen service members who have lost their lives since 9/11.
Survivor week continued with many activities honoring Gold Star Families and fallen troops including a wish paper ceremony, in which survivors were invited to write messages on flying wish paper, a special type of paper designed to float into the air after being lit on fire. Thousands of people wishing to honor fallen service members took time on Oct. 1 to participate in Fort Campbell's ninth annual Run for the Fallen, which culminated Military Survivor Appreciation Week.
Also in September, the installation honored military retirees, veterans and their Families with a Soldiers and Families for Life Appreciation Week. The week's activities included a two-day job fair that featured more than 150 companies, a street fair and a golf tournament. The week ended with a benefits fair that provided a one-stop opportunity to provide participants information and access to benefits.
From February through November, Soldiers and Families showed their endurance in the 2016 Eagle Challenge Fitness Tour. The June Obstacle Course and Mud Run brought out some 400 participants to a 5K course that consisted of 20 obstacles, including two mud pits, a hay bale pyramid, several scaling walls and a giant slip and slide.
"It's a challenge for yourself," said Tara Goodson, Morale, Welfare and Recreation marketing coordinator about the Mud Run. "Anytime you set a goal that you want to achieve for yourself, and you can cross it off, it just encourages you to continue on to the next goal and something like this is unusual."
Although more than 400 ECFT challengers got down and dirty with the Mud Run, the most popular event by far was the August Spartan Sprint that brought some 5,000 participants to Fort Campbell's Cassidy Combined Arms Collective Training Facility Bastogne Landing Zone range scattered with 25 obstacles.
The ECFT is a series of annual fitness events, which culminates with an awards reception where participants who completed at least eight of the 10 events will received a commander's gold medal. Anyone who completed at least six events received a silver medal and those who finished at least four events receives a bronze medal.
For the fourth time in the past five years, the Fort Campbell Courier newspaper staff won first place general excellence in the Kentucky Press Association's 2015 Excellence in Kentucky Newspapers contest. The awards for reporting, writing, photography and page design were presented Feb. 25 at Madisonville Community College. In addition to general excellence, the Courier team received 47 individual and staff honors, eight honorable mentions and one certificate of merit.
In March, Installation Management Command announced that Fort Campbell won its first gold award in the 2016 IMCOM Army Communities of Excellence competition.
The ACOE program uses the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Program Criteria for performance excellence to evaluate installations in categories including leadership, strategy, customer focus, measurement, analysis and knowledge management, workforce focus and operations focus.
"This award recognizes how our various organizations, system and processes, but most of all people, have teamed together throughout the years to be the Army's premier installation supporting Soldiers, Families and the greater community while enabling Army readiness and responsiveness," said James A. Halford Jr., plans, analysis, and integration office director.
Not only did the ACOE award reflect a level of excellence through the efforts of the installation, it also symbolized the strong symbiotic relationship with the surrounding communities of Clarksville, Hopkinsville and Oak Grove.
The most giving volunteers of Fort Campbell were honored in April for their service -- 39 nominees from 40 organizations and units on post were recognized. Also in April, eight civilian employees were recognized for their contribution to Fort Campbell's continued excellence during a civilian employee of the year luncheon.
Many times during 2016, Fort Campbell hosted and supported events that promoted Family fun and community partnership.
In February, Soldiers and spouses turned out en masse to Wilson Theater for the opportunity to see celebrity chef Robert Irvine, who visited Fort Campbell in conjunction with Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey to promote the performance triad.
"Years ago when the performance triad was started -- eating healthy, sleeping and working out -- nobody took it seriously, and I live that performance triad on a daily basis," Irvine said during the event. "It's a big deal because if we want a healthy and modern warfighter, then it begins not only at home, but also in the workplace."
Clarksville hosted its annual Warrior Week in May with activities that included an eternal flame ceremony; a golf tournament, a skeet shooting competition; a car, truck and bike show; and the famed Tobacco Stick softball game.
With a team comprised of active-duty Soldiers and spouses, Fort Campbell swept the softball game with the final score standing at 30-4 when a mercy ruling was called at the close of the third inning. Fort Campbell now leads the Tobacco Stick series 4-2.
"The game truly demonstrates the partnership that we have between Clarksville and Fort Campbell," said Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan. "We have a healthy rivalry, but when it counts we come together."
The Sabalauski Air Assault School hosted its first Family fun day in June. Parents, with their children in tow, took to the fields of the air assault school to enjoy live music, rappelling, food and obstacle courses.
Captain David Mann, company commander for TSAAS, said events like these serve as a time for Army Families to grow stronger together.
"Being allowed to bring in the Families and let them see what we do on our side of things helps to create a bond between the military life and Family life," Mann said.
Every August for more than a decade, the Christian County Chamber of Commerce military and government affairs division has hosted a chili cook-off to show Hopkinsville's appreciation for Fort Campbell. In 2016, the cook-off became part of the inaugural Summer Salute Festival, a two-day celebration. In addition to the chili cook-off the festivities included live music, food and Family entertainment.
Many post events throughout the year invited Soldiers and Families to focus on health and well-being initiatives.
The roar of more than 120 motorcycles could be heard outside of Fort Campbell's McAuliffe Hall on April 29, as Soldiers and civilians participated in the second annual Sexual Assault Awareness Motorcycle Ride. The event -- hosted by civilian brigade victim advocates and Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program members -- capped off a month's worth of SHARP awareness undertakings, including Soldier scavenger hunts, Rivers and Spires outreach booths, blood drives and a coffee with the community.
In September the fifth annual Wellness Walk, which is part of a holistic approach to instilling the value of life in Soldiers, Families and members of the community as a way to help prevent suicides. Walkers stopped at 16 checkpoints along the course to learn from various organizations what services they provide.
"I think that it is great that the community supports behavioral health and all the resources out there is very important," said Young Park, a wellness walk participant.
The Army Community Service Family Advocacy Program Victim Advocate program hosted a challenge walk against domestic violence in October. The challenge walk mirrored the efforts of Relay for Life in which participants walk continuously to raise awareness for cancer. For the ACS FAP walk about 190 participants accumulated walking 1,296 hours as a post pledge to end domestic violence.
Also in October, a group of civilian employees calling themselves Team Diversity joined thousands of Middle Tennesseans for "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer," a 4.5-mile walk that began at Nissan Stadium, Nashville.
As the new year begins, the members of the Fort Campbell garrison continue the hard work of making this installation the best Soldier and Family experience in the Army.