Fort Knox, Fort Benning, Georgia, and Fort Drum, New York, were recently named the final three Army posts under consideration for a fourth Army corps.
On Feb. 11, the Department of the Army announced that the central Kentucky installation had been given the nod.
"Fort Knox is excited to have been selected as the home of V Corps," said Maj. Gen. John Evans Jr., commanding general of U.S. Army Cadet Command and Fort Knox. "We have the capability and capacity to host this new headquarters, and we are working closely with the Army on timelines for the establishment of V Corps at Fort Knox."
The addition of V Corps will again make it one of only four such three-star headquarter elements after Army leaders deactivated it in 2013.
According to Army officials, the new corps headquarters will be comprised of about 635 Soldiers. Of those, roughly 200 are expected to man an operational command post in Europe on a rotational basis.
"The activation of an additional Corps headquarters provides the needed level of command and control focused on synchronizing U.S. Army, allied, and partner nation tactical formations operating in Europe," said Gen. James McConville, Chief of Staff of the Army. "It will enhance U.S. Army Europe and U.S. European Command as they work alongside allies and partners to promote regional stability and security."
Fort Knox became aware of the Army's plans for a new corps about three months ago when they and 30 other installations were asked if they could accommodate such a unit in a short amount of time. Members of the Fort Knox Directorate of Public Works developed an extensive analysis of the post's facilities infrastructure and services as part of aiding Department of the Army officials in making an informed decision.
"We have been sending up information to the Department of the Army and the staffs up there about all of the capabilities that Fort Knox has," said Jason Root, director of Fort Knox DPW. "This is a great place with great capabilities. Our master planner, with her staff, has been working a ton of late nights making sure the Army understands that."
They presented the Army their assessment, said Root, to include the post's award-winning energy resilience, training ranges, modern schools, quality child development centers, upgraded facilities and potential office space for the unit.
The Army eventually cut the list of 31 down to just forts Benning, Drum and Knox. Root said Army leaders then came for a site visit to see the post's capabilities for themselves.
"We showed Army leaders some of the potential areas for the new unit," Root said. "We felt like we did a really good job of showing them all our capabilities and some courses of action."
In the end, building space within the Lt. Gen. Timothy J. Maude Complex -- formerly occupied by the three-star headquarters of U.S. Army Accessions Command until its 2012 inactivation -- won out.
A portion of the Maude Complex houses U.S. Army Human Resources Command today and still will upon V Corps' arrival. Col. CJ King, commander of Fort Knox Garrison Command, said the facility has made activation of V Corps here a logical choice.
"Cost was probably a factor," said King. "There is minimal investment really required in this facility. This was designed for a three-star headquarters; it's been vacant for a long time. Really and truly this unit can almost move in [now.]"
Root said his personnel have already developed plans to incorporate the unit, which is expected to be up and running by fall 2020.
"We have to be ready very quickly," said Root. "They're talking about October being the initial ready capability -- that's fast."
King, who along with others learned yesterday afternoon that Fort Knox had been selected, said Soldiers may begin arriving as early as this summer.
Yesterday's news quickly swept across the post early in this morning. The selection, coupled by the rushed timeline, prompted Ireland Army Health Clinic leaders to start discussions on whether there will be an impact to the clinic and what medical staff might need to fulfill requirements.
"Adding V Corps' headquarters to Fort Knox is a welcomed addition. IRAHC is excited for our community," said William Ritter, spokesman for the clinic. "Once we ascertain how adding V Corps' headquarters personnel affects the clinic, we will make any necessary adjustments. IRACH will be ready to serve the added Soldiers and their Family members in our new state-of-the-art facility when the V Corps headquarters is operational here."
Ritter's excitement was shared by others.
"It is exciting!" exclaimed Root. "It's a huge win for the community."
King said he has witnessed some of that enthusiasm outside the gates, as well.
"We were in Elizabethtown this morning -- a lot of excitement there," said King. "It's a supportive community that embraces its military, so there's a lot of excitement off post as well as on post."