FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – Soldiers across Fort Campbell are participating in Operation Clean Eagle, the 101st Airborne Division’s postwide cleanup effort designed to enhance readiness and quality of life by properly maintaining the post’s training and cantonment areas.
In addition to 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) units, Operation Clean Eagle participants include tenant units and members of the Fort Campbell garrison all focused of three lines of effort: Cleanliness, maintenance and excess equipment turn-in.
“The cantonment area cleanup includes the barracks, the unit footprints, motor pools, common areas to include around the company operating areas, the memorials, the museum and along major roads, intersections and things of that nature,” said Capt. Zachary Davis, brigade engineer officer, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Abn. Div.
Davis is the action officer overseeing cantonment and training area cleanup for Strike.
Usable items are organized, but over time, some equipment or packaging can build up and those must be reorganized or turned in so they can be removed from the books, he said.
“Units are digging through their storage containers and their storage lockers, and other areas, and pulling out their assigned equipment, plus all the extra stuff we seem to accumulate,” said Rob Anderson, Fort Campbell’s Qualified Recycling Program manager.
Items are inspected and accounted for and then either put back in storage or turned-in to the proper personnel, Anderson said.
When items can’t be reused or put back into service, Anderson and his team determine if an item is recyclable.
“Anything that I recycle here on Fort Campbell, we try to make some money on and we put that back into the garrison QRP account,” he said. “The QRP funds projects that enhance the lifestyle of the Soldiers and enhance Fort Campbell to make things better here for all of us.”
Over the years, QRP has provided several hundred thousand dollars for activities like Week of the Eagle events and recently to help fund a new recreational off-road vehicle course in the old horse stable areas, Anderson said.
Captain Cody Foister is the action officer overseeing the divestiture and excess turn-in of 2nd BCT equipment.
As units consolidated excess equipment, they came across unused items, ranging from computer equipment to vehicles and shipping containers.
Shipping containers once used during high-tempo deployments but are not needed now or are in poor shape were turned over for recycling. Strike had numerous old 20-foot and 40-foot shipping containers in addition to smaller containers used to ship sensitive items.
“We had 23, we turned in seven and we look to turn in 23 total by Dec. 11,” Foister said. “We are just one of multiple brigades doing this same cleanup.”
The 20-foot containers can fetch $350 to $400 each when sold to metal vendors, Anderson said.
In addition to being more organized, the cleanup also is aimed at keeping the installation and community in good shape, Davis said.
“I see it as a kind of stewardship program, taking accountability of the areas we’ve been given and an immense amount of land that we’re allocated to train on,” he said.
The operation should serve as a reminder to the units to take care of their property and take account-ability for what they’ve been issued, Davis said. He hopes that will be ingrained in them.
Anderson said the cleanup would benefit the division as well as individual units.
“You know exactly what you’ve got and where it is, you can put your hands on it easily,” he said. “Being at Fort Campbell, these Soldiers really don’t know where they will be tomorrow, so organization and cleanup is a big part of it. When they get the call to go somewhere, they can grab it and they’re out of here.”
There is another benefit, Foister said. By going through old equipment and taking those off the books, units may get better or updated items. Some excess equipment may go to other units, if it is needed, so it can be repurposed and still benefit the military.
Sometimes, new equipment will be fielded.
“You have the pride of having a clean area and a nice place to work in, and then it’s a way for us to continue our functions of turning property in so we can receive property,” Foister said. “Overall, it’s not so much fun when you’re doing it, like spring cleaning at your house, but once it’s over, I think everyone has a sense that the operation was worth it.”