FORT KNOX, Ky. — To get updates on all the work, life and training that goes on at Fort Knox, U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie (KY-02) visited the Central Kentucky installation April 9.
He had visited the area surrounding Fort Knox the day prior.
While at the installation for much of the day, Guthrie stopped by key areas that highlighted military readiness and quality of life of initiatives.
“Today, we were looking a lot at a couple of health and welfare things,” said Guthrie, during a media visit afterward … “the health and welfare of our schools, housing and training.”
Guthrie started his tour with a briefing at Dietz Community Center followed by a walk-thru of a newly renovated home in the North Dietz neighborhood since on-post housing received an infusion of $20 million in out-year funds last year and additional funding this year.
He praised Fort Knox leaders’ efforts and reflected on the mood of the housing market in the surrounding area after the post suffered substantial personnel losses in 2014.
“The home builders and [those] in the realty market in Hardin County were concerned about the loss of the combat brigade and the empty places here,” said Guthrie. “Now, we worked hard with Senator [Mitch] McConnell and Secretary [Mark] Esper— our previous Secretary of Defense —to bring the V Corps here.”
Major Gen. John Evans Jr., commanding general of U.S. Army Cadet Command and senior commander of Fort Knox, said a lot has changed since that time.
“We’re very excited to have V Corps here now, we’re making great strides with regard to infrastructure on the installation, and we do have a housing market that’s very competitive right now,” said Evans. “We’ve raised that as an issue to our community partners.”
Guthrie said a significant factor for moving V Corps to Fort Knox was the ability to provide spouses and families a superb quality of life, to include job opportunities for those who desire it.
Part of the tour included an overview of the new educational facility that will be built at Fort Knox in a couple of years to replace the 63-year-old Van Voorhis Elementary School.
Evans addressed what is expected with the new facility.
“Over the course of the last three or four years, we have renewed almost every one of our Department of Defense Education Activity schools here on Fort Knox,” said Evans. “Van Voorhis will be the last of those. We’re very excited about that project, it’s funded, and we know we’re getting ready to start breaking ground on that.”
Evans said he expects construction to be complete by 2023.
“We’ve got world-class classrooms, common areas, cafeterias — those types of things,” said Evans. “It just makes for a richer experience.”
Guthrie also flew over Fort Knox to get a feel for the capabilities of the ranges, to include the Digital Air-Ground Integration Range — expected to be the first of its kind east of the Mississippi River. It will be the third to come online when it is completed sometime in late 2022 or early 2023.
“We owe it to the men and women who volunteer to wear the uniform to give them the best training they can possibly have,” said Guthrie.
While at Godman Army Airfield, officials from the Fort Knox Directorate of Public Works explained the significance of a major $5.3 million LED lighting project completed last year that has helped modernize airfield takeoff and landing operations.
At the media visit, Evans highlighted the changes that are beginning to take place at Fort Knox in training, to include the reintroduction of about 10,000 cadets and 5,000 cadre members back to the Army post for in-person Cadet Summer Training in about a month after a year away due to COVID-19 restrictions. He also mentioned other training opportunities coming to the ranges, including at the DAGIR.
“We’re very excited to see Fort Knox cautiously come out of the COVID cycle that we’ve been in,” said Evans. “As we continue to administer the vaccination, we can take a little bit more risk when it comes to some of these very critical training opportunities that … are essential to maintain the defense of our nation.”
Guthrie emphasized the need for Soldiers to be able to again train to standard at Fort Knox.
“My job is to make sure that the Department of Defense realizes the asset they have here … and how important Fort Knox is to defense,” said Guthrie. “We need to make sure our men and women are ready to fight. That’s how they survive, and that’s how they win; and that’s what we expect them to do.”