By Heather Clark, The Fort Campbell Courier staffOctober 28, 2011
FORT CAMPBELL, KY, Oct. 27, 2011--Preparation for combat in unfamiliar places has been a Fort Campbell priority for decades. As the times change, so does the technology which Soldiers use to prepare themselves for deployment. To keep pace with changing times and environments, Fort Campbell has completed construction of its newest Training Support Center, located at 6075 Screaming Eagle Blvd.
The building was dedicated to Col. Robert E. Jones in an official ribbon cutting ceremony Oct. 25.
"This training support center will be a key facility," said Steve Zuercher, chief of the TSC. "A facility with this much capability deserves an equal namesake, and I believe we have chosen just that in Colonel Robert E. Jones."
The TSC has been a large part of the training process at Fort Campbell since the 1960s, providing enablers such as mock weaponry and landscapes, virtual simulation equipment and audio visual support.
Fort Campbell's latest TSC, one of 77 Army-wide, provides the latest technological training devices and operates support activities for 14 facilities on the installation, including engagement skills trainers, virtual vehicle convoy trainers and flight simulators.
"The Fort Campbell Training Support Center is the first in the Army to have a full complement of live virtual constructive capabilities on hand," said Col. William Hickman, deputy commander of operations. "It will provide units with training enablers that will allow them to focus their efforts to prepare them for their next missions."
Hickman explained that the capabilities of the new facility are better equipped to prepare Soldiers for what they may face during deployment.
"One of the biggest threats in Iraq and Afghanistan is IEDs," said Hickman. "Now we have devices similar to the ones we encounter overseas. They can take them to the training area and use them as the enemy would against us, thereby learning how to defeat them."
To commemorate the modern training marvel, officials chose to honor a man with a military career that spanned over 30 years and who served the community of Fort Campbell during the WWII era as commander of the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment.
"Colonel Jones was a patriot, a warrior, a leader and trainer…and an example to everyone he met for doing the right thing and doing it well," said Hickman in a welcome speech at the ceremony. "It is with great respect that we honor Colonel Jones by dedicating his name to this new Training Support Center."
On hand to witness the dedication ceremony was Jones' daughter, Reta Jones-Nicholson, who shared a few words of her own about her father's legacy and life in and out of uniform. As for the TSC, she offered an assessment that was short and heartfelt.
"My father had one compliment that was his extreme compliment," said Jones-Nicholson. "You knew he meant it when he said 'Outstanding!,' and so I say that to you today in his memory and in his honor."