Source: The News-Enterprise
It’s been a decade since the tanks left Fort Knox.
The Base Realignment and Closure initiative of 2005 folded the U.S. Army Armor School and its related missions into a new Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Georgia, in 2010.
After a 71-year relationship with tankers, the final Fort Knox Armor graduates were recognized in June 2011 – days after the final units had cased their colors for the move south.
BRAC arrived locally with a lot of buzz and great promise. The “big inhale” as it was called at the time, brought Human Resources Command, Cadet Command and Recruiting Command as permanent missions under the three-star Accessions Command. This new mission for Fort Knox came with construction of the largest office complex in all of Kentucky, new residents arriving from metropolitan centers around St. Louis, Indianapolis and Washington, D.C., plus a surge in payroll that thrilled retailers, restaurants and Realtors across our region.
Added to the new emphasis on human resources, BRAC also brought the Duke Brigade to Fort Knox. Formally known as the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, this was a combat unit that would train and work on post when not deployed.
All of Kentucky was excited about the growth. The General Assembly responded with $150 million to beef up infrastructure despite a tight budget projection.
But before the state opened the Elizabethtown-to-Radcliff Connector – the road now known as Patriot Parkway which was a central element of its BRAC commitment – things began to change.
Accessions Command was shuttered in reaction to an Obama-era budget cut announced in 2011. The Duke Brigade was inactivated as part of troop reductions in 2014. And the excitement around the BRAC promise withered.
The sense of excitement and promise returned last week when the Army announced Fort Knox has been selected as home for its new corps headquarters.
The Fifth Corps or V Corps will bring 635 additional soldiers and a new three-star command to the post. While firm numbers are not yet known, preliminary estimates say the decision will mean another $58.4 million in compensation on post, another $8.5 million tied to contracts and increase in consumer spending of $97.6 million across the region.
That’s huge by any measure.
The leadership at Fort Knox, Kentucky’s Congressional delegation and Knox Regional Development Alliance all did their parts to provide the information necessary to convince the Army that Fort Knox had just what V Corps needs — including a supportive pro-military community beyond the gates.
Sometime in October, the Maude Center will be fully utilized again. Between now and then, look for traffic to increase, moving trucks to arrive and cash registers to ring more often.
Welcome to V Corps and thanks to all who appropriately recognized that Fort Knox and its friendly neighbors had so much more to offer.
This editorial reflects a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.