Fort Knox, KY (KENTUCKY)

 

Fort Knox, a US Army post, is located in Kentucky north of Elizabethtown and south of Louisville. It encompasses over 109,054 acres of land that covers parts of the Hardin, Meade, and Bullit counties. Today, it holds the Army Human Resources Center of Excellence, the United States Army Accessions Command, the United States Army Cadet Command and the Army Human Resources Command. The Marine Corps and the US Army also use Fort Knox to train crews on an M1 Abrams main battle tank. Parts of the military base in Meade and Hardin Counties also form a census designated place.

Fort Knox a brief history

The involvement of America in World War I made it seem necessary to establish new military installations. In April 1918, the War Department started looking into the area of West Point, Kentucky for a place where they can establish an artillery camp. On April 6, the first artillery units arrived from West Point. Additional units that were to make up the 84th Division of the Field Artillery Brigade also arrived the following month. With the growing number of troops arriving, the US Army started looking for additional space. The Army leased over 20,000 acres of land in Stithton, Kentucky.

The US Army chose Stithton because of its close proximity to the railroad. Major W. H. Radcliffe, the constructing quartermaster of Camp Knox, began constructing buildings in August of 1918. Tented camps at West Point remained until permanent buildings were constructed. Soon enough, the army acquired the land in Stithton as well as more land from Meade and Bullitt Counties. Most of the houses in the town were used for military purposes, with Victorian homes being occupied by Army officials and their families. Warehouses and barracks were also built to support the increasing population by soldiers who are arriving by train.

Eventually, standardized plans were developed to build mobilization buildings. To reflect its relationship with artillery, the new post was eventually named after General Henry Knox, the first Secretary of War and the Chief of Artillery in the Revolutionary War. It is safe to say that the World War I gave birth to Camp Henry Knox and turned it into a permanent military post for the US Army. In September 1918, the military officials decided to move the camp in West Point to Stithton. Godman Field, which was originally built for the 29th Aero Squadron, also became the first airfield in Kentucky.

When America celebrated the armistice that ended World War I, the construction at Stithton dramatically slowed down. The first troops were transferred from West Point and nearly all of the troops have been moved to the camp at Stithton near the end of December. US troops returning from overseas were also brought to Camp Knox and were discharged of service over the next year. They were required to turn in most of their equipment, which was stored in warehouses that still remain at Fort Knox. During the early 1920s, the force of the Army was reduced so it was deemed necessary to close Camp Knox.

Although Camp Knox was closed as a permanent military installation, the US Army still used it as an active training center. When the 21st Century approached, the emergence of digital technology transformed the way the Army conducts itself on the battlefield. Soon enough, a Future Combat System was developed. The Unit of Action Maneuver Battle Lab was established in 2002 in order to assist in this endeavour. Various military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan prompted the termination of the program at Fort Knox but its battle laboratory was retained to support Armor activities.

Fort Knox vision and mission

At Fort Knox, you will find competent soldiers, great leaders, and wonderful families that work together to defend the nation against various security threats. Due to the continuous support of off-post neighbors and on-post residents, Fort Knox also became one of the best military training centers in the world. It aims to lead the Army into the 21st Century by developing new technologies that can improve the training of soldiers and improve the entire nation’s war-fighting abilities. It also began its biggest transformation in 2005 by considering the recommendations of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission.

The 2005 BRAC suggests that the Armor Center and School should relocate to Fort Benning and merge with the Infantry Center. The combination of the two will be called the Maneuver Center of Excellence. Units that will relocate to Fort Knox include the Army Accessions Command, Cadet Command, and the Human Resource Command. The 1st Infantry Division, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, and the Army Reserve Readiness Training Center are also expected to move to Fort Knox. As the Home of Cavalry and Armor, Fort Knox immediately embraced the new missions brought about by the 2005 BRAC.

Interesting facts and figures

Fort Knox has a total land area of 20.94 square miles. The communities near the camp include Elizabethtown, Shepherdsville, Brandenburg, and Vine Grove. As on the census conducted in the year 2000, there were approximately 2,700 households, 12,300 people, and 2,500 families residing in the area. Its population density was found to be 591.7 inhabitants per square mile, with over 3,000 housing units. Out of the 2,748 households in the area, 77.5% had children below the age of 18 living with them. 5.5% were non-families, 6.1% had a female householder with no husband, and the remaining 86% were married couples living together.

The age distribution in Fort Knox was 37.2% from 25 to 44, 34.9% under the age of 18, 25.5% from 18 to 24, and only 2.3% from ages 45 to 64. These statistics are actually typical for military bases. Fort Knox has a promising economic climate, with the median income for every household at $34,000. Males had a median income of $26,011 while women only earned an average of $21,048. The per capita income for the entire base is approximately $12,400. Only 6.6% of the entire population are below the poverty line. These statistics prove how much Fort Knox has grown over the past few years.

When Fort Knox was recognized as the Human Resource Center of Excellence of the US Army, it was expected to continue its chief role in the front ranks of US military installations. In line with its vision and mission, Fort Knox will continue to recruit, train, and support soldiers in satisfying the demands of the twenty-first century.

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