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Citizens for Fort Campbell During Annual Washington, D.C. Trip Advocate for Support on Capitol Hill

 

Clarksville Area Chamber of CommerceClarksville, TN – On the heels of being named the Army’s best installation, Citizens for Fort Campbell – a passionate group of 40 representatives from Montgomery County and Christian County governments, institutions and businesses – took to the halls of Congress this week to meet with members of the state delegation on important issues facing Fort Campbell.

The annual Citizens for Fort Campbell trip to Washington, D.C. is organized by the Clarksville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Christian County Chamber of Commerce as a way to keep elected officials informed on the issues facing Fort Campbell and advocate for their support.

Citizens for Fort Campbell trip to Washington, D.C.

Citizens for Fort Campbell trip to Washington, D.C.

“Receiving the gold award for excellence in Army communities on the same day as our arrival in Washington, D.C. was the first sign that positive interactions were about to take place,” said Jeff Harris, Military Affairs Chairman for the Clarksville Area Chamber of Commerce. “While the reputation of Fort Campbell as a top installation is irrefutable, the official designation was an excellent way to open up our discussions.”

Scheduled meetings focused on issues that the Citizens for Fort Campbell group collectively identified as urgent for 2016, including prioritizing the Logistics Support Operations Facility Project, Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), Workforce and Maintenance Challenges, and the Army Flying Hours Program.

“BRAC seems to be top of mind in many conversations, but we want to paint a complete picture for our representatives. Staggering statistics on Fort Campbell’s declining maintenance workforce and its impacts on the existing infrastructure is equally important,” said Bill Harpel, Military Liaison for the City of Clarksville.

Based on Army manpower models, Fort Campbell is operating at 56% of maintenance manpower strength required. Since 2003, infrastructure has grown 42% while the maintenance workforce has declined by 17%.

The group also urged support for Congressman Marsha Blackburn’s testimony to the House Armed Services Committee to restore the Army Flying Hours Program to its full capacity in FY17. The program provides aviation training resources for individual crew members and units.

Per Congressman Blackburn’s testimony, “For aviation units like the 101st Airborne, this training is not only vital to mission success but to the safety of our soldiers. Without the necessary funding, home station training opportunities will not be available to achieve optimal combat readiness.”

In addition to their formal agenda items, Citizens for Fort Campbell made special efforts to recognize and thank the Tennessee Members of Congress who received the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Spirit of Enterprise Award for their pro-business voting records. Awards were presented to Senator Lamar Alexander, Senator Bob Corker, Representative Phil Roe, Representative Chuck Fleishmann, Representative Diane Black and Representative Stephen Fincher.

“Citizens for Fort Campbell had another productive trip to Washington, D.C. this year. We’re very grateful for our delegates who give their time and energy to help educate our Members of Congress on issues related to Fort Campbell. We work together and support one another, and that relationship strengthens Fort Campbell and our community as a whole,” said Melinda Shepard, Executive Director of the Clarksville Area Chamber of Commerce.


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