Fort Campbell, KY – A look through the thousands of pictures contained within the more than one hundred leather-bound volumes that hold decades of stories reveals not only the story of Fort Campbell Soldiers, but also of the greater surrounding community and the vital role and constant support of the installation’s neighbors and partners.
“The communities outside of our installation are truly what make Fort Campbell a great place to live work and raise your Family,” said Col. Andrew Q. Jordan, Fort Campbell garrison commander. “Our relationship with our surrounding communities – Clarksville, Montgomery County, Christian County, Hopkinsville and Oak Grove – is second to none.”
Army Community Covenant
For nearly 81 years, Fort Campbell has held a strong bond with the people and partners of neighboring communities. In 2008, the bond was formalized with the signing of the Army Community Covenant. More than 100 Fort Campbell officials, community leaders, Soldiers and Family members gathered at the post’s Family Resource Center to take part in the official ceremony.
By signing the covenant, community leaders from Hopkinsville, Oak Grove, and Clarksville promised their continued support and commitment to the Fort Campbell community.
“We see support every day from individuals, local communities, organizations, businesses, city officials and support from both states,” said former Fort Campbell Garrison commander, Col. Frederick Swope, at the ceremony. “They all recognize the sacrifices and hardships our Soldiers and Families endure. The support the Soldiers and their Families receive at Fort Campbell is like none I have ever witnessed in my 26 years of service.”
Fort Campbell and the surrounding area chambers in Clarksville, Hopkinsville and Oak Grove have strong ties that have developed through years of committed support to military Families.
“We have very supportive communities that have always opened their arms to make our Soldiers and Families feel welcomed in their communities,” said Suzy Yates, Community Relations Officer, Fort Campbell Garrison. “When communities and the installation are united, that speaks volumes to our congressional representatives and other local leadership when it comes time to advocate for and support the installation.”
Champions of Fort Campbell
Created in 2010, The Champions of Fort Campbell program recognizes and honors individuals for their support and dedication to the post.
The inaugural ceremony recognized 9 individuals. Since then, 13 have been inducted as Champions of Fort Campbell.
“When local communities understand how the installation works, they are better prepared to assist Soldiers and Families,” Yates said.
Events such as Week of the Eagles promote esprit de corps and camaraderie, bring units together, and included open houses and demonstrations that show 101st Abn. Div. capabilities as well as their history to the public.
Installation tours provide unique opportunities to learn from and interact with Soldiers such as rappelling 34 feet at The Sabalauski Air Assault School, firing an M249 light machine gun and sitting in on a command brief outlining Fort Campbell’s daily operations and economic impact.
The Fort Campbell Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation quality-of-life program directly supports mission readiness as well as community partnerships through events that are open to the public.
“The community is so embracing of us,” said Melissa Schaffner, MWR marketing director. “There is this mutual understanding that we are both contributors to the success of the installation.”
Inviting surrounding communities to MWR events and facilities allow for a better understanding of our military culture and helps strengthen community ties, Schaffner said.
“We show them what we do and they get to understand what we do,” she said. “They support us, and welcome us because of what we provide to the community outside the gates, whether it be economically or through the diversity to the city population. It’s synergy. Everyone is bringing something and receiving something and that is an ideal relationship.”
“We’re approaching 22 years of conflicts following 9/11 and throughout this time and before, our Fort Campbell community has stood beside our soldiers and their families without fail,” Jordan said. “We are forever grateful for their support.”