Fort Campbell, Then

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Ft Campbell Then

Fort Campbell, Kentucky, is named in honor of Brig. Gen. William Bowen Campbell, the last Whig governor of Tennessee. He was elected colonel of the First Tennessee Volunteers, the “Bloody First,” and is remembered in history as he led his regiment in the storming of Monterey in 1846 with the cry, “Boys, follow me!” The post is located between Hopkinsville, Kentucky, and Clarksville, Tennessee. The site was selected July 16, 1941, with construction beginning Feb. 4, 1942. Within a year, the reservation designated as Camp Campbell was developed to accommodate one armored division and various support troops, or a total of 23,000 men. Early in the summer of 1942, the post’s initial cadre, one officer and 19 enlisted men, arrived from Fort Knox, Kentucky. From that time until the end of World War II, Camp Campbell was the training ground for the 12th, 14th and 20th armored divisions, Headquarters IV Armored Corps and the 26th Infantry Division. Following WWII Camp Campbell was selected as a storage site for nuclear weapons, this storage site became known as “Clarksville Base” and was a top secret installation that at one time held 1/3rd of America’s nuclear arsenal. In the spring of 1949, the 11th Airborne Division arrived at Campbell following occupation duty in Japan. The 11th was in residence there until early 1956. In April 1950, the post became a permanent installation and was re-designated Fort Campbell. On Sept. 21, 1956, Secretary of the Army Wilbur M. Bruckner and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor presented the colors of the 101st Airborne Division to Maj. Gen. T.L. Sherbourne, the first commander of the new “PENATOMIC” airborne division. This was the official ceremony reactivating the famed “Screaming Eagles” of World War II. The 1st Brigade was sent for duty in Vietnam in July 1965. In January 1968 the remainder of the 101st joined the “Always First” Brigade during Operation Eagle Thrust where, for the first time, an entire division was deployed by air into a combat zone. On May 2, 1966, Third Army General Order 161 directed the activation of a Basic Combat Training Center at Fort Campbell. On July 6, barely two months after its activation, Fort Campbell’s Army Training Center received its first 220 newly inducted Soldiers. Basic Combat Training began on schedule July 11, 1966, with a full complement of 1,100 trainees. The 6th Infantry Division was reactivated at Fort Campbell on Nov. 24, 1966, and inactivated July 25, 1968. On Aug. 18, 1969, the U.S. Army Training Center and headquarters, Fort Campbell, was combined. The 173rd Airborne Brigade got its official homecoming ceremonies Sept. 2, 1971, welcomed by Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird. The 173rd was re-designated the 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile). On April 6, 1972, the 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile) was officially welcomed back to its home station in ceremonies attended by Vice President Spiro T. Agnew and Gen. William C. Westmoreland, Army chief of staff. On April 15, 1972, the U.S. Army Training Center was inactivated..

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