FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (AP) — A Fort Campbell official is noting how important the infrastructure of surrounding communities is to the Army post.
Fort Campbell garrison commander Col. David "Buck" Dellinger says the post relies on those communities to provide dependable infrastructure to soldiers and their families, especially during a deployment. He said Army administrators count on cities like Clarksville, Tenn., Oak Grove, Ky., and Hopkinsville, Ky., to provide it.
The Kentucky New Era (http://bit.ly/VIwkXa) reports Dellinger says the post has an objective to make the assignment at Fort Campbell the best in each soldier's career so that they want to return for their last duty position.
"And then stay here, retire here, get a job in the local area, raise their kids here," he said in comments recently to the Pennyroyal Allied Development District's board of directors.
He says the infrastructure of surrounding communities is an important factor in that goal.
The newspaper reports that the comments were a rare perspective from the military, though local politicians and business leaders often talk about the issue.
As of last week, about 25,000 people lived on the sprawling post at the Kentucky-Tennessee line. Although the barracks have room for about 12,000, there were only about 8,000 last week due to deployments and rotations of duty.
He noted that more than 50 percent of soldiers live off base, many in nearby towns. Of the 20,000 school-age children belonging to soldiers, Dellinger said only about 5,000 attend classes on post. The rest are in community schools.
He said that makes the quality of education and housing among the top concerns of soldiers.
He said when the Army deploys soldiers, post leaders promise to take care of the home front so they can tell the soldiers to focus on their duties.
He said soldiers are told: "Focus on your fight, focus on what's in front of you, focus on your job. We've got the rest. Don't you worry about that."
Information from: Kentucky New Era, http://www.kentuckynewera.com