Huge cuts in the U.S. army will not have a major impact on Fort Campbell. In an announcement Thursday that has Clarksville residents rejoicing, the military said the army post will only lose 360 positions over the next two years.
Nancy Cole, a Clarksville real estate agent and military mom, says the city’s economy relies on Fort Campbell. They’ve been sitting on pins and needles since the military first announced it was planning to reduce its soldier positions by almost 10 percent nationwide.
Then she heard the good news — Fort Campbell will only lose 1 percent.
“I have goose bumps going up my arms right at the moment. That's how excited I am," Cole says. "I can’t wait until I get into the office and let them all know that we are going to be ok."
Earlier this year, military officials held "listening sessions" at Army posts around the country to hear from stakeholders. At the Fort Campbell session, 1,300 people showed up to tell officials why the post should be spared heavy cuts. In a statement Thursday, the post's commanding general thanked the community, saying the listening session played a critical role.
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who represents the Clarksville area, says Fort Campbell likely fared well in part because it has units of great importance to the military, including the 101st Airborne Division.
"You have an incredible amount of activity that is strategic and important to the nation, and it finds its genesis there at Fort Campbell," she says.
She also points out that Fort Campbell soldiers deploy often. "The skill sets that are found there, whether it is in intelligence, whether it is in logistics, artillery — all of this is important for carrying out a successful mission."
Still, Fort Campbell has had big cuts in recent years. It's still in the process of inactivating the 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, a loss of 2,400 soldiers. By the end of that, 26,500 soldiers will be stationed at Fort Campbell, down from 31,000 in 2013.
But even some posts that also deploy often, like Fort Hood, are faring far worse, the Associated Press reports:
[Fort] Benning is to lose 3,402 soldiers, or 29 percent of its current personnel. ... Elmendorf-Richardson is to lose 2,631 soldiers, or 59 percent of its personnel. Fort Hood, Texas, the Army's largest base, would lose 3,350 soldiers, or 9 percent of its personnel. Among others, Fort Bliss, Texas, would lose 1,219 soldiers, or 5 percent; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, would lose 1,251, or 5 percent, and Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, would lose 1,214, or 8 percent.
And these might not be the last of the Army's reductions: It could shrink more if the federal government cannot avoid automatic budget cuts Oct. 1.