Friday, November 30, 2007

Rep. Tilley Announces Fort Campbell Meeting

Rep. John Tilley D-Hopkinsville, announced today that the Interim Joint Affairs Committee on Seniors, Veterans Affairs and Public Protection will be meeting at Fort Campbell on December 6, 2007 at 10:00. Rep. Tilley is Vice-Chairman of the Committee. The committee will be meeting at Division HQ in the McAuliffe Conference Room.

The Committee will be discussing the mission of and activities at the base. Legislators will be eating lunch with the troops as well as touring key parts of the installation. Fort Campbell is home to the 101st Airborne Division(Air Assault), 3rd Group of the 5th Special Forces on permanent detachment from Fort Bragg and the 160 Special Operations Aviation Brigade (SOAR).

Soldiers and their dependents have suffered emotionally and financially with the long and continuous rotations that have been required because of the insufficient number of troops who are trained to carry out the mission.

Hopkinsville and surrounding counties have seen continued growth resulting from installation but will continue to remain at a disadvantage to Tennessee because of the present tax situation. Tennessee does not have a state income tax. Military who live in TN can still benefit from Kentucky's lower sales tax because the base is located in both Kentucky and Tennessee. Until Kentucky exempts active duty military from the state income tax we will continue to lag behind TN in growth.

Fort Campbell is a installation that continues to grow because of their mission, location and geographic size. The 101st Airborne Division can trace its roots back to the Civil War. The lineage of the 101st began as the 8th Wisconsin Regiment. The rich tradition of the origins of the 101st are proudly displayed on the "Iron Brigade" regiment for which the Division was spawned.

The eagle represents an actual eagle that was know as "Old Abe" which symbolizes his service during the Civil War. "Old Abe" was carried into 36 engagements during the Civil War by the Wisconsin unit. The modern history of the 101st began as a test platoon assigned to the School of Infantry under the command of Major General William C. Lee. In 1941, the War Department established a Provisional Parachute Group to study paratrooper doctrine, training and tables of organization. Gen. Lee is referred to as the "Father of the Airborne".

With its origins as a Wisconsin Reserve Unit this unit was deactivated on August 15, 1942 and reactivated as the 101st Airborne Division on the same day with assignment to Camp Claiborne, LA. Assistant Division Commander, Donald F. Pratt, for whom the museum is named after, signed the activation order. The activation order stated that the Division "had no history but has a rendezvous with destiny", thus becoming the motto of the 101st Airborne Division.

In October of 1942 the Division was moved to Fort Bragg, NC. After training the 101st was transferred to England to continue its training. After being moved around for their missions during WWII the Division was inactivated in 1945. In 1948 the 101st was re-activated for training purposes as part of the regular army at Camp Breckenridge, KY for two brief periods. In May of 1954 the 101st was reactivated again at Fort Jackson, SC and then moved to Fort Campbell, KY where it remains today.

Over the years the 101st has changed its mission to meets the needs of our military. In 1956 the 101st was designated as an experimental division for the new concept of "Pentomic Divisions". Being the first division to undergo this transformation they were charged with the task to re-shape it's mission to an infantry division that would be prepared for combat on a nuclear battlefield.

On September 2, 1957, President Eisenhower ordered elements of the 101st to deploy to Little Rock, Arkansas to fill the void of the Arkansas National Guard which had been recalled by the Governor in defiance of an order by the United States Supreme Court. The 327th Airborne Infantry of the First Battle Group deployed and converged on Little Rock Central High School to restore order and secure the safety of 9 black students trying to attend school. The 101st fulfilled their responsibility during this intense moment in our Nation's hisory. To quote an old friend who was present with the 327th,"rednecks are at a loss for words when confronted with a shiny bayonet stuck at the edge of their noses".

In 1962 with the re-activation of the 11th Airborne, the Division was given the mission to test new concepts of "Air Mobility". In 1963 the 11th Airborne was designated as Air Assault Division (Test) in conjunction with the 101st. In 1964 the Army decided to move away from the concept of "Pentomic Divisions" and restructured the 101st as a Reorganization Objective Army Organization (ROAD). The purpose of the reorganization was to improve the Divisions mobility and artillery capability. Through this training and exercises the 101st would be preparing for their future in Viet Nam.

The Army would abolish the Airborne Battle Group organization and return to the brigade structure with each brigade consisting of 3 battalions. The 101st deployed to Viet Nam in November of 1967. Serving in 12 campaigns during Viet Nam the 101st would add to its legacy at battles like "Hamburger Hill". During this period the 101st saw its mission integrated with the capacity and concepts of "Air Mobility" with the introduction of helicopters. During Viet Nam, the helicopter's main mission was the deployment of troops and the extraction of wounded personnel.

In 1968, with additional structure the 101st evolved from the Airborne Division concept to a Division with an expanded capacity as the 101st Airborne(Air Mobile) Division. The 101st would return again to Viet Nam in 1972. Through the 70's and 80's the 101st would grow and enhance its capabilities. With the birth of "Airborne Rangers", the 101st would add to their infantry abilities with the development of the their own specialized groups such as the "Rangers" This period also provided for new technology in the area of helicopters. The scope of which helicopters would further the abilities and expand their missions would lye in the helicopters ability to be an offensive weapon.

The 101st, a division that relies on training and preparedness to deploy anywhere in the world in a matter of days. The 101st has deployed in the name of "Mercy Soldiers" which has required them to provide humanitarian assistance in places like Haiti. The 101st has deployed in two wars with Iraq and supports deployment missions in Alaska, Germany and Korea.

The ability of the 101st to deploy anywhere in the world in 72 hours combined with their Air Mobile and Air Assault components surly make them one of the most highly competent and capable divisions of any army in the world.

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