CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Leaders of Fort Campbell Strong, a six-county alliance formed to grow the mission of Fort Campbell and promote regional economic development, gathered Tuesday to celebrate the grand opening of the group’s headquarters.
“This is a historic day for a historic organization,” alliance co-chairman and Hopkinsville Mayor Carter Hendricks told the group. “Fort Campbell is the common denominator that unites all of us here today, and Campbell Strong, which brings together governments and organizations in six counties and two states, is a giant leap for this region.”
The Campbell Strong office, at 14978 Fort Campbell Blvd., in Oak Grove, near Fort Campbell’s Gate 6, will serve as center of operations for Executive Director Rory Malloy and meeting space for the group’s Board of Directors.
Mallory, a retired Command Sergeant Major, uses his 32 years of U.S. Army experience to guide the group’s efforts to advocate on behalf of Fort Campbell and promote economic and workforce development in the counties and communities near the post.
The 10-member board consists of one representative each from the cities of Clarksville and Hopkinsville; one each from Trigg, Christian and Todd counties in Kentucky; one each from Montgomery, Robertson and Stewart counties in Tennessee; and one representative each from the Christian County Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Clarksville Chamber of Commerce.
The Fort Campbell Strong Defense Alliance grew in response to the inactivation of the 159th Combat Aviation Brigade at Fort Campbell in 2014, resulting in the loss of 2,500 soldiers. Area leaders secured funding to plan and activate the alliance, which was formally founded in January 2018. Its mission is “to provide a unified voice … to ensure the region achieves its full economic potential while supporting and partnering with Fort Campbell to embrace our military and their families with enduring economic and workforce opportunities.”
So far, the alliance, through the initiative of Pennyrile Area Development District and the six counties, received $1.7 million from a community adjustment assistance grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to help launch Fort Campbell Strong. The alliance recently helped secure a $7.7 million U.S. Department of Labor workforce development grant to help veterans and spouses who are transitioning into the civilian workforce.
Mallory also said the group was advocating for the addition of 36 Chinook helicopters at Fort Campbell to help close a gap in transportation or “lift” capacity for the 101st Airborne Division, and for the addition of some 3,000 soldiers to the troop strength at Fort Campbell.
“A lot of effort by a lot of people has gone into forming this group,” Montgomery County Mayor Jim Durrett told the leaders Tuesday. “As a result, we’ve erased all the lines -- the state lines, the county lines -- that could get in the way of cooperation related to Fort Campbell. I’m proud to be a part of it.”
New Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts said Campbell Strong fits perfectly into his focus on unity governmental collaboration.
“There is no more important constituency to the city of Clarksville than our soldiers and families and veterans and families,” Pitts said. “And there is no more important organization than Campbell Strong for getting things done for our military families. So, on behalf of the City of Clarksville, you can count on us, and we are in it to win it.”
Other officials who spoke at the ceremony included Todd Mansfield, Todd County Judge Executive; and Billy Vogle, Robinson County Mayor.
Leaders gathered Jan. 8 to dedicate the new offices of Fort Campbell Strong, a regional alliance designed to promote the interests of Fort Campbell and pursue related economic development.