LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Fort Knox has been selected as the fourth U.S. Army headquarters, which will bring to Kentucky an additional 635 soldiers.
The Army plans to activate V Corps Headquarters by the fall, the Army said in a news release Tuesday.
About 200 of the 635 new soldiers will support an operational command post in Europe.
"Combatant commanders know they can count on highly-trained and ready Army forces as they implement the National Defense Strategy around the world," said Gen. James McConville, the Army's chief of staff.
"The activation of an additional Corps headquarters provides the needed level of command and control focused on synchronizing U.S. Army, allied, and partner nation tactical formations operating in Europe," McConville said. "It will enhance U.S. Army Europe and U.S. European Command as they work alongside allies and partners to promote regional stability and security."
The Army said the new HQ "also supports a U.S. European Command request for increased command and control capability, and will support U.S. interests, allies and partners in the region."
Retired Brig. Gen. Jim Iacocca, CEO and president of the Knox Regional Development Alliance, said the announcement was "huge" and the move would raise the fort's strategic importance to the Army.
In addition, he said, the designation would benefit the Kentucky economy.
"This is really good news for Fort Knox and the surrounding community," he said.
Radcliff Mayor JJ Duvall had told WDRB News that the designation would provide an immense boost to the regional economy, because additional soldiers and their families would spend money in local shops and restaurants, and their demand for goods and services would foster the creation of more businesses.
“Anytime you see more families or more soldiers coming to Fort Knox, there's a lot of spinoffs with that,” Duvall said last week.
The overall economic impact of the installation, with its 22,000 workers, already is estimated at $2.6 billion, officials said.
Last week, U.S. Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, as well as U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie, all Republicans, had urged the Army to choose Fort Knox because of reasons including its existing infrastructure, capacity and energy efficiency.
McConnell, the senate majority leader, said in a news release Tuesday that he was “delighted” that Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and McConville answered his call to station V Corps headquarters in Kentucky.
“As the Army continues modernizing its force structure to counter evolving global threats, Fort Knox is best choice to meet our urgent national defense needs,” McConnell said. “With its unmatched level of community support, Fort Knox will offer V Corps a warm welcome.”
Guthrie told WDRB News that the announcement bodes well for the fort's future.
"Having a three-star command move into that area shows that the Army is looking at ... long-term growth of Fort Knox," he said.
The Army said the V Corps' history dates back to 1918, when the unit was activated during World War I during combat in France. It also took part in the World War II D-Day invasion and liberation of Europe.
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