Clearance company bringing 150 soldiers to Fort Knox

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Relocation from Germany should be complete this fall

By Marty Finley

A clearance company that will serve as a subordinate unit to the 19th Engineers Battalion is relocating from Germany to Fort Knox in late summer or early fall, bringing an influx of 350 to 400 people to the area, according to post officials.

The 42nd Clearance Company, currently headquartered at Bamberg, Germany, is set to transition roughly 150 soldiers by October. Fort Knox Media Relations Officer Kyle Hodges said it may take a few months for the company to reach full strength, but it would likely uncase its colors in October.

The company’s primary missions are to command, control, coordinate and conduct route reconnaissance, minesweeping operations and minefield clearance operations to aid U.S. forces during missions, according to the Fort Knox Public Affairs Office.

Col. Bruce Jenkins, Fort Knox garrison commander, said landing the company further strengthens the 19th Engineers, making it the largest engineer battalion in the Army. The 42nd Clearance Company will greatly complement the 19th Engineers in offering the full spectrum of engineering services to any Army or Department of Defense operation in any theater of war where it is called upon, Jenkins said.

The company also benefits because Fort Knox has better ranges and infrastructure than what is offered in Germany, he said.

“As the unit’s primary missions are area and route clearance of explosive hazards, Fort Knox’s extensive network of ranges and training areas will provide the perfect platform for the unit to train in real-world environments and enhance its skill sets,” said 42nd Clearance Company Commander Capt. Eder Ramirez in a statement. “In addition, Fort Knox’s quality infrastructure, housing and recreation offerings will provide a fantastic place for our soldiers and family members to live, work and play.”

The relocation of the company also brings tangible benefits to the post and surrounding communities as around 200 family members will accompany the soldiers to Kentucky, creating a benefit for schools and local businesses, Jenkins said. He estimated more than $6 million in local economic impact from the company’s relocation.

Jenkins said the reason for the transfer has multiple layers as the Army resets and re-evaluates its alignment as certain overseas operations wind down. The Army, he said, is looking to relocate specific companies to stateside installations that can adequately support their needs, in the process shrinking their overseas footprint. Hodges said Fort Knox has been informed the Bamberg, Germany, headquarters is closing, which is another reason for the move.

Jenkins said Fort Knox is postured well to receive the 42nd Clearance Company into its ranks and accept other organizations that may transfer here in the future.

Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or mfinley@thenewsenterprise.com