The arrival of V Corps at Fort Knox this fall brings a senior-level command to the post and the return of a three-star general, but is not expected to change the post’s command structure, according to the Public Affairs Office.
“Although the V Corps commander will be the senior-ranking general officer here, the Department of the Army determined the commander of U.S. Army Cadet Command will remain dual-hatted in retaining senior commander responsibilities for the installation,” the public affairs statement said.
The headquarters is expected to bring another 635 soldiers to Fort Knox and attract additional military contractors. Its mission is to direct and support U.S. forces and operations in Europe, where it also will maintain a rotational Operational Command Post with another 200 soldiers.
Also known as the Fifth Corps, the Army’s newest corps headquarters will primarily be housed in the Lt. Gen. Timothy J. Maude Complex, an 883,180-square-foot facility billed as the largest office building in Kentucky and second only to the Pentagon among U.S. military structures.
It was built as part of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure initiative that changed Fort Knox from its traditional mission as Home of Armor to a center focused on recruitment and human resources.
The Maude Complex was built off Spearhead Division Avenue near Wilson Road as part of BRAC to house Accessions Command and its related missions including Human Resources Command, which remains the primary occupant of the structure. Accessions relocated from Fort Monroe, Virginia, with its three-star general in command, but was deactivated by the Army in January 2012 in a cost-cutting move.
That decision benefited efforts to bring the V Corps to Fort Knox. The Army wants the unit in place by October and cited available facilities at Fort Knox as a primary reason for its selection.
Col. C.J. King, garrison commander at Fort Knox, said in a news conference Wednesday the Maude Center made activation of V Corps here an easy choice.
“Cost was probably a factor here,” King said. “There is minimal investment really required in this facility. This was designed for a three-star headquarters. It’s been vacant for a long time. Really and truly this unit can almost move in.”
Jim Iacocca, the retired general who heads the Knox Regional Development Alliance which campaigned to land this mission, repeatedly stressed Fort Knox offered “the capability and capacity” to meet V Corps’ needs.
Other factors the Department of the Army evaluated in determining V Corps’ location included network infrastructure, transportation proximity and the availabilities of schools, services and other resources for personnel and their families. The detailed analysis included a variety of factors including a desired time zone in which basic work schedules would coincide with the corps’ European staff, according to Kentucky Congressional delegation.
Radcliff Mayor J.J. Duvall said Fort Knox’s status in the military community is elevated by Tuesday’s announcement.
“This puts Knox in an elite group of posts with this type of command and a three-star (general) at the post,” Duvall said Wednesday.
The Army’s three existing corps headquarters are known as I Corps at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington; III Corps at Fort Hood, Texas; and XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Finding a location for its a fourth corps headquarters has been a priority studied for months by the Army as part of its national defense strategy.
The V Corps name, which first was announced Tuesday, has a legacy within the military.
V Corps originally was activated in 1918 during World War I as part of the American Expeditionary Forces in France and played roles in every major campaign in the European theater as well as in Afghanistan and Iraq before inactivating in 2013. The command also has historical ties to Fort Knox, as units assigned to the V Corps area trained here throughout the 1920s and ’30s, according to the Fort Knox Public Affairs Office.