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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Clarksville Base
3640'30"N 8729'30"W

Stockpiling of the atomic bomb began slowly, with only 13 in the entire arsenal in 1947; 56 in 1948; 298 in mid-1950. The first four sites were of the main stockpile type, and were built before 1950. Site B was at Clarksville Base, adjacent to Campbell Air Force Base and Fort Campbell (Tennessee and Kentucky). Campbell AFB at Ft. Campbell, KY was transferred to the Army in 1959.

Clarksville Base is a 5,000-acre compound at Fort Campbell, the second of thirteen nuclear weapons storage sites established during the Cold War. The Clarksville Modification Center was called "The Birdcage" by the locals. The facility opened adjacent to the Army base in 1948 as one of 13 nuclear weapons storage sites in the country. This compound northwest of Clarksville housed part of the U.S. nuclear arsenal during the early years of the Cold War in an intricate, well-sealed tunnel system carved into the side of a hill. The nuclear operation shut down in 1965, and the facility was annexed in 1969 by Fort Campbell. It is used today as a munitions and equipment storage area for the fort. Many of the buildings and underground tunnels remain intact. Clarksville Base Historic District, a National Register eligible historic district, has been identified as a historic district and is significant due to its role during the early years of the Cold War.

Fort Campbell is located in southwestern Kentucky and north-central Tennessee in portions of four counties: Montgomery and Stewart counties in Tennessee, and Christian and Trigg Counties in Kentucky. The installation is approximately eight miles north of Clarksville, Tennessee, and seventeen miles south of Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Of the 105,303 total acres of land occupied by the Forces Command installation, approximately two-thirds are in Tennessee and the remainder in Kentucky.

Operations at Fort Campbell are concentrated in four major areas; the Main Cantonment area, Campbell Army Airfield, Old Clarksville Base, and the Sabre Army Heliport. These four areas represent approximately 20 percent of the base, with the remaining 80 percent devoted to various training activities.

The primary mission of Fort Campbell is to support, train, and prepare the 101st Airborne Division for combat readiness. Fort Campbell is organized as a combined headquarters of division, staff, and post elements, and sanctions a number of operational, training, and support missions. The primary peacetime mission of Fort Campbell is to support, train, and prepare the 101st Airborne Division for combat readiness. This mission includes supporting the U.S. Army Reserves and the National Guard. Fort Campbell has been the home of the 101st Airborne since 1956.

Fort Campbell is a community of over 190,000 people including military personnel, Department of the Army and other civilian employees and military dependents residing on the post in family housing. Fort Campbell also provides support to military dependents residing off-post and retired military personnel and their families who have access to post facilities. As a community, Fort Campbell functions much like any other. It requires shopping, community and social services, security services, health care, churches and schools in order to meet community needs.

Fort Campbell, Ky., is named in honor of Brig. Gen. William Bowen Campbell, the last Whig Governor of Tennessee. He was elected Colonel of the First Tennessee Volunteers, the "Bloody First," and is remembered in history as he led his regiment in the storming of Monterey in 1846 with the cry, "Boys, Follow Me!" The site was selected on July 16, 1941, with construction beginning Feb. 4, 1942. Within a year, the reservation designated as Camp Campbell was developed to accommodate one armored division and various support troops or a total of 23,000 men. Early in the summer of 1942, the post's initial cadre, one officer and 19 enlisted men, arrived from Fort Knox, Ky. From that time until the end of World War II, Camp Campbell was the training ground for the 12th, 14th and 20th Armored divisions, Headquarters IV Armored Corps and the 26th Infantry Division. In the spring of 1949, the 11th Airborne Division arrived at Campbell following occupation duty in Japan. The 11th was in residence there until early 1956. In April 1950, the post became a permanent installation and was redesignated Fort Campbell.

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Page last modified: 24-07-2011 03:41:18 ZULU