Fort Campbell, KY HistoryFort Campbell, Kentucky, started as Camp Campbell, Tennessee; the camp headquarters and post office were on different sides of the Kentucky and Tennessee borders, and at first it was unclear where the camp was actually located. This led to mail and other problems, until the camp commander requested the Post Office be relocated, officially, to Kentucky.
The camp's site had been selected in the summer of 1941, named for Brigadier General William Bowen Campbell, (later governor of Tennessee). Planning and surveying were finished by November, and construction rapidly sped up with the attack on Pearl Harbor in December. By the summer of 1942 the camp was up and training divisions, including the 12th, 14th, and 20th Armored, and 26th Infantry Divisions, as well as the 101st Airborne Division.
Campbell was also a prison camp for thousands of German prisoners of war, captured in North Africa in 1942. These soldiers were placed in stockades, and were used either in post support details or could be hired out to the locals for labor. To this day, a tiny POW cemetery can be found in the area.
In 1950, it was renamed Fort Campbell and became a permanent military installation. In the 1970s and 1980s the fort became home to two other elite units: the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), and the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne). Fort Campbell units have provided military support for missions around the world: Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and relief efforts in Somalia and Rwanda.
Fort Campbell is also known as the home of the "Screaming Eagles", formed in 1958 as a volunteer precision parachute demonstration team, made into an official unit of the 101st command group in 1984. The "Screaming Eagles" showcase air skills, performing parachute demonstrations for audiences of thousands annually.