Fort Campbell, Kentucky – home of the 101st Airborne Division and a military history so glorious that you will personally never be able live up to it, so maybe you should just stop trying.
If you’ve been stationed there, you know this stuff is true. And if you are there now, you better get used to it – everyone knows that the 101st sucks you in and never lets you leave.
1. Welcome to Fort Campbell, here’s your Blue Book.
When you went through replacement you were handed CamPam 600-1, the Almighty Blue Book of Fort Campbell basic standards. And while there may be an app for that, you better not lose the hard copy – it’s an inspectable item.
2. Sorry, that gate closes at 9 p.m. and it’s 9:05.
Every gate in the direction of Clarksville where you live, strategically closes for the night exactly four minutes before your CO finishes monologuing at the mandatory fun thing you had to attend. The event was 300 meters from the gate you wish you could use, but nope – you missed the window. Now you have to drive all the way across post to exit and then all the way back down Highway 41a, passing the gate you would’ve used to start with.
3. You learned the hard way to not get excited about that giant new movie theater advertised on the billboard right outside Gate 7.
Those signs were literally there for years, like a big fake out that someday there will be something convenient or awesome in Oak Grove, Kentucky. They've yet to start construction. Lies.
4. “We live in Tennessee.”
Fort Campbell may straddle the border between Kentucky and Tennessee, but you emphatically tell (or lie to) your friends and family back home that you live in Tennessee. Because no one wants to admit to living in Kentucky.
5. Do you even CrossFit, Bro?
There are no less than four CrossFit affiliates (or former affiliates) in Clarksville, the Tennessee town right outside the gate, and one on post. And yet somehow Clarksville still managed in 2014 to be the eighth most obese city in the nation. Huh?
When the gate guard said “Balls” as the greeting of the day he wasn’t (just) being cheeky – it was actually the name of his unit, 2-320th FAR, the Balls of the Eagle, which in 2015 reflagged as the “Proud Americans.” Yup, that means the 101st Airborne Division “Screaming Eagles” is now missing its Balls. Pause here to make all the bad jokes you like.
7. It’s not really the toughest 10 days in the Army.
That thing about Sabalauski Air Assault School being the toughest 10 days in the Army? Yeah, no. Name another Army school – that one’s harder.
8. 5th Group has better food.
Why eat crappy breakfast at your own brigade’s DFAC when you can hit 5th Group’s? It’s not enough that they already know they’re Special, but they get the fancy grub, too, and call their DFAC the “Oasis.” You can’t make this stuff up.
9. You’re visiting five German POWs.
Looking for something Halloween worthy? You know to head out to a cemetery where five German prisoners of war are buried on Fort Campbell, including one who was shot and killed while trying to escape.
10. You’re just channeling Jimi Hendrix.
Can’t resist a little air guitar while on Campbell, can you? Maybe that’s because you know that guitar legend Pvt. James Marshall Hendrix was stationed at Campbell. … that is, until he got tossed just one year into his contract. Enjoy that pseudo-spiritual Hendrix feeling as much as you want. Just maybe don’t get discharged for the same reasons he did, because that’s just embarrassing.