10 Ridiculous Things You Only Know if You Lived There: Fort Campbell



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. Don’t get excited about that giant new movie theater advertised on the billboard right outside Gate 7.

Or the one for the Pop Mart on Highway 911, for that matter. Those signs have literally been 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 six CrossFit 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?


6. “Balls.”

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.

  • Kevin Halbisen

    also why is Fort Campbell KY in KY, when 92% of the base is in Tn,? the reason is the base post office is in KY!!

    • Air Assault

      Actually, I believe the reason is that the Headquarters building cornerstone is 4 feet inside the line.

      • Rafael Barbosa

        I heard it is considered ky because the post office is in kentucky

      • Amanda

        According to the information displayed at the on post museum, it’s because of the post office location.

      • Nick

        The reason that Fort Campbell is considered to be in Kentucky is because the post office on-post is on the Kentucky sode of the border, was stationed at Fort Campbell for 3 years

        101st ABN DIV (Air Assault)

      • Christopher.m.Hart

        It’s because of headquarters

    • matt

      Because headquarters is on the KY side.

    • kush

      The post office is on the KY side of post

    • Derick Graham

      The post office is on the KY side

    • Christina Reichard

      I believe it’s because the on post, post office is on the Kentucky side.

    • the guy

      The reason is that the post office and post hq is on the KY side. I was stationed there for three years.

    • Rob Davidson

      Former V.P. Alben Barkley had a lot to do with that. He served as a representative and senator from Kentucky before serving as V.P. Lake Barkley and Barkley Dam are also named for him.

    • Amanda

      It’s because when the post was first built the ORIGINAL US Postal office was in KY which has to be the legal “residence” because that is where they receive mail. It would be the same if your house startled 2 states, you wouldn’t get a choice. It would be where your address/where you received your mail.

  • Steph

    The post office is on the KY side. Just as the hospital in on the TN side….babies get TN birth certificates.

    • thomas reese

      wrong ans my son was born there nov 2nd 1984 and his birthcertificate staes his birth in kentucky

      • Sarah

        My son was born at BACH in 2008 and he was issued a Tennessee birth certificate!!! Crazy, huh? Lol

      • Jska

        Mine was born there in 1998 and TN is what he was issued. He tells people now that he was born in Ft.Campbell KY TN. He likes having to explain it.

    • Susan

      My son was born there Nov 9, 1989 and he has a Kentucky birth certificate.

      • Chief jgmac

        My daughter was born there in 1974, BC says Ky. We lived in Lee Village, (Tn); I worked for G2 (Ky) and was assigned to 101st MI Co (Ky)

  • Heather Halloran

    i really enjoyed this!

  • Daniel

    It’s the BOE Proud American one that got me laughing. Hammer and Automatic will always be home for me.

  • DukeNukem

    Back 70+ years ago when the government was prospecting land, Tenn fought to keep the land and tried to refuse having an Army base while Kentucky was like “sure whatever. Nobody likes this s-hole anyway”. So Uncle Sam in all his trolling capabilities said “ok Tenn, here we come. No only are we gonna put the majority of the base in your state, you’re not even going to get to claim it”
    True story

  • Guest

    How many of you remember the ‘bird cage’, the US Navy base that used to be inside Fort Campbell,
    in the 1960s?

    • boralibubba

      You mean Clarksville Post, had a co. of marines guarding it, I went to
      basic at Ft Campbell in Nov 66, didn’t get out much, but tried for the next 37yrs ( AD, NG, USAR,) to emulate those young Paratroopers I witnessed in that period, they were the most squared away lookin Troops I ever saw in garrison.I musta have spent a fortune on starch & Kewi

    • LL Smeltz

      I thought it was an Air Force base. The joke when I went to college at Austin Peay was they were growing HUGE rabbits and doing experimental stuff there. This was back when McNamara decided to take in any living breathing person into the Army to feed the Nam machine. I worked at the Educational Vocational Center for a short while and boy it was interesting the folks who came through there. I got a good screaming from a 1st Sergeant who thought I had scheduled one of his finest for an appointment-never made the appointment but his “special” recruit was telling him he had to go to Army Vocational Center for appointment. Think the guy finally got in trouble for some kind of jewelry fraud issue.

      • Richard

        There is a AFB on the opposite end from where the Navy had their base.

    • Dennis Reiley

      How many remember that what was in the ‘bird cage’ was classified.

      • The Friendly Grizzly

        Sound like you all are describing a Wullenwebber direction-finding antenna array. Full of all manner of people Listening To Things. I worked in one, but it was out in the western Pacific.

      • Pat McGroyne

        Camp Hanza across from Torii Station ?

      • The Friendly Grizzly

        Yes, that’s the one. 78 and 79.

    • James Weatherspon

      When I left in the mid 90’s, it was home to the 2/17 Air Cavalry Regiment ( Out Front Squadron). Those Ammo Bunkers are still there and in use as storage for MTOE.

    • Richard

      Yep, Clarksville Base, I pulled roving Guard Duty inside it a few times, they kept the Navy nukes there.

  • Doc

    There were lots of Soldiers taking Basic there during Vietnam, I was one of them. Had some EM club with a crazy name must have been Korean War vintage. The Drill Sgts all were tough and had CIB’s.
    SFC Roberts and Sgt McCoy and Senior Drill Sgt Anderson Thanks for your hard training.

  • charlesneal

    You really should have been stationed/lived there in 50s or 60s.

    • Rodger Jacobson

      I was in HQ Battery 320th FA Ft Campbell, KY and went through 11th ABn Jump School in the Spring of 1955. Then the 320/508 ARCT was First to Gyroscope and went to Japan to relieve the 187 ARCT. Then one year and 11 Days later we were back in Ft Campbell with the 187 ARCT to become the newly re-Activated 101st Abn Division. Talk about tough NCO’s, nearly every one of them was a Korean War Vet. Cpl Gear and Sgt Tanklsly come to mind. Many of our HQ Battery 320th Cadre were also WWII and Korean War Vets. Sad to say that of the 117 Troops from 55/56 we have less that 40 left living

  • David

    Is AG ROW still there?

    • John

      No. It died for a better building.

  • Rob

    Was there in the 80’s, I always thought it was funny that if you were under 21, on half the post you could by beer and on the other half you could not…..

  • Ron

    How many remember “The Pickle Factory” or “Monas”?

  • Scott

    My neighbor would tell me stories about when he was stationed at the then “Camp Campbell”

  • Ron

    Cool story. My daughter was born on FT. Campbell and has a KY birth certificate. She was born in 1982 at the old Army hospital which was on the KY side of the base and later became BNCOC which I graduated from.

  • Bulldog

    Classic Army wife right here. This entire Buzzfeed-worthy article is written by someone who is living life on the sideline. That CO given a monologue she is making fun of? Yeah, that’s her husband.

  • Dave

    This article is from a disgruntled soldier

    • FRGLeech

      Nah, it’s from a former CO’s wife. He was in my BN, and this is definitely her attitude to a “T.”

  • Raymond Alejandro

    If you don’t know about the unicycle guy that rides up and down 41A everyday around the same time you obviously are lying to everyone that you have been stationed at Campbell as far as I know he has been doing that for over 10 years from those who I’ve talked to.

    • AGERB

      Hahahahahah…that guy is rude, I wanted to push him over.

  • Rich

    I don’t remember Hendrix being discharged for cause, I had read that he was injured on his last jump.

    • Sqwerty

      Hendrix lied about his discharge, claiming he broke his ankle on his last jump. In reality, Hendrix received an honorable discharge on the basis of unsuitability.
      Another interesting bit of trivia is that he entered the service in order to avoid a prison term after LEOs twice caught him riding in stolen cars.

      • ralph tucker

        Jamichi club. hendrix was in the 801st maintenance battalion. he was as FU if you know the term

  • moe howard

    What does the 101st and ebola have in common?

    Neither one is really airborne.

  • Veotas stubbs

    Besides bringing me out of viet nam in ’70 and birthing me two children, the only other good thing about the place was the begining of a divorce. Thanks 101st for all three in that order!

  • Guest

    Nothin’ like wives busting on a post because they’re justified! Tell me, Amy, what was the toughest Army school YOU’VE ever attended?

  • Merle Watterson

    My husband was stationed at Ft. Campbell in 1967-68 prior to going to Vietnam. We lived in Lee Village and then moved to Werner Park. It was a fun place to live and we met a lot of nice people from ‘all over.’ My husband, Allen Watterson, was a training officer for new recruits and he worked with Sgt. Andre, Capt. Mickel, and SSgt. Lopez. My brother-in-law, Sgt. Larry Rupinta, was also stationed at Ft Campbell in 1967. Thanks for the memories! And, luckily, we all survived Vietnam and came home.

    • Mike Edinger

      I was in basic in 1968 and I remember Lt. Watterson, Capt. Mickel and Sgt. Lopez. I think I ran across Sgt. Lopez when I was stationed in Germany. Looking back it is a good memory but at the time we all thought they were out to work us to death!

  • Merle Watterson

    I remember a few more names from 1967-68 in Fort Campbell, Ky. It’d be so exciting if any of ya’ll remember these guys! General Barsante (sp?), Colonel Bryant, Major Dale Alexander, Lt. Ed Hodde, Lt. Brian Glazer, Capt. Jimmy Mickel, Capt.Houston Wayne Smith and Lt. Aubrey Jacobs (KIA). I wish I had kept up with the wives, at least, but we’re talking 48 years ago! WOW! We’re getting old.

    • Mike Edinger

      I remember several of the names you mentioned from my basic training in 1968 including Aubrey Jacobs one of my training officers. I did not know he was KIA. My belated condolences to family and friends.

  • Merle Watterson

    The day my husband and I arrived at Ft. Campbell the 101st Airborne was leaving for Vietnam. (October, 1967) It seemed like a thousand planes taking off with soldiers aboard…it was fascinating and SCARY. I’ll always remember the sound of all those planes flying overhead and thinking about the young guys going to war. I like to think that they ALL came home alive and well.

  • Navyjag907

    I lived there Nov.-Dec. 1954 when I was in the fourth grade. My Dad was Aviation Officer of the 50th FA Bn., 5th Inf. Division. As I remember, the Division was coming back from Germany on some plan called Gyroscope. It was supposed to replace the 101st Airborne Division which was truly all airborne in those days. However, when the local congressmen and merchants found out they were going to lose all that jump pay, they put a lot of pressure on the Army . The result was the 101st stayed at Fort Campbell and the 5th Division went to Ft. Ord, California. So, I went to four schools in the 4th grade– Munich, Germany; Ft. Campbell; Salinas, California; and Ft. Ord. So I would not get bored, the Army transferred us to Ft. Sill, Oklahoma for the 5th grade. Then the Army slowed things down and I only went to 6 schools in Alabama and Germany including 5 high schools before graduation. I remember all of the places and schools fondly and felt sorry for the civilian kids who were stuck in Podunk forever while we Army brats did lots of exciting things.

    • Guest

      Following the 101st’s inactivation after WW II it was activated and inactivated several times as a non-Airborne training division. Two of those times it was at Camp Breckinridge, KY. In 1954 it wasn’t at Fort Campbell but it did return in 1956. The 11th Airborne Division, which had been at Fort Campbell since returning from occupation duty in Japan in 1949, was being shipped to Germany and the 101st was being reactivated in its place, using the personnel and equipment of the separate 187th and 503d Airborne Regimental Combat Teams. The 101st was the first division organized as a “Pentomic” division which had five battle groups instead of three regiments with three battalions each. All other Army divisions were also soon reorganized as Pentomic. It was a flawed concept and in the early 1960s the Army shifted to brigades with battalions.

    • Rodger Jacobson

      Your History is off a Few years. 101st was Re-Activated to Airborne Status in the Fall of 1956 and I know as I was in the Ceremony and my wife and Mother in Law came down from Wisconsin to see it. Operation Gyroscope took place in the 1955,56, 57 time period

  • Ken Bagwell

    I am from the Clarksville Tn area where I was born, I joined the Air Force because during the `1967 graduation at Burt High School Clarksville, Tn I knew everybody going to the Army an some being sent to Ft.Campbell were more than likely headed to Vietnam…I didn’t won’t nothing to do with being stationed there, My recruiter ask me to give him three locations I would like to be stationed at, I stated Puerto Rico, Spain an Hawaii. After being in the Air Force for six (6) months I was stationed at Dover AFB, Delaware, first job guarding the mortuary where all of the bodies from Vietnam were flown into, first sergeant called me in an said do you know anything about Ft. Campbell Ky, I said eagerly that’s where I’m from, he said well you got orders an you will be going to Ft. Campbell for 3 months of Army Ranger School (823rd Combat Security Squadron) my unit was made up of 500 plus military personnel an after graduating ranger school I was (you know it) sent straight to Vietnam. Damn recruiter I didn’t say anything about Vietnam……Thank God for those Army Rangers they taught us an brought us back home…

    • Smp

      Ranger school was never taught at Ft Campbell. It has never been a three month course. Less than 300 Air Force personnel have graduated the course.

  • And as true as this statement sounds, if you suffer from arachnophobia you are probably shaking your head and reliving the unadulterated fear that makes you freeze every time these eight legged horrors creep in to your home to terrorise you.

  • Gerald W. Ragland

    I was pleased to be stationed at Ft. Campbell. Let pick up ourselves at NAS Lakehurst, NJ. Army W. O. branch decided to send me to Ft. Rucker, to the first of the W.O. career courses. Shortly before graduation, orders were issued, I was to go to Izmir, Turkey, to replace a pilot who died in a fixed wing crash. Dependents could go along. I complained to W.O.. branch at the pentagon, on most every coffee
    break. Just before we graduated, Branch called me-how would you feel about going to Campbell Air Field
    Operations, not Turkey. Ft. Campbell Commanding General need a dual rated pilot, that has his own
    IFR clearance authority-remember the old green cards? I had only a white card qualification in Army
    helicopters, which was useful in Vietnam.

  • Pat McGroyne

    Does thet mean them “Scremin Iggles ” is EUNUCHs now ?

  • The Friendly Grizzly

    I was never stationed at Ft. Campell (I am a Navy vet [I know: boo hiss]), but did several “tours” of the base doing lighting energy conservation surveys. It’s an incredible place, and I envy and respect the heritage of those in the 101st. Thanks for your incredible service.

    CTR3 David J. “Bear” Mann, USN 1977-1981

  • Dallas Willingh

    my dad was a HM1 stationed @ the “Bird Cage” from 57-61. I attended Clarksville HS thru my senior year. It was great living there. Had a great teen club. Hunting, fishing etc. Still go back for HS reunions. Used to caddy @ the GC. Taught swimming lessons @ “Bird Cage”. Was a good place & time to be a teenager. Didn’t know bout German pow graves though.

  • John fairbank

    I served there 1055, 11 th Airborne, 56, activation of 101st, back there 65-67… Great adventures..
    Land was bouight from family of Stockade Annie, whom I met in 1955…
    I remember the Army store across from main gate. forget the guys name.. served in 457th FA in 11th Abn, mortar batteries of 1846 & 506 in 1956, and 321st FA, HQ Divarty & G-1 65-67.. I shall return.. Airborne allthe way. I also wan OIC of 101st Screaming Eagles Parachute team..

  • Bruce Boring

    Stationed at Campbell, 1951-52 and the picture at the top of this site makes it look like one beauty of a post. I remember the high wooden walkways there to get from roadway to the barracks so your feet would not get wet. Spent my time there as a radio school instructor with the 11th Airborne Div.. 511th Signal Bn..
    Myself and another lived in the school which was the old WWII style barracks. On my off time I tended bar at the Beer only BLUE BOAR club. Even fired the coal furnace at the school..Fond memories. Airborne qualified.

    • Bruce Boring

      Ok, thanks

  • Nancy Cussins

    Great read about Fort Campbell. Now I know why my brother was so crazy about his career in the Army
    and why he stayed and made his home in Clarksville, TN. He is still all Military , at 80 years old.

  • John Fairbank

    It was Bricks Army store. Owner was Meyer Brick. He had everything you couldn’t get in the PX.

  • Ed Anderson

    I was stationed at Ft.Campbell from June 1960- January 1963. Got discharged and stayed in Clarksville for almost a year and worked at Gate 4 Cleaners, outside of Gate 4, wonder if the place is still there.

    • Jon Adams

      It is :)

  • Bob Hoddinott

    Bob Hoddinott

    I was stationed there in 1970, 1971, in the USAF in support of the 101st, who was in Vietnam, living in ex Navy quarters in Tenn., and working at the airfield in Ky.

  • Vance B. Mathis

    I was the hospital chaplain there in 1966, and when I performed a marriage service, I did it in a chapel on the TN side, because I chose not to be bonded to perform weddings in KY. Iy was not required it TN. We lived in Werner Park.

  • Mike Hoey

    The Schnitzel at the Sportsmans Club was amazing. So was the Poison Ivy at most of our field sites!

  • John Ramig

    was there in 54 jump traning whent to ft bening for jump tower rember the flying box cars turned 80 still lot good times nashvile no jumpers called sratlegs old opra house then im a old timer mind spelling getting bad rember when problems would yell airborn had all the help I needed

  • John Ramig

    I was in on reopening camp rukker in the 50ds old wood barkes grass knee high have no bad thoughts for military time loved it

  • B Davis

    82Nd rules the sky, ya bunch screaming pigeons.just messing with you, love you guys.

  • Bravopickles

    I was never stationed at Campbell, but attended the AAS during the early 80s. It was my understanding that Ft Campbell is in KY because that’s the side the Post HQ was located on. Is that not correct


    I was blessed to be at Ft Campbell in 1964 with the 501st . We had a rock band that played the E.M, and Officers Clubs plus some off-post private parties .Got temp duty with The U.S Army Showmobile for a couple of months playing guitar in the show that toured bases all over the place.Got reassigned to B Co
    2nd Bn 327th Infantry and went to VIETNAM on the floating vomitarium – ship The Leroy Eltinge in june off 1965. Toured that country playing a variety of weapons { no guitar } Went home the end of July 1966, honorably discharged,
    in july 1966. Best years of my life were spent with the finest men on the planet in the 101st AIRBORNE.