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Directorate of Public Works
Forestry Division sustains training areas with tree plantation
  • Updated

Fort Campbell’s rear area is home to sprawling natural landscapes for Soldiers to train in, and the Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division, Forestry Section, works throughout the year to maintain it.

That means managing approximately 45,000 acres of timber, collectively referred to as tree plantations. While that may conjure images of neatly lined, artificial rows of plants, DPW prefers to let nature take its course at tree stands across the installation.

“You want to break it up because it gives you greater diversity,” said J.P. Hart, supervisory forester, DPW. “That’s why it’s all spread out here and there, because every place is unique. If it’s a wet area you want to promote certain things, and if it’s a dry area you want to promote that. Whether an acre is east facing, west facing, on a hillside – all those environmental factors affect how you would manage the timber.”

In some cases, DPW will thin or log areas to give healthy trees room to grow and sprout seedlings. The installation generally produces between $500,000 and $1 million in timber sales as a result.

“It’s a little unique in that it all goes into a forest reimbursable account,” Hart said.

“Whatever sales we and other installations that have forestry programs generate, we all put it in one big pot and Installation Management Command or Army Environmental Command distributes it back out to each program based on their budget needs,” he said.

Fort Campbell’s Forestry Section typically budgets between $300,000-600,000 per year, so timber sales can usually cover every line item.

“That money funds all wildland fire suppression, helps us pay for future timber sales and also helps pay for all the forest management that we do on the installation,” Hart said. “Contract support, paint, tires for foresters to go out to where they need, boots, equipment, everything – we’re fully self-sufficient.”

But before the installation can make any timber sales, foresters need to figure out which trees to log.

“We inventory the forest,” Hart said, noting that the Forestry Section uses ArcGIS to map timber locations. “You can sample with statistics, go out in the woods, measure the trees and figure out the species composition, their size, age and all that. Once we have that, we decide if we’re going to log it or not.”

The goal is to ensure each acre is home to different ages of trees and that their population works well within the environment.

“Cutting a stand of timber is like having a herd of cattle,” Hart said. “If you keep taking the best cows you’re going to be stuck with a whole bunch of inferior cows, and we’re trying to make the place better whenever we cut. Sure, we’re making timber, but when you put all this on the ground, you’re also making spots for rabbits, for deer and for turkeys to nest.”

Once foresters decide to log in a given area, they complete a Record of Environmental Consideration, or REC, to fulfill their National Environmental Protection Act, or NEPA, requirements.

“After we get the go-ahead, we flag the area off and mark the trees we want to leave and the ones we want to cut,” Hart said. “Then if we need to put in a road or some log landings, we’ll do that and call-in government support. After that we hand it off to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and they put it up for bid.”

Local sawmills come in on an established date and time to place closed bids on the timber, which Hart said stimulates the local economy in addition to its benefits for the installation.

While the Forestry Section spends its share of time logging, employees have also been planting some of the installation’s next generation of trees in recent years.

“The Forestry Program was created for wildfire suppression,” Hart said. “But it wasn’t too far on that they realized the place was eroding because we have highly erodible soils, so they decided to start planting trees in order to eventually cut them. With that great foresight, they started planting a mix of pine trees from 1958-1978.”

Hart said that initial group of pines has sustained the installation’s tree population for decades, noting that the first relatively recent tree planting in the rear area was in 2013.

“Instead of planting, we try to let mother nature do it for us and focus on natural regeneration,” he said. “We left some large pines in a stand in 2013 as a seed tree source, so instead of planting it by hand we let mother nature do what mother nature does. That wasn’t enough, so we had forestry crews go in and cut out to give them spacing so they had plenty of room to grow. We cut the undesirables out and left the pine so it’s like a new stand of timber.”

DPW logs throughout the year, but foresters prefer to plant trees in February through early April for the best growing conditions. Last year the Forestry Section planted 13 acres of hardwood to encourage greater diversity in the wetland areas.

“We’re producing timber, but at the same time we’re also trying to help wildlife, soil and water quality,” Hart said. “It’s all-inclusive. That’s the great thing about being a forester, you’re really just a farmer for the woods.”

Directorate of Public Works
Soldiers take charge of barracks living with eMH training

Fort Campbell is on a mission to make barracks living the best it can be, and units across the installation are taking the initiative to push that effort forward.

Dozens of Soldiers took on Enterprise Military Housing, or eMH, training over the holiday season, learning the ins and outs of the Department of Defense’s barracks management system at one of the highest participation rates since classes began in 2018.

“Seeing the engagement from the units makes you feel good because you know we’re not doing this for naught,” said Mark Herndon, chief of Unaccompanied Soldier Housing, Single Soldier Housing and the Army Barracks Management Program, Directorate of Public Works. “What we’re doing is beginning to take hold, it’s a positive approach and we have units that are stepping up and understanding what they have to do.”

ABMP hosts at least three eMH classes a month: Two for commanders and first sergeants, one for barracks managers and additional classes as needed. The program normally sees eight to 10 barracks managers and three to six commanders per class, but over the holidays Herndon said there were 10-12 Soldiers in each session.

Having a high turnout is important because DoD requires two Soldiers per company level to be trained on the system, which allows users to manage room assignments, terminations, inspections, work orders and more.

“The more people that truly understand what’s required in the barracks and how they’re managed, the more it ultimately benefits that Soldier who lives in the room,” Herndon said. “For instance, we can switch out a refrigerator or any piece of furniture in an hour or so if they know what they’re doing and have all the processes in place, but if they don’t, they’ll spend a day running around.”

Staff Sergeant Daniel Lockamy, the ABMP representative for 426th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), completed eMH training in July 2021 and credits the class with setting him up for success.

“Before I went into the training I knew a little bit about the barracks, but this class opened my eyes to all types of things related to facilities, work orders and anything that could lead to problems,” Lockamy said. “It showed me the areas I need to focus on, and that’s really helped me get to where I am today as far as managing the barracks and having support from the housing office.”

During the training, Soldiers learn about Army housing in general, how to access and use eMH and what their responsibilities are as residents move in or out of the barracks. They also cover the Army Maintenance Application, or ArMA, which is used to submit work orders to DPW.

“It’s important for Soldiers to take these classes because it covers all aspects of barracks management and how to maintain them,” Lockamy said. “And it links to ArMA because if there’s a facility issue, you can’t resolve it without the ability to submit workorders through ArMA.”

ArMA was designed to streamline each installation’s work order process by directly connecting Soldiers and civilian employees to service technicians. Bastogne Soldiers were among the first to test the application in December 2020, and it was fully implemented across the installation in October 2021.

Users can access ArMA through the Digital Garrison App or via an online registration portal at using a common access card. Lockamy helps Soldiers set up their ArMA accounts as they move into 426th BSB’s barracks, which helps them take charge of their experience and improve living conditions.

“There’s been a big push for quality of life in the barracks since the new division leadership took over,” Herndon said. “They promote and push it constantly and reiterate command responsibility and individual responsibility in the barracks.”

Encouraging units to sign up for eMH training is an important part of that, and the ABMP sends class schedules up each chain of command six months in advance so Soldiers can schedule a time.

The class for commanders and first sergeants lasts roughly three hours, while barracks managers can expect to spend six to seven hours since they will be using the eMH system daily. Herndon said that time investment can yield significant returns for Soldiers across the installation.

“To me, barracks management, barracks life and quality of life are combat multipliers,” he said. “We have the full gamut of barracks buildings from five years to 40 years old, but our goal is to provide the best experience we can because if you keep a Soldier happy in the barracks then you’re going to make them a happy Soldier the next day.”

Lifeliners engage high school students through STEM event
  • Updated

DOVER, Tennessee – Soldiers from 101st Division Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), visited Stewart County High School Jan. 5 to meet with students in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math program, or STEM.

Stewart County High School STEM program is a part of its career and technical education initiative, and its mission is to prepare today’s students for tomorrow opportunities.

STEM in the military is important because innovative and tech-savvy Soldiers are essential to successfully executing a mission.

STEM is a part of every mission, and the ability to network information from multiple intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance enables success.

“Things are constantly changing in today’s climate, it is essential that our students are prepared with the knowledge they need to be able to navigate advanced problem-solving issues,” said Kevin Hargis, a first-year teacher of engineering at Stewart County High School.

Hargis, who is also a math teacher, expressed his admiration for the STEM program, and said, he wants his students to know the different opportunities they will have available once they graduate.

“I am grateful for Fort Campbell Soldiers providing our students with hands-on knowledge about how the Army incorporates STEM in their everyday working environment,” he said.

Sergeant Justin Raines, an intelligence analyst, assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 129th Division Sustainment Support Battalion, 101st Div. Sust. Bde., and Sgt. First Class Jonathan Vazquez, an intelligence analyst and the noncommissioned officer-in-charge, assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 101st Special Troops Battalion, 101st Div. Sust. Bde., discussed the AeroVironment RQ-11 Raven, a small hand-launched remote-controlled unmanned aerial vehicle, with students.

“I volunteered to speak to the students today because I am passionate about what I do for the military, and I wanted to share some of my knowledge with them,” Raines said. “I think it is important to show the youth how the military applies engineering to complete a mission set.”

Students also learned about night vision googles and single channel ground and airborne radio system.

Corporal Damian Martinez, a radio operator-repairer assigned to 584th Support Maintenance Company, 129th Div. Sust. Support Bn., 101st Div. Sust. Bde., shared with students how night vision goggles are used and why they are important in combat scenarios.

“Prior to coming here, I did not realize how much the military used STEM to complete its missions but in my field we use STEM almost daily,” Martinez said.

During the visit, the Soldiers also talked with the students about why it’s great to serve the nation and their experiences throughout their military careers.

“In an ever-changing, increasingly complex work environment it’s more important than ever that our nation’s youth are prepared to bring knowledge and skills to solve problems, make sense of information, and know how to gather and evaluate evidence to make decisions,” said Shawn Suites, who has been teaching in the STEM program at Stewart County High School for three years.

Suites, who specializes in robotics, empathizes the importance of students being able to get hands-on experience with STEM technology and meeting people who use the discipline daily.

“If we want a nation where our future scholars, neighbors and workers can understand and solve some of the complex challenges today and tomorrow and meet the demands of the dynamic and evolving workforce, building students’ skills, content knowledge, and literacy in STEM fields is essential,” he said. “We must also make sure no matter where students live they have access to quality learning environments.”