By Lauren Cabral
The Cove Herald
The Copperas Cove Morning Exchange Club heard from a distinguished speaker at its Wednesday morning meeting, concerning one of the community's closest partners.
Lt. Gen. Donald M. Campbell Jr., Fort Hood and III Corps commander, addressed a packed room at LilTex Restaurant to share updates about Fort Hood, its leaders and soldiers, and its relationship with the Copperas Cove community.
"I'm working real hard to make sure we stay linked to the great communities around us," Campbell said.
Campbell took command in April, but this is not his first stint at Fort Hood. In 2001, he commanded the 4th Infantry's 1st Brigade and later served as the division's chief of staff until June 2004.
"It's terrific to be back at 'The Great Place,'" he said. "We feel more than welcome to be back. We feel honored."
He told the audience he would wait until June to map out his vision and
mission for the next few years, but summarized some key components to his goals for the post.
He emphasized he'd like to focus on providing care to soldiers, veterans and their families, especially those who have seen combat, and would encourage soldiers to use programs and facilities available to them.
"Most of these young folks who work for me now know nothing but combat," he said. "Eighty percent of staff sergeants know nothing but post 9/11. We've got to get them to receive some kind of help."
Other goals Campbell mentioned included updating the Battle Command Training Center, and starting programs to enhance care for post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries.
Campbell also gave updates on projects such as the new Hood Stadium, which broke ground earlier this month and is expected to be completed in September 2012, and the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center's Women's Health Center, which opened last month.
Chamber of Commerce President Marty Smith, who accepted the "Proudly We Hail" award earlier in the meeting for the chamber's steady and correct flag-flying, asked Campbell what Copperas Cove could do to support Fort Hood and its soldiers.
"I know what folks here do," Campbell said, noting he's witnessed the support Copperas Cove and the surrounding areas give to Fort Hood troops. "It's more than anybody could ever expect, the love and care these great communities give."
He said one thing would be to make sure military members and families have adequate and affordable housing options, since Fort Hood does not have quarters to house them all.
"Ninety percent of our families are going to live off-post," he said.
He added Copperas Cove already did plenty for the troops.
"Keep supporting us like you do," he said. "You guys are wonderful, and I can't say it enough."
Morning Exchange Club President Joey Ellis said the group was thankful for Campbell's visit.
"We have a unique connection to Fort Hood," he said. "We wanted him to come not only for the information, but to strengthen the connection."
Contact Lauren Cabral at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7476.