I received in my email box this week, the latest “fact sheet” from Fort Hood public affairs.
The sheet details the latest troop numbers and other statistical facts of the post. Here are the highlights:
Fort Hood currently has 39,402 assigned soldiers, and about 5,600 of them are deployed.
The 1st Cavalry Division is the largest unit on post with 25,438 assigned soldiers.
The second-largest unit on post is the 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade with 1,785 assigned soldiers.
The current “on-post population” is 68,274, and includes soldiers who are not deployed, on-post family members and civilian employees, contractors and other workers.
The biggest number on the fact sheet is Fort Hood’s “supported population,” which is 370,099. This includes all the people mentioned above as well as family members who live off post and retirees and others who regularly use Fort Hood’s post exchanges, commissaries, medical facilities or other places on post. It’s a big number because retirees will often drive from Austin or other places to use the post’s facilities.
The fact sheet comes out monthly, and numbers are usually a little bit different each time. The numbers actually change daily with all the soldiers and families coming and going.
Unfortunately, those numbers are expected to dwindle in the months and years ahead. As previously reported, Fort Hood is expected to lose 3,350 troops by 2017, part of an Army-wide plan to cut 40,000 troops from the total force.
The numbers in the fact sheet are not just important to the post, but outside of the gates, too. For example, with more soldiers and their families assigned to Fort Hood, that translates to more business to Killeen’s commercial sector.
I’ve talked to business owners, especially at restaurants, who can tell when Fort Hood has a brigade or another unit in the field or deployed. They can tell by the number of soldiers coming for lunch on a given day.
It’s pretty well understood that Killeen’s economy depends on what’s happening at Fort Hood. And what may be a minor change for the Army can translate into a major change for the Killeen economy.
Jacob Brooks, a former Army tanker, is the Fort Hood Herald editor and military editor of the Killeen Daily Herald. He was stationed at Fort Hood and served with the 1st Cavalry Division from 1993 to 1996. Contact him at email@example.com or 254-501-7468.