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Fort Knox is a United Statesmarker Army post in Kentuckymarker south of Louisvillemarker and north of Elizabethtownmarker. The base covers parts of Bullittmarker, Hardinmarker, and Meademarker counties, with Hardin county receiving the largest benefit, economically. It currently holds the U.S. Army Armor Center, the U.S. Army Armor School, and is used by both the Army and the Marine Corps to train crews on the M1 Abrams main battle tank. The base is also one of five current locations for U.S. Army Basic Combat Training. The history of the US Army's Cavalry and Armored forces, and of General George S. Patton's career, can be found at the General George Patton Museummarker on the grounds of Fort Knox. Parts of the base in Hardin and Meade Counties form a census-designated place (CDP), which had a population of 12,377 at the 2000 census.

"Fort Knox" in is often used in American English as an analogue that conveys cutting-edge security, impregnability, and excessive wealth . This is due in part to media depictions of the fort and its bullion depository, such as the 1959 James Bond novel Goldfinger by Ian Fleming and the 1964 movie adaptation . The fort's perceived security was a major part of the story's plot.

Bullion Depository

The U.S.
Gold Bullion Depository

The United States Department of the Treasurymarker has maintained the Bullion Depository on the base since 1937.

Patton Museum

The museum complex consists of the Patton, WW1, WW2 and Post World War Galleries as well as a Special Exhibit area, The Emert L. Davis Memorial Library, outdoor static displays and the Armor Memorial Park. It is adjacent to Keyes Park, which contains a covered picnic facility, restrooms and children’s playground. The General George Patton Museummarker contains the largest collection of Patton artifacts in the world, including personal items used by General Patton throughout his life.



Fortifications were constructed near the site in 1860, during the Civil War when Fort Duffieldmarker was constructed. Fort Duffield was located on what was known as Muldraugh Hill on a strategic point overlooking the confluence of the Salt and Ohio Rivers and the Louisville and Nashville Turnpike. The area was contested by both Union and Confederate forces. Bands of organized guerrillas frequently raided the area during the war. John Hunt Morgan the 2nd Kentucky Cavalry for the confederate army raided the area before staging his famous raid on Indianamarker and Ohiomarker known as Morgan's Raid.

Post war

After the war, the area now occupied by the Army was home to various small communities. In October 1903, military maneuvers for the Regular Army and the National Guards of several states were held at West Point, Kentuckymarker and the surrounding area. In April 1918, field artillery units from Camp Zachary Taylor arrived at West Point for training. near the village of Stithton were leased to the government and construction for a permanent training center was started in July 1918.

New camp

The new camp was named after Henry Knox, the Continental Army's chief of artillery during the Revolutionary War and the country's first Secretary of War. The camp was extended by the purchase of a further in June 1918 and construction properly began in July 1918. The building program was reduced following the end of the war and reduced further following cuts to the army in 1921 after the National Defense Act of 1920. The camp was greatly reduced and became a semi-permanent training center for the 5th Corps Area for Reserve Officer training, the National Guard, and Citizen's Military Training Camps (CMTC). For a short while, from 1925 to 1928, the area was designated as "Camp Henry Knox National Forest."

Air Corps usage

The post contains an airfield, called Godman Army Airfieldmarker, that was used by the United States Army Air Corps, and its successor, the United States Army Air Forces as a training base during World War II. It was used by the Kentucky Air National Guard for several years after the war until they relocated to Standiford Fieldmarker in Louisvillemarker. The airfield is still in use by the United States Army Aviation Branch.

Mechanized military unit occupation

An XM1 Abrams tank, during a demonstration in 1979.
In 1931 a small force of the mechanized cavalry was assigned to Camp Knox to use it as a training site. The camp was turned into a permanent garrison in January 1932 and renamed Fort Knox. The 1st Cavalry Regiment arrived later in the month to become the 1st Cavalry Regiment (Mechanized).

In 1936 the 1st was joined by the 13th to become the 7th Cavalry Brigade (Mechanized). The site quickly became the center for mechanization tactics and doctrine. The success of the Germanmarker mechanized units at the start of World War II was a major impetus to operations at the fort. A new Armored Force was established in July 1940 with its headquarters at Fort Knox with the 7th Cavalry Brigade becoming the 1st Armored Division. The Armored Force School and the Armored Force Replacement Center were also sited at Fort Knox in October 1940, and their successors remain located there today. The site was expanded to cope with its new role. By 1943, there were 3,820 buildings on . A third of the base has been torn down within the last ten years, with another third slated by 2010.

The Army HR Command Center will be re-located to Fort Knox from the DC/Virginia area beginning in 2009. New facilities are under construction throughout Fort Knox, such as the new Army Human Resource Center, the largest construction project in the history of Fort Knox. It’s a $185 million, three-story, complex, sitting on .

Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC)

Fort Knox will lose about 4,600 personnel through the departure of the Army Armor Center and School to Fort Benningmarker, Georgiamarker, as well as the departure of other divisions to different parts of the country.

The Army Human Resources Command with approximately 3,100 mostly civilian personnel is being consolidated at Fort Knox. The new center will combine offices currently located in Virginia, Indiana and Missouri. The 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, with approximately 3,400 personnel, currently stationed at Fort Hoodmarker, Texasmarker, will be relocated to Fort Knox.

It’s expected that between $800 and $900 million worth of construction will take place at Fort Knox for the BRAC reorganization, and for base modernization projects.

The Fort Knox BRAC reorganization will be completed by September 2011.

Fort Knox High School

Fort Knox is one of only two Army bases, the other being Fort Campbellmarker, that still has a high school located on post. Fort Knox High School serving grades 9-12 was built in 1958 and had gone under only a handful of renovations since then; but a new building was completed in 2008.

Current units

  • 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division
  • 3rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary)
  • 19th Engineer Battalion
  • 16th Cavalry Regiment
    • 1st Squadron
    • 2nd Squadron
    • 3rd Squadron
  • 194th Armored Brigade
  • 34th Military Police Detachment
  • 46th Adjutant General Battalion
  • 95th Training Division (formerly 95th Infantry Division)
  • 113th Band
  • Ireland Army Community Hospital MEDDAC
  • 84th Training Command (UR)
    • 70th Training Division (FT)


Fort Knox is located at 37°54'09.96" North, 85°57'09.11" West, along the Ohio River. The depository itself is located at 37°52'59.59" North, 85°57'55.31" West.

According to the Census Bureau, the base CDP has a total area of , of which is land and —0.14%—is water.Communities near Fort Knox include Brandenburgmarker, Elizabethtownmarker, Hodgenvillemarker, Louisvillemarker, Radcliffmarker, Shepherdsvillemarker, and Vine Grove, Kentuckymarker The Meade County city of Muldraughmarker is completely surrounded by Fort Knox.


As of the census of 2000, there were 12,377 people, 2,748 households, and 2,596 families residing on base. The population density was . There were 3,015 housing units at an average density of . The racial makeup of the base was 66.32% White, 23.08% African American, 0.73% Native American, 1.65% Asian, 0.44% Pacific Islander, 4.17% from other races, and 3.63% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 10.35% of the population.

There were 2,748 households out of which 77.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 86.0% were married couples living together, 6.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 5.5% were non-families. 4.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 0.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.49 and the average family size was 3.60.

The age distribution was 34.9% under the age of 18, 25.5% from 18 to 24, 37.2% from 25 to 44, 2.3% from 45 to 64, and 0.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 22 years. For every 100 females there were 155.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 190.3 males. These statistics are generally typical for military bases.

The median income for a household on the base was $34,020, and the median income for a family was $33,588. Males had a median income of $26,011 versus $21,048 for females. The per capita income for the base was $12,410. About 5.8% of the population and 6.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.6% of those under the age of 18 and 100.0% of those 65 and older.

In popular culture

  • In the 1959 James Bond novel Goldfinger, gold smuggler Auric Goldfinger plots to steal the gold in Fort Knox. In the movie version, the third spy film in the series which was made in 1964, Goldfinger plans a nuclear detonation inside the Fort Knox gold depository. For security reasons, the filmmakers were not allowed to film inside the United States Bullion Depository, though exterior photography was permitted. All sets for the interiors of the building were designed and built from scratch at Pinewood Studiosmarker. The video game James Bond 007: Nightfire also has a multiplayer level set in the fictitious interior of the Bullion Depository.

  • The 1981 comedy film Stripes was filmed on post and the surrounding areas, including downtown Louisvillemarker. Fort Knox was not identified by name in the film.

  • In "14 Carrot Rabbit", a 1951 animated cartoon short in the Looney Tunes series featuring Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam finds tons of gold, but finds out that he is digging at the United States Gold Reserve in Fort Knox. He ends up getting taken away by US soldiers and charged with a felony (Bugs chuckles "So long, Sam! See ya in 20 years!")

  • In an episode of Pinky and the Brain, the duo make it past the security guards using sneezing powder, only to come out empty-handed, as the gold was too heavy for them to carry.

  • In the animated Jackie Chan Adventures cartoon series (episode "Bullies"), one of the prime characters, Valmont, uses a magic talisman to break into Fort Knox to replenish his dwindling funds and to make a historical heist, only to be foiled by Jackie Chan and his niece Jade.

  • Fort Knox serves as the cover for an old abandoned government base in the Ben 10 episode "Ben 10 vs. the Negative 10, part 1". A group of superpowered villains enter the vault, but do not steal any of the gold in favor of an old key device stored in the hide-out.

  • Part of the movie "Stripes" was filmed at Fort Knox - the scene with the "boom chaka-laka" drill & ceremony takes place by the old green WW II barracks, relatively near the infamous hills on post known as Agony & Misery.

See also


  1. Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor
  2. Ramage, James A., Rebel Raider: The Life of General John Hunt Morgan. Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky, 1986. ISBN 0-8131-1576-0.
  3. New York Times July 17, 1903 pg 5
  4. The Courier-Journal April 15, 1928 end
  5. Kentucky — Place GCT-PH1. Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2000 Data Set: Census 2000 Summary File 1 (SF 1) 100-Percent Data
  6. US Army Armor Center- Family & Community

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