Dozens of officers from the 101st Airborne are spending part of the week in Nashville, getting face time with business and community leaders. The visit is part of the Army division's efforts to go out of its way to strengthen personal relationships far from the installation at Fort Campbell.
Tuesday morning started with a workout — in the Tennessee Titans' indoor practice bubble.
"My favorite saying, gentlemen and ladies, is, 'Those who sweat more in peace, bleed less in war,' " longtime strength coach Steve Waterson yelled as soldiers sling kettle bells and whip oversized ropes.
After showering off, the officers from the 1st Brigade Combat Team also met with executives from AT&T and Deloitte to talk about management strategies and spent time with the mayor of Franklin, walking the city's Civil War battlefield.
Col. Al Boyer says the off-post training activity has dual purposes. His unit commanders get to glean insights from business leaders. But civilians also put a face with a uniform — especially important right now, he says, as the country contemplates military action in new places.
"That's why it's so important to have these civilian relationships, because civilians and our elected government officials are the ones that send us to combat," he says. "They have to know us. They have to understand what we do."
Fort Campbell officials started the community outreach initiative nearly a year ago, focusing initially in Williamson County. Since then, Franklin families have hosted the spouses of deployed soldiers. Last August, city officials from Franklin toured the air assault school at Fort Campbell.