The history of Fort Jackson in Columbia, SC

fort jackson

Soldiers cheering on battle buddies in a team-building course | Photo by Wiki Commons

“Victory Starts Here.”
Fort Jackson, the 53,000-acre US Army Training Center in Columbia, is the largest + most active Entry Training Center into the US Army in the nation. It trains ~45,000 basic training Soldiers annually, making up almost 50% of the Army’s basic combat trainees and about 60% of all females entering the Army.

Not only has Fort Jackson had a significant impact across the nation through its Soldiers, but also on Columbia’s economy. According to research from UofSC’s Darla Moore School of Business, military operations around SC represent 8.4% of the state’s economy, with $2.2 billion of that coming directly from Fort Jackson. In 2019, that number was estimated to have risen to $2.4 billion.

Two months ago, WLTX reported that $273 million federal dollars would go to military bases around SC. Fort Jackson received $21 million and allocated the money for constructing reception barracks to keep the facilities updated for those on base.

But how did we get here? Let’s take a step back in time to see the history of Fort Jackson before it was a huge economic + national base.

The training center was named after the seventh President of the United States, Andrew Jackson. It was established in 1917, about a month after the US declared war on Germany during WWI and Congress authorized the President to expand the military. In doing so, Columbia was chosen as the site for a new Army divisional training camp.

Click the link below to read how Fort Jackson was used during the World Wars, when it became appointed as a US Army Training Center, and five fast facts about the base today.

The War Department of the US closed Fort Jackson on April 25, 1922, but reactivated the site when WWII started to train and equip more soldiers. During that time, it also served as a training area for the SC National Guard between 1925-1940. In 1940, it became a permanent base, losing the name “Camp Jackson” and officially became Fort Jackson. During the first and second World Wars, the local training base was responsible for 50-80% of all Basic Combat Training for the US Army.

It was appointed as a US Army Training Center in 1973, and has since grown into a staple for the US Army.

Five fast Fort Jackson facts:

  • 11,000+ families call Fort Jackson home
  • It produces 36,000 graduates a year
  • 41 graduation ceremonies are held each year
  • It has an on-site 10,000 sqft water park
  • Fort Jackson Golf Club opened in 1949 and is home to two championship golf courses
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