Historical Overview

Fort Jackson, adjacent to Columbia, S.C. is a 53,000 acre U.S. Army Training Center. Named for President Andrew Jackson-- a South Carolina native -- it was originally established in 1917 when it trained men of the 30th and 81st Infantry Divisions. Between 1925 and 1940 it served as an encampment and training area for the S.C. National Guard. It became a permanent Army garrison in 1940 and lost its former name of Camp Jackson. After World War II Ft. Jackson became a replacement training center. During the Korean War, the 8th and 31st Infantry Divisions trained here. In 1973, Fort Jackson was appointed as a U.S. Army Training Center, and since 1995, Fort Jackson is home to new training facilities and schools; including the U.S. Army Soldier Support Institute, the Department of Defense Chaplain Center and School, and the Defense Academy for Credibility Assessment. Today, Fort Jackson is the biggest and most active Initial Entry Training center in the entire U.S Army training 50 percent of all Soldiers and 60 percent of the women entering the Army each year.

The Birth of Camp Jackson

The United States declared war on Germany April 7, 1917 and on May 24, 1917, Congress passed War Bulletin Number 32 which authorized the President to increase the American military. On May 19, 1917, Columbia, SC was designated as a site for one of the new Army divisional training camps and  by June 2, 1917 the War Department granted final approval for the location of an Army training center in Columbia, SC, and construction began on Camp Jackson.

For the construction of the new Army cantonments, speed was the priority.

In the first phase of construction from June to December 1917, more than 1500 buildings were completed and over the next year another 550 buildings would be added to the camp. Camp Jackson's original building inventory included 119 Officer's quarters, 402 Enlisted barracks, 403 lavatories, 35 additional mess halls, 189 stables, 26 support administrative buildings, 13 post exchanges, 12 guard houses, 51 store houses, 16 shops, 3 garages, 102 sheds, 4 magazines, 7 civic buildings, 3 fire stations, a post office, a laundry building, a bakery, a telephone/telegraph building, a sewage disposal building, and a base hospital with more than 60 buildings. In addition to the buildings, the construction of Camp Jackson included the installation of a water supply and distribution system, a sewage system, an electrical system, telephone/telegraph lines, roads and railroad tracks...

[Excerpts from The Birth of Camp Jackson, published by the U.S. Army Basic Combat Training Museum, 2016]

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