Welcome to Fort Johnson

Fort Johnson, the home of heroes and the best hometown in the Army, is nestled in the piney woods of west-central Louisiana. Fort Johnson brings together small town living and the beauty of the great outdoors.

The area’s warm climate makes it a gateway to a wide variety of outdoor activities. Avid anglers can fish Anacoco and Vernon lakes or the 65-mile-long Toledo Bend Reservoir while catching their limits of bass, white perch, bluegill or catfish. Deer, turkey, boar, squirrels, rabbits and other game give hunters reason to roam the woodlands. Families can enjoy hiking and camping year-round in the facilities that abound in the area.

Fort Johnson is only minutes from the town of Leesville. You’re only hours from larger cities such as Dallas, Houston, Shreveport, Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Visitors can also experience the wonderful Cajun culture and customs simply by visiting south Louisiana.

Whether you have already arrived here or have just received orders to report here, the information in this publication will help you get settled and take advantage of on- and off-post services and attractions.

Louisiana climate

Louisiana has a humid subtropical climate, perhaps the most "classic" example of a humid subtropical climate of all the South central states, with long, hot, humid summers and short, mild winters.

The subtropical characteristics of the state are due in large part to the influence of the Gulf of Mexico, which even at its farthest point is no more than 200 miles away. Precipitation is frequent throughout the year, although the summer is slightly wetter than the rest of the year. There is a dip in precipitation in October. Southern Louisiana receives far more copious rainfall, especially during the winter months. Summers in Louisiana are hot and humid, with high temperatures from mid-June to mid-September averaging 90 °F (32 °C) or more and overnight lows averaging above 70 °F (22 °C).

In the summer, the extreme maximum temperature is much warmer in the north than in the south, with temperatures near the Gulf of Mexico occasionally reaching 100 °F (38 °C), although temperatures above 95 °F (35 °C) are commonplace. In northern Louisiana, the temperatures reach above 105 °F (41 °C) in the summer.

Temperatures are generally mildly warm in the winter in the southern part of the state, with highs around New Orleans, Baton Rouge, the rest of south Louisiana, and the Gulf of Mexico averaging 66 °F (19 °C), while the northern part of the state is mildly cool in the winter with highs averaging 59 °F (15 °C). The overnight lows in the winter average well above freezing throughout the state, with 46 °F (8 °C) the average near the Gulf and an average low of 37 °F (3 °C) in the winter in the northern part of the state. Louisiana does have its share of cold fronts, which frequently drop the temperatures below 20 °F (−8 °C) in the northern part of the state, but almost never do so in the southern part of the state. Snow is not very common near the Gulf of Mexico, although those in the northern parts of the state can expect one to three snowfalls per year, with the frequency increasing northwards. Louisiana's highest recorded temperature is 114 °F (46 °C) in Plain Dealing on Aug. 10, 1936 while the coldest recorded temperature is −16 °F (−27 °C) at Minden on Feb. 13, 1899.

Louisiana is often affected by tropical cyclones and is vulnerable to strikes by major hurricanes, particularly the lowlands around and in the New Orleans area. The unique geography of the region with the many bayous, marshes and inlets can make major hurricanes especially destructive. The area is also prone to frequent thunderstorms, especially in the summer. The entire state averages over 60 days of thunderstorms a year, more than any other state except Florida. Louisiana averages 27 tornadoes annually. The entire state is vulnerable to a tornado strike, with the extreme southern portion of the state slightly less so than the rest of the state. Tornadoes are much more common from January to March in the southern part of the state, and from February through March in the northern part of the state.

Information a click away

There are a variety of ways to get information – and offer feedback – about Fort Johnson and its coming events:
The JRTC and Fort Johnson web site has a wealth of information and features a live Facebook feed.
The installation newspaper, the Guardian, is published bi-weekly. It can be accessed on the home page. Our Facebook page can be accessed at : https://home.army.mil/johnson/about/garrison-directorates-and-support-offices/public-affairs/news-page.

Fort Johnson history

Fort Johnson was established on January 10, 1941. Thousands of Soldiers learned the basics of combat here during the World War II Louisiana Maneuvers. Forty-eight of the Army’s 91 divisions of WWII trained at Camp Polk. Generals such as Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley and Marshall learned many lessons during the maneuvers that were critical to their success in defeating the axis powers.

The post closed in 1946 and re-opened during the Korean War, closing again in 1954. It re-opened for Operation Sagebrush in 1955, the largest Army Maneuver since 1941, as Fort Polk, but closed again in 1959. Fort Polk re-opened permanently in 1961, and was designated as an Army infantry training center in 1962. During the Vietman War, Fort Polk was the Army’s largest infantry training center, and became renowned as “Tiger Land” due to its realistic Vietnamese-style training villages. Fort Polk trained more than 1 million Soldiers for the Vietnam War.

The 5th Infantry Division (Mechanized) replaced the infantry training center in 1975, as the Army’s mission switched from light infantry to mechanized warfare. The 5th ID Soldiers formed the nucleus of the task force sent to Panama for Operation Just Cause in 1989-90. As the Army’s mission again changed from using heavy mechanized to lighter formations, the 5th ID inactivated in 1992, and the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment took its place. The 2nd ACR deployed to the Balkans and Iraq during its tenure at Fort Polk.

On March 12, 1993, Fort Polk officially became the home of the Joint Readiness Training Center, which relocated from Fort Chaffee, Arkansas.

Since 9-11, Fort Polk Soldiers of have been called to serve around the world, deploying to Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, New Dawn, Inherent Resolve and more, in missions that embraced medical, military police, engineer and other support roles in addition to combat missions.

On June 13, 2023, Fort Polk became Fort Johnson.  Named after SGT William Henry Johnson, a Medal of Honor recipient from WWI.

Fort Johnson is a unique and one of a kind installation that continues to support the nation’s most critical missions. The installation is also home to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, the 519th Military Police Battalion, the 5th Aviation Battalion, and the 46th Engineer Battalion and the Joint Readiness Training Center Operations Group. Ops Group provides rigorous, realistic and relevant training for Soldiers deploying to combat areas and prepares units for future operations throughout the world. Installation, medical and dental commands also support the installation,

Throughout its history, Fort Johnson has answered the nation’s call to train Soldiers for missions throughout the world and will continue to uphold the legacy of missions accomplished and lives saved.