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Fort Benning is a United States Army post outside Columbus, Georgia. Fort Benning supports more than 120,000 active-duty military, family members, reserve component soldiers, retirees, and civilian employees on a daily basis. It is a power projection platform, and possesses the capability to deploy combat-ready forces by air, rail, and highway. Fort Benning is the home of the United States Army Maneuver Center of Excellence, the United States Army Armor School, United States Army Infantry School, the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (formerly known as the School of the Americas), elements of the 75th Ranger Regiment, 3rd Brigade – 3rd Infantry Division, and many other additional tenant units.
Since 1918, Fort Benning, has served as the Home of the Infantry. Since 2005, Fort Benning has been transformed into the Maneuver Center of Excellence, as a result of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission's decision to consolidate a number of schools and installations to create various "centers of excellence." Included in this transformation was the move of the Armor School from Fort Knox to Fort Benning.
Camp Benning was established in October 1918 and was assigned permanent status in 1918. Initially providing basic training for World War I units, post-war Dwight D. Eisenhower served at Benning from 24 December 1918, until 15 March 1919 with about 250 of his Camp Colt, Pennsylvania, tankers who transferred to Benning after the armistice.:72 On 26 December 1918, a portion of the Camp Polk tank school was transferred to Camp Benning "to work in conjunction with the Infantry school". Camp Benning tank troops were moved to Camp Meade from 19–21 February 1919.
In February 1920, Congress voted to declare Camp Benning a permanent military post and appropriated more than $1 million of additional building funds for the Infantry School of Arms, which later became the Infantry School. By the fall of 1920, more than 350 officers, 7,000 troops and 650 student officers lived at Camp Benning. The post was renamed to Fort Benning in 1922. In 1924, Brig. Gen. Briant Wells became the fourth commandant of the Infantry School and established the Wells Plan for permanent construction on the installation, emphasizing the importance of the outdoor environment and recreation opportunities for military personnel. During Wells' tenure, the post developed recreational facilities such as Doughboy Stadium, Gowdy Field, the post theater and Russ swimming pool. Lt. Col George C. Marshall was appointed assistant commandant of the post in 1927 and initiated major changes. Marshall, who later became the Army Chief of Staff during World War II, was appalled by the high casualties of World War I caused, he thought, by insufficient training. He was determined to prevent a lack of preparation from costing more lives in future conflicts. He and his subordinates revamped the education system at Fort Benning. The changes he fostered are still known as the Benning Revolution. Later in his life, Marshall went on to author the Marshall Plan for reviving postwar Europe and won the Nobel Peace Prize.
World War II
During World War II Fort Benning had 197,159 acres (797.87 km²) with billeting space for 3,970 officers and 94,873 enlisted persons. Home to the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, their training began in December 1943 and was an important milestone for black Americans, as was explored in the first narrative history of the installation, Home of the Infantry. The battalion, later expanded to become the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, was trained at Fort Benning but did not deploy overseas. During this period, the specialized duties of the Triple Nickel were primarily in a firefighting role, with over one thousand parachute jumps as smoke jumpers. The 555th was secretly deployed to the Pacific Northwest of the United States in response to the concern that forest fires were being set by the Japanese military using long-range incendiary balloons.
The 4th Infantry Division, first of four divisions committed by the United States to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, reorganized and completed its basic training at Fort Benning (Sand Hill and Harmony Church areas) from October 1950 to May 1951, when it deployed to Germany for five years.
The Airborne School on Main Post has three 249-foot (76 m) drop towers called "Free Towers." They are used to train paratroopers. The towers were modeled after the parachute towers at the 1939 World's Fair in New York. Only three towers stand today; the fourth tower was toppled by a tornado on 14 March 1954.
During the spring of 1962 General Herbert B. Powell, Commanding General, Continental Army Command, directed that all instruction at the Infantry School after 1 July reflect Reorganization Objective Army Division structures. Therefore, the Infantry School asked for permission to reorganize the 1st Infantry Brigade under a ROAD structure. Instead, the Army Staff decided to inactivate the Pentomic-structured brigade and replace it with a new ROAD unit, the 197th Infantry Brigade, which resolved a unit designation issue. With the designation 1st Infantry Brigade slated to return to the 1st Infantry Division when it converted to ROAD, the existing unit at Fort Benning required a new title. The staff selected an infantry brigade number that had been associated with an Organized Reserve division that was no longer in the force. For the new ROAD brigade at Fort Benning, Georgia, the adjutant general on 1 August 1962 restored elements of the 99th Reconnaissance Troop, which thirty years earlier had been organized by consolidating infantry brigade headquarters and headquarters companies of the 99th Infantry Division, as Headquarters and Headquarters Companies, 197th and 198th Infantry Brigades.
Fort Benning was the site of the Scout dog school of the United States during the Vietnam War, where the dogs trained to detect ambushes in enemy terrain got their initial training, before being transferred to Vietnam for further advanced courses.
In 1984, following the signing of the Panama Canal Treaty, the School of the Americas relocated from Fort Gulick (Panama) to Fort Benning. After criticism concerning human rights violations committed by a number of graduates in Latin America, the school was renamed Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.
Fort Benning and The Maneuver Center provide Agile, Trained, Adaptive, and Ready Soldiers and Leaders for an Army at War, while developing Future requirements for the Individual Soldier and the Maneuver Force, and providing a World Class Quality of Life for our Soldiers and Army Families!
The Infantry School transforms civilians into disciplined INFANTRYMEN that possess the Army Values, fundamental Soldier skills, physical fitness, character, confidence, commitment, and the Warrior Ethos to become adaptive and flexible Infantrymen ready to accomplish the mission of the Infantry.
The Armor School educates, trains, and inspires America's Armored Soldiers and Leaders for a lifetime of service to the Nation; prepared to close with & destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver as part of a combined arms team.
There are four main cantonment areas on Fort Benning: Main Post, Kelley Hill, Sand Hill, and Harmony Church.
Main Post houses various garrison and smaller FORSCOM units of Fort Benning such as 36th Engineer Group, 988th Military Police Company, the 43rd Engineer Battalion, and the 29th Infantry Regiment, as well as a number of TRADOC-related tenants, e.g. the Officer Candidate School, the Non-Commissioned Officers Academy, and the Airborne School. McGinnis-Wickham Hall (formerly known as Infantry Hall) is the post headquarters and Maneuver Center of Excellence. Adjacent is a monument, the Ranger Memorial.
Kelley Hill houses the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team of the 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized), the parent unit of two combined armed battalions; First Battalion, Fifteenth Infantry, Second Battalion, Sixty-ninth Armor, as well as Third Squadron, First Cavalry Regiment, First Battalion, Tenth Field Artillery Regiment, and two support battalions; 3-3 BSTB, and 203rd BSB.
Sand Hill is the primary location of the Infantry Training Brigade (198th Infantry Brigade) and the Basic Combat Training Brigade (192nd Infantry brigade). Sand Hill is also the location of the 30th AG Reception Battalion at Fort Benning.
Harmony Church area houses the 2/29 Infantry Regiment Sniper School, the 1/29th Infantry Regiment (training support for Bradley Fighting Vehicles and Strykers), the United States Army Reconnaissance and Surveillance Leaders Course (RSLC) and the first phase of Ranger School, 4th Ranger Training Battalion (RTB). After the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission's decision to create the Maneuver Center of Excellence (MCoE), Harmony Church was designated as the new home of the US Army Armor School.
- Post Commanding General, MCoE: MG H.R. McMaster
- Post Command Sergeant Major, MCoE: CSM James J. Carabello
- Commandant, U.S. Army Infantry School: COL David B. Haight
- Command Sergeant Major, U.S. Army Infantry School: CSM Timothy A. Guden
- Commandant, U.S. Army Armor School: COL Paul J. Laughlin
- Command Sergeant Major, U.S. Army Armor School: CSM Miles S. Wilson
- Director of Capabilities Development and Integration, MCoE: Mr. Donald M. Sando
- Chief of Staff, MCoE: COL Terry L. Sellers
- Garrison Commander, MCoE: COL Thomas D. MacDonald
- Garrison Command Sergeant Major, MCoE: CSM Mark E. Moore
- Deputy Garrison Commander, MCoE: Mr. George W. Steuber
Units and Tenant Units
Fort Benning was selected by the Base Realignment and Closing Commission to be the home of the new Maneuver Center of Excellence (MCoE). This realignment has co-located the United States Army Armor Center and School, formerly located at Fort Knox, Kentucky, with the Infantry Center and School. This transformation was completed September 2011.
In popular culture
Many movies and a number of documentary films have been filmed at Fort Benning. Among the notable ones:
- The Army in Overalls (1941), a Defense Report film
- Parachute Battalion (1941)
- The Green Berets (1967), filmed at Fort Benning and in downtown Columbus
- Jumping Jacks (1951), filmed at Airborne School and Harmony Church, Fort Benning
- Tank (1983); the movie's world premiere occurred on base in 1984
- A Time To Triumph (1985)
- Your Mother Wears Combat Boots (1989); the movie was filmed at the Military Clothing & Sales Store, Airborne School, Airborne School headquarters, the original barracks which housed the 555th Parachute Infantry Regiment as well as the current location of the training sites. The location where they're running in formation in the forest was on the, then, newly paved tank trail on Kelley Hill.
- The General's Daughter (1999); based on the 1992 Nelson DeMille novel of the same name.
- We Were Soldiers (2002); notable locations include the 249' Controlled Descent Towers on Eubanks Field, the officer housing area along South Lumpkin Road, and Doughboy Stadium
- The Essence of Combat: Making 'Black Hawk Down' (2002) Documentary featuring behind the scenes material and interviews with the cast, crew and actual US Army Rangers.
- Return To El Salvador (2010)
- In the pilot episode of M*A*S*H, it is revealed that Margaret Houlihan first met GEN Hammond at Fort Benning. A flashback shows they had a physical relationship.
- In summer 2008, chef Gordon Ramsay filmed a segment for his British magazine and cooking television series, The F Word, season 4, episode 6. He went wild boar hunting, cooked an entire pig, and served it to troops.
- In the X-Files episode E.B.E., Mulder and Scully receive information from Deep Throat about a UFO that was shot down over Iraq and had been secretly transported to Fort Benning.
- In a later episode of Stargate SG-1 (Babylon), Col. Cameron Mitchell comments that airborne training in Fort Benning is extremely difficult.
- A Time to Triumph (1986), Television movie filmed at Fort Benning.
- During Day 2 of the television series 24, the special forces team, Coral Snake, was said to have been out of Fort Benning.
- In AMC's zombie television series, The Walking Dead, survivors attempt to travel through the ruins of Georgia to reach the imagined safety of Fort Benning.
- In season one of ABC Family's Switched at Birth (TV series) it is reveled that Bay's boyfriend Tye is being sent to Fort Benning for basic training.
- In season two of Army Wives, Jeremy Sherwood goes through basic training at Fort Benning.
- In the season three finale of the Fox hit Glee (TV Series), Finn Hudson reveals he is heading to Fort Benning.
- Fort Benning United States. Infantry school Ga. (1921). Battle of Blandensburg. Fort Benning, GA: Camp Benning Infantry School Press.
- The Infantry Journal Incorporated (1939). Infantry in Battle. Washington, DC: Garrett and Massey.
- Fort Benning Officer's Wives Club and Mrs. Richard B. Stoltz (1973). 50th Anniversary Fort Benning Officers Wives Club Cookbook. Fort Benning, GA: Fort Benning Officer's Wives Club.
- Nelson DeMille (1992). The General's Daughter. Fort Benning, Georgia: Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 0-446-67910-0.
- Sharyn & Richard Keeton Kane (1994). Fort Benning; The Land and The People. Fort Benning, Georgia: U.S. Army Infantry Center.
- John Vasquez and Bruce Stephen Holms (2000). Incident at Fort Benning. Fort Benning, Georgia: Timeless Voyager Press. ISBN 1-892264-04-8.
- Mark Busby (2001). Fort Benning Blues. Fort Benning, Georgia: Texas Christian University Press. ISBN 0-87565-238-7.
- Monroe Mann (2002). To Benning and Back: The Making of a Citizen Soldier. Fort Benning, Georgia: Unlimited Publishing. ISBN 1-58832-069-3.
- Kenneth H. Thomas Jr. (2003). Fort Benning (Images of America: Georgia). Fort Benning, Georgia: Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0-7385-1563-9.
- Peggy A. Stelpflug and Richard Hyatt (2007). Home of the Infantry: The History Of Fort Benning. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press. ISBN 978-0-88146-087-2.
- Cilla McCain (2010). Murder in Baker Company: How Four American Soldiers Killed One of Their Own. Fort Benning, GA: Chicago Review Press. ISBN 1-55652-947-3.
- Part of America's Army (designed and distributed by the United States Army) takes place at Fort Benning.
- In Clive Barker's Jericho, Lt. Abigail Black learns her rifle skills at Fort Benning's sniper school.
- Song: Fort Benning Blues
- Album: Steel Guitar Rag
- Artist: Jimmie Tarlton
- Year: 2009
- Maneuver Center of Excellence
- Perret, Geoffrey. Eisenhower (Google Books). Retrieved 2011-01-21.
- Rochenbach, Samuel D (13 October 1919). "Report of the Director of the Tank Corps for the year ending June 30, 1919". Congressional serial set, Issue 7688. http://books.google.com/books?id=xq4qAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA251&lpg=PA251&dq=tobyhanna+%22tank+corps%22&source=bl&ots=E3Q3GgC5hL&sig=tlu1tMptZ2j5y8ACUanHftr_Xn0&hl=en&ei=u2A0TcXXGsaAlAfEiJ3ECg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CDMQ6AEwBTgU#v=onepage&q=tobyhanna%20%22tank%20corps%22&f=false. Retrieved 2011-01-17.
- Kane, Sharyn (May 2003). Fort Benning: The Land and the People. p. 172.
- Kane, Sharyn (May 2003). Fort Benning: The Land and the People. pp. 173–174.
- Bunn, Michael J. (Summer 2008). "Home of the Infantry: The History of Fort Benning". Georgia Historical Quarterly (Georgia Historical Society) 92 (2): 268–270. ISSN 0016-8297.
- Stelpflug, Peggy A.; Richard Hyatt (2007). Home of the Infantry: The History of Fort Benning. Macon: Mercer University Press. pp. 300–67. ISBN 978-0-88146-087-2.
- http://www.triplenickle.com/deptarmy.htm. Missing or empty
- Maneuver and Firepower, Chapter 11
- Rubinstein, Wain (June 1969). Scout Dogs "Enemy's Worst Enemy...". Danger Forward. Retrieved 2009-06-17.
- House Select Committee on Assassinations, LUIS POSADA CARRILES, ca. 1978
- Candiotti, Susan (18 May 2005). "Alleged anti-Castro terrorist Posada arrested". CNN. Archived from the original on 2 June 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
- "The Oklahoma Bombing Conspirators". University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. Retrieved 2010-01-15.
- Fort Benning & MCoE Mission
- Infantry School Mission
- Armor School Mission
- MG Robert B. Brown
- CSM Chris Hardy
- BG Bryan R. Owens
- CSM Steven W. McClaflin
- BG Ted Martin
- CSM Ricky W. Young
- Mr. Donald M. Sando
- COL Terry L. Sellers
- COL Thomas D. MacDonald
- CSM Mark E. Moore
- Mr. George W. Steuber
- Final units depart Fort Knox
- Infantry & Armor linked under new command
- Fort Benning BRAC-related Growth Update
- Kentucky Living Magazine
- Official Site
- Fort Benning Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation
- Fort Benning at www.georgiaencyclopedia.org
- Fort Benning Bayonet, the military-authorized newspaper
- FORSCOM homepage official site