When I first stepped off that “mule train” that carried us from Fort Jackson, South Carolina to Fort Benning, Georgia, I had immediate thoughts I had died and gone to Hell.
Looking back, I would tell you it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
I was transformed from a reckless teenager to a man who honored his country and the freedom it provides.
I was part of the United States Army and proud of it.
That time at Fort Benning was in 1981 but it seems like just yesterday. I look at some of the youngsters in today’s world and say the same thing that many veterans say, “They need a dose of Fort Benning basic training.”
I have decided to point out 20 cool facts about Fort Benning, Georgia. These facts are in no particular order, so read them all and learn about this large Army installation.
#1: The Name… Will It Be Changed?
Since so many people are wanting to somehow “erase” history, I wonder if it will have its name changed?
Fort Benning was named after the Confederate General Henry Benning.
I could go on and on about the subject, but this is not the place or the time.
#2: Date Established
Camp Benning was established in October of 1918.
#3: Nearest City
The fort is next to Columbus, Georgia. It is also near the Alabama border.
#4: United States Army Infantry
My MOS was 11 Bravo… Infantryman.
Fort Benning, Georgia is home to the United States infantry.
#5: Fort Benning Is A City
Fort Benning covers an area exceeding 182,000 acres and holds at least 120,000 humans.
#6: In Terms Of Other Army Installations
It is the 6th largest military installation in the U.S. and the 3rd largest in troop strength.
#7: Top Leaders Who Trained At Fort Benning
Some of the Army’s top leadership had training at Fort Benning. These include but are not limited to:
- Omar Bradley
- George Marshall
- Dwight Eisenhower
- George Patton
- Colin Powell
- and many others
#8: Excellence In 2005
In 2005, it became the Maneuver Center of Excellence when other centers of excellence were closed.
#9: Camp Benning Was Closed
Originally, Fort Benning was established to provide basic training for troops deploying to Europe in World War I. After the war, Benning was shut down for some time until the Army could decide its fate.
#10: You Know You Are At Fort Benning When You See…
The 3 jump towers standing erect on Eubanks Field. The airborne school at Fort Benning uses these 250 foot towers in training soldiers who will soon wear the coveted Airborne Patch.
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#11: Did House The School Of The Americas
The objective was to train military forces from other countries. The School of the Americas was moved to Fort Benning in 1984 but because of the controversy surrounding it, the school was closed in 2000.
#12: The 4 Cantonment Areas
The word cantonment means district. There are 4 Cantonment areas at the installation. They are:
- The Main Post which houses smaller FORSCOM units, Officer Candidate School, Airborne School, Etc…
- Kelley Hill is the home of primarily armored battalions as well as other regiments and battalions.
- Sand Hill is where you will find the majority of infantry.
- Harmony Church is where you will find Ranger School and Armor School.
#13: Fort Benning In The Movies
Fort Benning has appeared in various movies over the years. They include:
- We Were Soldiers
- Black Hawk Down
- Parachute Battalion
- Your Mother Wears Combat Boots
- and The General’s Daughter
#14: All You Need On Base
The fort is completely self-sustaining.
- 7 schools
- Fire department
- Police department
- Car wash
- Swimming pool
- Dentists and Doctors
- even a skate park and paint ball area
The National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center is located just outside Fort Benning.
#16: Current Commanders
The current command structure at Fort Benning includes:
- Commanding General -Major General Gary M. Brito
- Command Sergeant Major -CSM Scott A. Brzak
- Commandant Infantry School -Brigadier General David M. Hodne
- Command Sergeant Major Infantry School -CSM Martin S. Celestine
- Commandant Armor School -Brigadier General David A. Lesperance
- Command Sergeant Major Armor School -CSM Kevin J. Muhlenbeck
There are many other leaders too.
#17: Units At Fort Benning
There are many various units at Fort Benning:
- 198th Infantry Brigade commanded by Colonel Kelly Kendrick
- 199th Infantry Brigade commanded by Colonel Anthony Judge
- 194th Armored Brigade commanded by Colonel Scott Allen
- 316th Cavalry Brigade commanded by Colonel Thomas Feltey
- Airborne And Ranger Training Brigade commanded by Colonel Douglas Vincent
- Henry Caro NCO Academy commanded by Command Sergeant Major Michael Ames
- 14th Combat Support Hospital commanded by Colonel Rachele Smith
- 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team
- 75th Ranger Regiment
- Army Marksmanship Unit
- U.S. Air Force 17th Air Support Operations Squadron
- Western Hemisphere Institute For Security Cooperation commanded by Colonel Glenn Huber Jr.
- United States Army Armor School
- United States Army Infantry School
- Martin Army Community Hospital commanded by Colonel Larry McCord
#18: Luis Carriles
An anti-Fidel Castro man, Luis was trained in CIA covert operations at Fort Benning in 1963. He learned all he needed to commit several bombings that are now considered as terrorist events.
Carriles resides in the Miami, Florida area and attends many anti-Castro and Cuba functions.
#19: Oklahoma City
3 men who masterminded the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing of the Federal building were all stationed together at Fort Benning.
- Timothy McVeigh was deployed to fight in the Gulf War.
- Terry Nichols was in the Army for just a short time and received a hardship discharge.
- Michael Fortier agreed to turn evidence on the others and received a reduced sentence. He is now in the witness protection program.
#20: Nearby Columbus, Georgia
For those stationed at Fort Benning, there may be the desire to get out to nearby Columbus. There are many cool things about Columbus, Georgia:
- It is where John Pemberton came up with the recipe for Coca Cola.
- AFLAC Insurance is headquartered in Columbus.
- It is against the law to carve your initials in a tree in Columbus.
- The Riverwalk is a place where you can go whitewater rafting.
- Country’s BBQ is located in an old Greyhound bus depot.
Fort Benning, Georgia is rich in U.S. Army history.
Let’s hear if you were ever stationed there and how you remember it.
I will never forget the old barracks we were stationed in that had roofs that leaked and ghosts. I believe there are all new barracks now.
Share this with others and leave your comments below. Thanks.
Former Army Major (resigned)
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