Fort Benning

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Fort Benning
eponym: Brigadier General Henry L. Benning, CSA, of Columbus GA
Part of Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC)
Forces Command (FORSCOM)
Special Operations Command (USSOCOM)
Columbus, Georgia, Metropolitan Statistical Area
Chattahoochee County, Georgia (93%) & Russell County, Alabama (7%)
182 acres (737 km²)
The Chattahoochee River runs through Fort Benning.
MCoE flag.jpg
Maneuver Center of Excellence
TypeArmy post
Site information
Controlled by United States Army
Site history
BuiltOctober 1918
In use1918 – present
Garrison information
GarrisonUnits and tenant units
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Fort Benning
eponym: Brigadier General Henry L. Benning, CSA, of Columbus GA
Part of Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC)
Forces Command (FORSCOM)
Special Operations Command (USSOCOM)
Columbus, Georgia, Metropolitan Statistical Area
Chattahoochee County, Georgia (93%) & Russell County, Alabama (7%)
182 acres (737 km²)
The Chattahoochee River runs through Fort Benning.
MCoE flag.jpg
Maneuver Center of Excellence
TypeArmy post
Site information
Controlled by United States Army
Site history
BuiltOctober 1918
In use1918 – present
Garrison information
GarrisonUnits and tenant units
Location of Fort Benning in Georgia.

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.[1]


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,[2] until 15 March 1919[3] with about 250 of his Camp Colt, Pennsylvania, tankers who transferred to Benning after the armistice.[4]:72 On 26 December 1918, a portion of the Camp Polk (near Raleigh, North Carolina) tank school was transferred to Camp Benning "to work in conjunction with the Infantry school".[5] Camp Benning tank troops were moved to Camp Meade from 19–21 February 1919.[5]

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.[6] By the fall of 1920, more than 350 officers, 7,000 troops and 650 student officers lived at Camp Benning.[6] 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. Doughboy Stadium was erected as a memorial by soldiers to their fallen comrades of WWI. One of the Doughboys' original coaches was a young captain named Dwight D. Eisenhower.[7] [8][9]

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 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953.[9]

World War II[edit]

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.[10][11] 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.[12] The 82nd Armored Reconnaissance Battalion was activated July 15, 1940 and trained at the Fort.[13][14][15][16] The 17th Armored Engineer Battalion became active and started training 15 July 1940.[17]

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.[18] 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.[19]


Between 1963 and 1964, in Fort Benning, Luis Posada Carriles received CIA training in explosives and sabotage.[20][21]

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.

In 1988 Timothy McVeigh, Terry Nichols and Michael Fortier (the Oklahoma City bombing conspirators) met while in training at Fort Benning.[22]


MCoE DUI.jpg

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![23]

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.[24]

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.[25]

Post Information[edit]

There are four main cantonment areas on Fort Benning: Main Post, Kelley Hill, Sand Hill, and Harmony Church.

Main Post[edit]

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[edit]

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. In 1970 the 197th infantry brigade, 31st infantry battalion was on Kelley Hill.

Sand Hill[edit]

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[edit]

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.

Command Group[edit]

MCoE shoulder patch.jpg

Current Command[26]

Units and Tenant Units[edit]

MCoE Seal.jpg


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,[38] formerly located at Fort Knox, Kentucky, with the Infantry Center and School.[39] This transformation was completed September 2011.[40][41]

In popular culture[edit]


Many movies and a number of documentary films have been filmed at Fort Benning. Among the notable ones:



Video games[edit]


Song: Fort Benning Blues
Album: Steel Guitar Rag
Artist: Jimmie Tarlton
Year: 2009[45]

See also[edit]

17th Armored Engineer Battalion


  1. ^ Maneuver Center of Excellence
  2. ^
  3. ^'s_Military_Career.html
  4. ^ Perret, Geoffrey. Eisenhower (Google Books). Retrieved 2011-01-21. 
  5. ^ a b 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. Retrieved 2011-01-17.
  6. ^ a b Kane, Sharyn (May 2003). Fort Benning: The Land and the People. p. 172. 
  7. ^ Ninke, Joshua. "Doughboys to honor veterans at Doughboy Stadium". Retrieved 3 September 2013. 
  8. ^ "Fort Benning Historic Trail". Doughboy Stadium. Retrieved 3 September 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Kane, Sharyn (May 2003). Fort Benning: The Land and the People. pp. 173–174. 
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ 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. 
  12. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. ^ "82nd Recon History". 
  14. ^ After action report 82nd Armored Recon Battalion, 2nd Armored Division, June 44 thru May 45.
  15. ^ 2nd US Armored Division "Hell on Wheels"
  16. ^ "Hell On Wheels"
  17. ^ American Armored Divisions 1941-1945
  18. ^ Maneuver and Firepower, Chapter 11
  19. ^ Rubinstein, Wain (June 1969). Scout Dogs "Enemy's Worst Enemy...". Danger Forward. Retrieved 2009-06-17. 
  20. ^ House Select Committee on Assassinations, LUIS POSADA CARRILES, ca. 1978
  21. ^ Candiotti, Susan (18 May 2005). "Alleged anti-Castro terrorist Posada arrested". CNN. Archived from the original on 2 June 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-22. 
  22. ^ "The Oklahoma Bombing Conspirators". University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  23. ^ Fort Benning & MCoE Mission
  24. ^ Infantry School Mission
  25. ^ Armor School Mission
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^ [1]
  33. ^
  34. ^ [2]
  35. ^ [3]
  36. ^ Mr. George W. Steuber
  37. ^
  38. ^ Final units depart Fort Knox
  39. ^ Infantry & Armor linked under new command
  40. ^ Fort Benning BRAC-related Growth Update
  41. ^ Kentucky Living Magazine
  42. ^
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 32°21′58″N 84°58′09″W / 32.36611°N 84.96917°W / 32.36611; -84.96917