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Fort Jackson (South Carolina) facts for kids

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United States Army Training Center & Fort Jackson
Columbia, South Carolina
USATC Fort Jackson.png
USATC & Fort Jackson distinctive unit insignia
Coordinates 34°2′21″N 80°49′20″W / 34.03917°N 80.82222°W / 34.03917; -80.82222
Site information
Controlled by U.S. Army
Site history
In use 1917–present
Garrison information
Garrison Chaplain Center and School
Soldier Support Institute
Drill Sergeant School
U.S. Army Basic Training Center of Excellence

Fort Jackson is a United States Army installation, which TRADOC operates on for Basic Combat Training (BCT), and is located within the city of Columbia, South Carolina. This installation is named for Andrew Jackson, a United States Army General and the seventh president of the United States of America (1829–1837) who was born in the border region of North and South Carolina.


Fort Jackson was created in 1917 (as Camp Jackson) as the United States entered World War I. At the conclusion of World War I, Camp Jackson was shut down and the Camp was abandoned 25 April 1922 pursuant to General Orders No. 33, War Department, 27 July 1921. Camp Jackson was reactivated for World War II. At the conclusion of World War II, the post was to have been deactivated by 1950; however, the outbreak of the Korean War caused the post to remain active and it is still functioning in the early 21st Century.

Fort Jackson is the largest and most active Initial Entry Training Center in the U.S. Army, training 50 percent of all soldiers and 60 percent of the women entering the Army each year. Providing the Army with new soldiers is the post's primary mission. 35,000 potential soldiers attend basic training and 8,000 advanced individual training soldiers train at Fort Jackson annually. Soldiers who have trained or worked at Fort Jackson live by the base's motto, "Victory Starts Here." The training is provided by the 165th, 171st, and 193rd Infantry Brigades Monday through Sunday for a ten-week period.

The post has other missions as well. While some military installations have experienced downsizing and closure in past years, Fort Jackson has added several new schools and training institutions since 1995 including the U.S. Army Soldier Support Institute, the Department of Defense Chaplain Center and School, and the National Center for Credibility Assessment, part of the Defense Intelligence Agency. In 2007 the Army consolidated all of its training facilities for Drill Sergeants at Fort Jackson, and in 2009 Command Sergeant Major Teresa King became the first woman to head what is now the sole Drill Sergeant School for the U.S. Army.

Fort Jackson encompasses more than 52,000 acres (210 km2) of land, including 100 ranges and field training sites and more than 1,000 buildings. Soldiers, civilians, retirees and family members make up the Fort Jackson community that continues to grow in numbers and facilities. An additional 10,000 soldiers attend courses at the Soldier Support Institute, Chaplain Center and School and Drill Sergeant School annually. 12,000 military families make Fort Jackson their home. Close to 3,500 civilians are employed at Fort Jackson and 46,000-plus retirees and their families receive services from this base.

On base, visitors can visit the U.S. Army Basic Combat Training Museum, previously known as Fort Jackson Museum when opened in 1974. The museum helps visitors to learn the history of Fort Jackson since created in 1917. Admission into the Combat Training Museum is open Monday through Friday, except for Federal Holidays, and admission is free.

Located in the heart of the midlands region of South Carolina, Fort Jackson was incorporated into the city of Columbia in October 1968 and is midway between New York and Miami. Columbia has direct access to three interstate highways, I-20, I-26 and I-77, and indirect access to two additional interstates within 100 miles (160 km), I-95 and I-85. Average temperatures in the region range from a high of 90+ °F (32 °C) in July to a low of 34 °F (1 °C) in January. Annual rainfall averages around 48 inches (1,200 mm).

The fort has a significant economic impact on the local area. Annual expenditures by Fort Jackson exceed $716.9 million for salaries, utilities, contracts and other services. In addition, over 100,000 family members visit the Midlands area each year to attend basic training graduation activities, using local hotels, restaurants and shopping areas.

In the 1994 film Renaissance Man, starring Danny DeVito, Mark Wahlberg, and Stacey Dash, basic training scenes from the fictional "Fort McClane" were filmed at Fort Jackson.

U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School (USACHCS)

See: Chaplain Corps (United States Army)#Army Chaplain Center and School

U.S. Army Chaplain Museum

See: Chaplain Corps (United States Army)#Museum

United States Army Financial Management School

See: United States Army Financial Management School


Residents are zoned to Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools for elementary school, and Richland County School District Two for secondary school. The DoDEA schools on-post are Pierce Terrace Elementary School (Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 1) and C.C. Pinckney Elementary School (grades 2-6). Students are zoned to Dent Middle School and Richland Northeast High School, which are operated by the school district.

Area tertiary schools include Midlands Technical College and Fort Jackson-based programs of University of South Carolina, Claflin University, and Webster University.

Notable people

  • Ken Berry (1953–1955), dancer, actor, singer, was corporal in the Artillery and Special Services divisions at the close of the Korean War
  • Jim Cook Jr. (2013–2014), New Jersey-based journalist and playwright
  • Jim Croce, singer-songwriter
  • Jason Crow, Army Ranger and member of Congress
  • Desmond Doss, Medal of Honor recipient
  • James C. Dozier (1885–1974), served in Pancho Villa Expedition, WW1 (awarded Medal of Honor) and WW2
  • Leonard Nimoy, actor, writer, film director, poet, musician, and photographer was in the Special Services division and was sergeant over Corporal Ken Berry
  • Joe Plumeri, Chairman & CEO of Willis Group Holdings, and owner of the Trenton Thunder, was in the Army Reserve at Fort Jackson in 1968
  • Geoff Ramsey, film producer, actor, photojournalist served in Kuwait
  • Freddie Stowers (1917), among first recruits to enter training; only African-American to be awarded the Medal of Honor in WW1
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