The following history of Fort Jackson was prepared in 1967 in recognition of Fort Jackson’s 50th anniversary. It covers the history of Fort Jackson from 1917 to 1967.
History Chapter 1: 1917, the beginning
Construction and Establishment
A cold January rain fell as a group of military and civilian planners mounted a sand knoll overlooking vast acres of pineland in the Congaree Sandhills, six miles east of Columbia, South Carolina.
These planners were on a mission of prime importance to the War Department: evaluation of a site for establishment of a training center for the US Army. The chosen area was in gently rolling terrain, containing lakes and swamps, overgrown with blackjack oak and loblolly pine, with sandy but firm soil. The porous soil did not change into mud after heavy rain, but rather absorbed the water and remained solid. The climate was ideal for year-round training.
A Site Is Chosen
In 1916 the civic leaders of Columbia realized that war with the Central Powers in Europe was imminent, and that the country badly needed new, large training camps. The Chamber of Commerce leaders proposed to General Leonard Wood of New York, commander of all Army installations in the East, that the vast Estate of South Carolina great Wade Hampton would be an ideal site for a training camp. 1 reply, General Wood sent Major Charles E. Kilbourne to examine the site.
On 19 May 1917, Major Douglas MacArthur announced that one of the 16 National cantonments would be constructed near Columbia, South Carolina .
The Columbia Chamber of Commerce appointed a Cantonment Commission that solicited funds from town fathers and quickly raised the $59,000 asked by the Hampton Estate to turn the property over to the government. Columbia residents donated 1,192 acres; the Federal Government later acquired by purchase some 19,742 acres more, and by lease still other thousands.
On 2 June 1917, Congressional approval of a plan to place a training center on the site Major Kilbourne had investigated was secured by the War Department. Three days later the men of the nation registered for the draft.
The War Department took bids from several contracting companies to build an Army camp on the selected site, and the contract was awarded on 11 June 1917 to the Hardaway Contracting Company of Columbus, Georgia . The contract to build the sixth National Army Cantonment at Columbia was written on a “cost-plus” basis, and neither the contractor nor anyone in the government, in their wildest estimates, came close to the actual ten million dollar cost of that contract.
Work progressed haltingly in the first few days as there was no adequate labor supply in Columbia . Estimates for the required material had been made in Washington where blueprints were being prepared, but there was no actual material on the site of the future Army Post.
There were no roads or trails, and in places the site was so thickly overgrown that a man on horseback could not proceed. Yet in two months and one week, the first thousands of draftees were scheduled to arrive for training.
On the job came two men who were to develop a camp out of the wilderness. One was Henry B. Crawford of Columbus, Georgia, Hardaway’s general superintendent. The other was Major William Couper, the Army’s Constructing Quartermaster, who arrived on 17 June l9l7.
Company E, 1st Regiment, South Carolina Infantry, (110 men) arrived on 22 June 1917 as camp guard. A camp site for these soldiers was selected on the hillside to the east of Wild Cat Road, or on the opposite side of the road from the Negro camp, near the trestle. Captain Walker was in command.
From the outset the building program was held back by shortages of materials and labor difficulties due to the remoteness of Columbia from any manufacturing center.
By 27 June the labor force had increased from 10 to 756; on 30 June It was over 1,200, and the first two barracks were completed. By 26 August 1917, there were 9,592 men on the job, with the average wage per man per day being $3.34.
Major William Couper, Constructing Quartermaster for Camp Jackson, found that there were some condemned National Guard tents in the armory at Columbia which might be used for housing the Negro workers. Inquiry showed that these tents were under the jurisdiction of the Southeastern Department, and Major Couper telegraphed to Charleston for authority to take over the tents. Upon arrival at the armory on 19 June 1917 to get the tents, Captain Moore, who was in charge was told that the tents had been condemned and under law must he destroyed, and that they could, therefore, not be turned over for use at the Army cantonment. Major Couper telephoned Major Kilbourne, an old friend and Chief of Staff to General Leonard Wood, at Charleston, and asked him what was the proper procedure in such asinine cases during war time. Major Kilbourne replied with a question: “Why don’t you seize them in the name of the Government?” Accordingly, Major Couper gave Major Glenn, the National Guard Officer who had the tents in custody, a receipt for them on the usual invoice. The tents accommodated about 1,400 men, and although they were very old, were sufficiently serviceable for the needed purpose. Major Couper had the tents taken out to the extreme south end of the camp and set up the Negro camp. Laborers were paid $1.75 per day, and no charge was made for lodging as they were quartered in government tents. Negro laborers prepared their own food, that being the custom of the section at that time, from materials obtained at the camp commissary.
Good Community Relations Begin
Mr. Edwin W. Robertson, Chairman of the City of Columbia Cantonment Committee, who had been instrumental in having the cantonment located at Columbia, was most helpful to Major William Couper, the Contracting Quarter master. Typical of this was in June 1917, when no telephone switchboard was available for the camp, Mr. Robertson gave up the switchboard he had just received for use in his bank until such time as the Army could get another.
Three companies of the 1st S. C. Infantry (NG) reported for guard duty at the cantonment on 12 July 1917 as follows:
Company F 105 men in command of Lieutenant Schwing
Company G 94 men in command of Captain Parks
Company H 122 men in command of Captain McFadden
According to “Instructions to Constructing Quartermaster,” 18 June 1917, the cantonment at Columbia had to provide for the following:
- One Infantry Division
- 35,992 Men
- 10,500 Animals
In addition thereto:
- One Aero Squadron: 173 Men
- One Telegraph Battalion: 225 Men
- One Balloon Company: 101 Men
- One Regiment of heavy horse-drawn Artillery
- 1,372 Men
- 1,494 Animals
- One Infantry Regiment
- 2,784 Men
- 297 Animals
In Total: 40,647 Men and 12,274 Animals
General view of the camp, tents in foreground, unfinished wooden barracks in background — June 1918.
Camp Guard Arrives
Designated Camp Jackson
Camp Jackson, South Carolina, was established and named in July 1917 as a World War I training camp pursuant to General Orders No. 95, War Department, 18 July 1917. It was named in honor of Andrew Jackson, Major General of the Army, a hero in the Battle of New Orleans, and the seventh President of the United States (from 1829 to 1837). Prior to this time it was known as the 6th National Army Cantonment, or “The Cantonment.”
On 11 August 1917 the War Department authorized the construction of a Post Exchange to be ready for the first troops to arrive. By midmonth the Columbia City Trolley Company had its new line to Camp Jackson open and operating; the fare was five cents each way. Hundreds of buildings were up, the new streets were graded, and water and sewer lines were started. By 20 August construction had proceeded sufficiently to allow the entrance of the 2d Regiment of the South Carolina National Guard. This group of semi-trained personnel made ready to receive and train the draftees.
Brigadier General Charles H. Barth assumed command on 25 August 1917. On 26 August fire struck the cantonment. Uncontrollable, due to the scarcity of water, the fire raged across 85 acres unchecked. Some building supplies were lost, but none of the new barracks were touched.
The labor force recruited throughout the country by the train load hit its all-time peak on 28 August 1917 when 10,585 men lived and worked here. Twelve hundred new officers from a training camp in Georgia arrived here on 29 August to await the arrival of troops. The first draftees arrived at Camp Jackson on 5 September 1917.
As the camp filled and training progressed, the original group of South Carolina National Guard, who had performed guard and security work before the draftees arrived, was moved to Camp Sevier in Greenville, South Carolina, and incorporated into the 30th “Old Hickory” Division. When the draftees arrived on 5 September, they were fewer in number than had been expected due to the last minute postponement of orders sending Negro troops to the camp.
Early in October the first Negro draftees arrived at Camp Jackson and the troop population reached 15,305, while over 8,000 workmen still labored to house them. With time pressing for the equipment and training of men to send over seas to fight the Germans in World War I, the War Department launched a huge construction program at Camp Jackson.
81st Division Organized
The famous 81st “Wildcat” Division was organized here on 25 August 1917. By 17 September, Camp Jackson’s first Post Commander and Commanding General of the 81st, Brigadier General Charles H. Barth, moved his Division into permanent quarters. During the month more than 8,000 draftees arrived to fill the Division’s ranks. Later the Division’s infantry went to Camp Sevier, Greenville, South Carolina, before going overseas, where its members saw action in the Lorraine and Meuse-Argonne Campaigns. The “Wildcat” artillery remained at Jackson until going to Europe.
A military uniform tradition was established at Camp Jackson by the 81st Division. Men of this unit, training on the southeast corner of the reservation near Wildcat Creek, began to wear crude cloth emblems of wildcat heads on their sleeves. The emblem was designed by Corporal Dan Silverman of Company I, 321st Infantry Regiment. As the 81st “Wildcat” Division joined the American Expeditionary Force in France in August 1918, this custom found wide popularity and eventually these unique unit identification patches were worn throughout the Army.
One of the largest structures in the new camp was the Remount Station with accommodations for thousands of mules and horses. On 12 November approximately 800 of these animals stampeded at the remount corral and destroyed much of the work in progress, as well as numbers of themselves.
In the presence of the Commanding General of Camp Jackson, Major General Charles J. Bailey and staff, a number of distinguished visitors and thousands of soldiers and civilians, an impressive military ceremony took place on 1 November 1917 when for the first time the Stars and Stripes were unfurled to the breeze from the top of a white flagpole in front of the 81st Division headquarters .
On 21 November with 17,343 draftees to be trained, the contractor turned over the first portion of the completed camp to Army authorities, but millions of dollars worth of work was still to be done.
Camp Jackson had a cantonment capacity of 44,009 persons; 1,554 buildings, with a camp area of 2,737 acres, and 12,804 acres for the total reservation.
Just before Christmas of that year the contractor, Hardaway, turned over the entire camp to the Army, although he left behind hundreds of men to perform maintenance and repairs until the military engineers could take things in hand.
In six months time, Hardaway had built a city of 1,519 buildings, including theaters, stores, kitchens, barracks, officers’ quarters, training facilities, stables, warehouses, garages, an airfield, roads, bridges, railroads, a reservoir and water lines, sewers, wells, heating plants, and a laundry. He also drained the dismal and dangerous Gill Creek Swamp that covered approximately 200 acres of the area.
As of 31 December 1917, there were 1,501 officers and 40,997 other ranks, or a total military strength of 42,498 in Camp Jackson.
An audit was completed in January 1918 which showed that a total of $8,897,375 had been spent on Camp Jackson, without counting the monies paid to road-building, electric and plumbing sub-contractors. The space left for the cost of each project was left blank on the completion reports. It was impossible to determine the cost of any individual project because of the system of cost accounting used, as the system showed only the total cost of the entire project, and not the cost of any individual building under subject authorization.
Base Hospital Opened
On 22 October 1917, Camp Jackson’s first Base Hospital was opened. In this medical complex, more than 80 buildings covered 12 to 15 acres of land at the highest point of the cantonment. Although plans called for 32 wards to be constructed at the hospital, only six of these were ready for use during the initial days of operation.
The first commander of the facility was Major Thomas J. Leary, who was previously in command of the Base Hospital at Colon, Panama. Between these two commands, he served for a short time as Sanitary Inspector of the South eastern Division.
The working force at the Base Hospital at this time consisted of about 450 men and nurses. Fifty doctors and dentists were assigned to the group, and this number was considered adequate for the treatment of 1,000 patients, the capacity of the hospital when all the wards were completed.
Before the facility was opened, medical treatment for those who had minor ills was conducted at a field hospital. Those patients who were seriously sick and those requiring major operations, however, were treated at the Baptist Hospital in Columbia, South Carolina.
From the beginning medical personnel at the Base Hospital were con fronted with epidemics. Four days after the opening of the hospital, 60 persons became bed patients with the measles. This outbreak was coupled with a rash of pneumonia cases, and the resulting death rate was so high that Camp Jackson’s first cemetery had to be built.
On 21 November 1917, a third epidemic broke out — meningitis. By 11 December 12 persons had died from the disease and the Camp’s labor force, fearful of being infected, deserted the reservation en masse. Threatened by a total shutdown, troops from the training units worked tirelessly in subfreezing temperatures and snow to finish those jobs that had to be completed.
Relations between Camp Jackson and Columbia went from bad to worse as the meningitis spread. City newspapers pleaded for absolute quarantine of the reservation, but to no avail, for such a measure was nearly impossible to enforce.
During the meningitis scourge, Major Stewart S. Roberts, a doctor who was commissioned 5 November 1917, was assigned to the Camp to assist in the epidemic. On 26 January 1918, he became the Commanding Officer of the Base Hospital.
One of the outstanding features of Camp Jackson was Jackson Circle. All of the civic buildings, with the exception of the Red Cross buildings located in the Hospital area, were built around this little park. Directions had been received to keep a site for non-military buildings. Major William Couper, Constructing Quartermaster in charge of building Camp Jackson, conceived the establishment of a circle around which such buildings could be grouped.
Before clearing the spot it was a dense forest. The road was laid out as an exact circle, but was then changed on the ground so as to save all the larger trees. Grouped around the circle were the Knights of Columbus Hall; the house occupied by the postal clerks; the YWCA Hostess house; the YMCA Administration Building and YMCA Auditorium, with a seating capacity of 3,000; the Christian Science Building; and the Liberty Theatre. A bandstand was constructed in the center of Jackson Circle and concerts were held at intervals. Both the Telegraph and Telephone Building and the Post Office were located on the Boulevard off Jackson Circle.
The theatre would seat about 3,000 people. There were very few posts as the roof was supported by heavy trusses. The brick walls in front of the walk—up were made of surplus brick from other construction and backfilling was placed so as to prevent the necessity of using steps at the entrance – a serious fire risk. It was located on Jackson Circle and the Main Boulevard. So far as it is known, the Liberty Theatre was the only cantonment theatre which had no steps at the entrance.
United States Army Reception Station
During this period, men arriving at Camp Jackson were assigned directly to a division for training and retention. Division personnel accomplished the mission now being done by the United States Army Reception Station. This method of receiving personnel into the Army proved satisfactory during that period, for the technical skills required by the Army were few in number. Little thought was given to benefits for the individual soldier or to methods to ease his life.
Construction of this vast military installation, which housed more than 20,000 men and over 7,000 animals, was completed by 17 January 1918, a period of less than eight months. To complete initial construction of the cantonment, it was necessary to drain two swamps, of which Gill Creek was the larger. Other notable construction was a huge sewage system of 84,500 linear feet of pipe, and a hospital.
Training was the need of the hour in 1917, and throughout its history, Fort Jackson has provided just that. Carrier pigeons, war dogs, balloon and aircraft pilots, paratroopers, artillerymen, cavalrymen and infantrymen – all received some of their military training at Fort Jackson.
In January 1918, Camp Jackson had the distinction of having the largest government-operated laundry in the country. The laundry was in a large airy building 300×167 feet. The pigeon-hole system of a regular post office system was used to keep the pieces of laundry separated. The very efficient laundry was operated under the control of Captain Robert T. Marye and superintendent E. M. Miller of Baltimore. Obtaining the proper force of employment was most difficult, complicated by the fact that the laundry was in an armed camp, where there were few civilians. The employees, about 115 in all, were nearly all drawn from points outside the State.
Constructing Quartermaster (QM) Arrives
On 22 February 1918, Major Wm. H. Supplee, Q.M.C., reported to this Camp as Constructing Quartermaster, with instructions to take over from the Camp Quartermaster all uncompleted work and to construct such additional work as was authorized. He was met by Mr. Harry F. Hann, the approved contractor for the additional work at Camp Jackson.
On 7 March, Captain Jos. C. Brown, Q.M.O., reported to Major Supplee as Assistant Constructing Quartermaster. Captain Brown was appointed Property Officer, having also general supervision of all construction work in the field. Major Supplee’s administration was from February to October 1918. He was succeeded by Major Walter M. Crunden, Q.M.C., whose administration was for about six weeks, when he was succeeded by Captain Jos. C. Brown, Q.M.C. The first work done at this camp by Harry F. Hann was the construction of 12 two-story Ward Barracks Buildings in the Base Hospital area. This work was completed in record time.
The camp site and vicinity had been practically all cleared originally for construction so it was not necessary to do any clearing or unusual grading, and there was little difficulty in starting the various projects which were authorized. There had been authorized during this time 107 projects, each one carrying on an average of five different units of work. There were built during this time approximately 550 buildings of the typical cantonment- type construction.
Every precaution was taken to protect the workmen from accident and sickness. Taking into consideration the number of men employed, it was remarkable that there was at no time a fatal accident to a man on the job. On 11 May 1918, an order was issued establishing the artillery training and replacement camp at Camp Jackson. This order directed a headquarters and a minimum of 12 training battalions and prescribed that “all field officers (staff corps excepted) being from the regular Army.” Later this arrangement was discontinued and the artillery training areas were moved to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and Camp Bragg, North Carolina.
From February to October 1918 there was a daily average of about 1,683 men working. During the month of October the construction work was greatly increased by the authorization of extension of hospital facilities and a motor school, and extensive improvements to the water system. After this, there were approximately 3,133 men employed daily on the job up to the signing of the Armistice, when all construction was discontinued, with the exception of some permanent construction underway at the time, namely, the roads and extension of the water system.
One trenching machine, about 15 small concrete mixers, two power threading machines, and eight power cut-off saws were the only items of power-operated equipment used during this construction.
There were from 716 to 4,200 men employed daily on construction work from 22 February 1918 to 1 April 1919. At the time Major Crunden assumed the duties of Constructing Quartermaster 5 October 1918, the personnel of the commissioned staff increased from one to eight officers.
Hospital Handles Impossible Task
Prior to 1 June 1918, the Base Hospital staff treated more than 245 cases of meningitis, 1,200 cases of measles, and a high number of pneumonia victims. How the hospital force coped with these epidemics was amazing considering they were also responsible for performing many surgical procedures, the training of incoming Medical Officers, and the examination of recruits.
On 1 July 1918, a Red Cross House was officially opened under the super vision of Field Director G. P. Shingler. This organization played an important role in entertaining hospitalized persons in the various wards, as well as those patients who were able to visit the Red Cross building.
As the summer of 1918 passed by, the hospital’s physical plant continued to expand at a rapid pace, and the facility grew in staff. On 1 August 1918, Miss Mary C. McKenna became the Chief Nurse of the entire complex, and besides her other important duties, took charge of the Camp Jackson Unit of the Army School of Nursing.
In mid-September another disease struck the Camp in epidemic proportions. With no warning, 200 persons fell ill with influenza and were admitted to the Base Hospital. Soon, hundreds more became infected and the hospital was over flowing with men too ill to stand.
To properly care for the influenza patients an entire new section of the Camp had to be taken over for hospital purposes. By the time the plague of influenza ran its course, more than 5,000 persons had been treated and 300 had died from the disease.
Puerto Rican Laborers Arrive
On 27 October 1918, the Constructing Quartermaster received instructions from the Labor Bureau in Washington, D.C., that he would be furnished 1,769 Puerto Rican laborers, expected to arrive about November 7th. The contractor, to get the necessary bunk houses, mess halls, bath houses, etc., built and equipped for these men, had to take the majority of his force off regular construction work and concentrate on what was then known as the Puerto Rican area. This enabled him within five days to construct and equip with necessary water and electric light service 18 bunk houses 24×120 feet, accommodating 50 men each; four bath houses, and four latrines. These Puerto Ricans disembarked at Charleston, South Carolina, and were transferred to Camp Jackson by trains. Because they understood no English, it was very difficult to get them segregated into working gangs.
Shortly after the Puerto Ricans arrived, there was another severe epidemic of influenza in Camp Jackson. As a result, many of them died.
On the signing of the Armistice and the discontinuance of construction work, the Puerto Ricans were ordered returned to Puerto Rico, and 875 men were shipped on 12 December 1918, and 517 shipped on 12 January 1919. The only ones left at Camp Jackson were the ones in the hospital still suffering from the effects of influenza and pneumonia. Most of these recovered and were employed as common laborers, but six or eight were still in the hospital on 10 April 1919.
Tragedy Strikes Again
Tragedy struck Camp Jackson again. At 0730 hours the morning of 10 May 1918, three cars of a troop train left the tracks as it started across the trestle where the railroad entered Camp Jackson. Troops aboard were portions of the 81st Division being transferred to Camp Sevier near Greenville, South Carolina. There were nine soldiers killed and about 40 more injured in the accident.
5th Division Moves In
When the “Wildcat” Division departed Camp Jackson on 18 May 1918, the 5th Division moved in. Additionally, Camp Jackson was designated as the Army’s Field Artillery Replacement Depot. Commanded by Major General Robert M. Danford, the Depot, with other units — a balloon training unit, air corps units, bakers school, etc. — brought the total men on the reservation at one time to 58,704.
Tentative plans to expand the Camp into a section known as “North Camp Jackson” were halted with the signing of the Armistice in November 1918, and in May 1919, the 30th Division came home and was deactivated here.
Armistice Brings Changes
The signing of the Armistice brought changes to the Base Hospital, for this marked the beginning of awareness for many that civilian life was not far away. For Lieutenant Colonel Roberts, the Base Hospital Commander, civilian life quickly became a reality. On 4 December he left the Army, and was replaced, on a temporary basis, by Major Wallace Ralston of the hospital staff. On 29 December, Colonel H A. Webber assumed command of the facility.
Starting in late December, sick and wounded soldiers from overseas arrived at the Base Hospital for treatment. Such outfits as the 1st, 2d, 3d, 4th, Iron, Old Hickory, Wildcat, Rainbow, Yankee, and Dixie Divisions were well represented in these numbers.
To aid the many patients who were returning to civilian life, the hospital added the Educational, Vocational Training, and Reconstruction Departments to its plant in early 1919. These Departments not only gave the soldier the occupational training he needed, but also accomplished wonders in cheering and encouraging him for the days ahead.
National Cantonments Study
Major George Gibbs, QMC, Office of The Director of Operations, Construction Division, War Department, prepared a study on 5 January 1920 of the relative physical value of the National Army Cantonments. The study was made so that the War Department would know which to abandon and which to keep. It was based on climate, drainage, sanitation, and accommodations, with the highest possible score of 230. Camp Jackson placed second to Camp Lewis, Tacoma, Washington (217) with a score of 206. The table, of course, was not made use of and decisions were based on other, perhaps political, considerations.
Demobilization During 1919-1921
The 5th Infantry Division trained at Camp Jackson until 4 October 1921, when it was deactivated. With this, an unaccustomed silence fell over the sand hills and pines of Camp Jackson. Nearly 2,000 buildings, including bar racks, officers’ quarters, storehouses, base hospital wards, headquarters, firehouses, exchanges and ammunition depots were sold to a wrecking company to be destroyed.
The years 1919-21 were a time of general demobilization for Camp Jackson. The Great War was over, and the Camp’s mission had been fulfilled. Gradually, the familiar faces of officers and training cadre, of devoted doctors, nurses, and attendants faded from Camp Jackson, and only nostalgic memories remained.
The leased land reverted to its owners and the original land contributed by the citizens of Columbia was returned to a Cantonment Lands Commission for educational, recreational and industrial use, subject to recapture. The American Legion established its hut on the site. The Boy Scouts established Camp Barstov on Camp Jackson property. The Girl Scouts set up another camp. The YMCA maintained a summer camp, as did the YWCA. The Camp Jackson golf course was a favorite with numerous links enthusiasts in this section of the state.
Camp Jackson Abandoned
The Camp was abandoned 25 April 1922 pursuant to General Orders No. 33, War Department, 27 July 1921. The Camp Jackson roads, lacking maintenance, disintegrated, and the area grew up in pine and scrub oaks.
The wrecking company was still at work tearing out sewer and water lines when, in 1925, the War Department decided to use the Post again as a training camp for the South Carolina National Guard. One-half of the reservation was handed over to South Carolina under a revocable license and the state authorities moved in to replace sewer and water lines, and to reconstruct buildings. Thereafter, the Post was in increasing use for National Guard training.
Camp Jackson was abandoned as a regular Army reservation, but during the period 1925-1939 was used as a summer encampment by the National Guard. The Base Hospital fell into nonexistence, and the only medical facility available on the site was a small infirmary that was utilized when the National Guard trained. Once again, as before the old Base Hospital was built, Guardsmen who were seriously ill and required surgery had to be treated in civilian hospitals in Columbia.
Soon, however, National Guardsmen were coming from practically every state in the IV Corps area for two-week training periods. Certain buildings were constructed and improvements made by the National Guard Bureau through the Adjutant General of South Carolina, General James C Dozier; but for the rest of the year, Camp Jackson’s 23,000 acres remained practically deserted.
History Chapter 2: 1939-1949
The Middle Years
In November 1939, two years before Pearl Harbor, the United States began enlarging its military installations as the “Blitzkrieg” swept across Europe . Suddenly, Camp Jackson was activated again as the streamlined 6th Division of the Regular Army was ordered to duty in October 1939, only one month after the outbreak of war between Britain and Germany.
This Division, made up of units gathered from smaller posts all over the country, was commanded by Brigadier General Clement A. Trott. The Division remained for five months of training and field maneuvers.
New barracks, mess halls, and kitchens were constructed at a cost of some $300,000, supplementing the National Guard facilities already available. The 6th Division moved out in April 1940 to participate in the IV Corps area and Third Army maneuvers, after which the Division was ordered to Fort Snelling, Minnesota .
Great Expansion Begun
In December 1939, two months after the reservation was turned over to the Regular Army, construction was started by the Corps Area Engineer on the first buildings of a revamped hospital facility. The cost of this venture was $133,000.
In May 1940, all the Medical Department Officers who were on temporary assignment at Camp Jackson had to return to their permanent stations, and the hospital was closed for a short time. However, on 1 July 1940, Colonel Thomas E. Scott arrived and took over as the Post Surgeon and Commanding Officer of the hospital.
The hospital was officially opened under the name of Station Hospital on 8 August 1940, at which time five wards were receiving patients. Other parts of the hospital in operation at this time included a clinic building, a mess hail, a hospital administration building, one set of nurses’ quarters, and two medical supply warehouses.
In the summer and fall of 1940, things began breaking with almost unbelievable rapidity around Camp Jackson as the Army expansion program began in earnest. The site area was expanded to approximately 53,000 acres. In accordance with studies made during the 6th Division’s stay at the Post, and through one of the War Department’s first mass condemnation proceedings, 977 of the land was acquired without contest.
To facilitate construction of the 8th Division’s headquarters and housing, the original Columbia Cantonment Commission lands were redonated to the War Department for the cost of improvements erected on them by the American Legion, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, YMCA, YWCA, National Youth Administration (which had established a resident training center at the camp) and other agencies.
At this time, Camp Jackson acquired most of the ponds which are an important feature today of its recreational and training program. These areas previously had been developed as recreational areas for the City of Columbia in the interval between the wars.
The Post Exchange
Historical records are not available from 11 August 1917, when the first Post Exchange was authorized, to the middle of 1940.
The Post Exchange again began its service to the military at Camp Jackson during the summer of 1940. From a very humble beginning in tents and floor- less cabins and with a mission to provide articles of ordinary use, wear and consumption not supplied by the Government for the 8th Infantry Division, stores were opened through the use of unit funds. Through the sale of these items, earnings were to be generated to supplement appropriated funds for the support of welfare and recreation programs for the troops.
Funds to finance the next Exchange were eventually obtained from the Army Exchange Service. Its operation became a part of the Special Services Division and remained under its direction until one year after the National Security Act of 1947, at which time it was designated the Army and Air Force Exchange Service and a separate entity within the Department of Defense. Colonels Tomey and Rouffy were the first two Exchange Officers, and they were supported by an all-male workforce. During 1942, with draft requirements reducing the number of available male personnel, women were employed and have remained as an integral part of the present workforce.
8th Division Reactivated
On 1 July 1940, the triangular, streamlined 8th (Pathfinder) Division was reactivated at Jackson . This Division consisted mainly of the 13th, 28th and 34th Infantry Regiments and the 28th and 83d Field Artillery Battalions. The mission of the Division was to train enlistees and selectees to be skilled soldiers and to be in subsequent readiness for the role of replacements in a combat unit.
Commanding this Division was Major General Philip B. Peyton, who was instrumental in initiating the construction of the largest small-arms target range in the United States . Two and a half million dollars were allocated for the immediate building program to erect semi-permanent buildings on Post.
Camp Jackson Becomes Fort Jackson
On 9 July 1940, General George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff, wrote James F. Byrnes, then senior United States Senator from South Carolina, notifying him that Camp Jackson had been designated as the home station of the 8th Division, Regular Army, and that the Station would be placed on a permanent basis. Later, on 15 August 1940, Camp Jackson reverted to Federal control, and General Order No. 7, changing the status of Camp Jackson, was issued. The order read:
Announcing a permanent military post at Camp Jackson . The reservation, known as Camp Jackson, will hereafter be known as Fort Jackson, with post office address Fort Jackson, S C.
Signed/GEORGE C. MARSHALL, Chief of Staff By Order of the Secretary of War
The J. A Jones Construction Company of Charlotte, North Carolina, was awarded its first contract of more than $2,000,000 for construction of troop housing facilities and other buildings on Post. During August, Fort Jackson became the site for one of the largest construction projects ever undertaken in the Southeast. Over 100 miles of surfaced and reconditioned roads were carved into the sand.
What’s In a Street Name?
In the case of streets and roads at Fort Jackson, the names of South Carolina ’s most notable military heroes are kept alive. And with them are the names of well-known US Army divisions which have trained here. In fact, the streets which sprawl across this sandy Post are marked by the names of South Carolina generals from the days of the American Revolution through the Civil War.
Few school children have not heard the name of Francis Marion, “The Swamp Fox,” whose men plagued and eluded the British forces during the Revolutionary War. One of the Fort’s main thoroughfares, Marion Avenue, bears his name.
And anyone can count on the fingers of one hand the South Carolinians who do not know of General Wade Hampton of Columbia, who sacrificed his services and personal wealth for the cause of the Confederacy. His name adorns a broad parkway here.
Chesnut Road is named in honor of Brigadier General James Chesnut of South Carolina, an aide-de-camp to Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
Several streets are named for South Carolinians who were awarded the Medal of Honor, either in World War I, World War II or the Korean conflict. Forest Street, for example, is named for Sergeant Gary Forest of Inman, South Carolina, a Medal of Honor winner in World War I. Several roads in the outer fringe areas were renamed after famous divisions which have been stationed at this infantry training center. A new road connecting TRAINFIRE Ranges 1 through 15 – running parallel to Dixie Road – is known as Old Hickory Road, in honor of the 30th Infantry Division of the same name.
The 108th Division (USAR) – with units in North and South Carolina training annually at Fort Jackson – is commemorated by its insignia: “Golden Griffon” Road winds its way through towering pines among the mortar ranges.
Later, the Old Camden Road leading out to the TRAINFIRE Ranges was re named Dixie Road in honor of the 31st Infantry Division (which trained here in early 1950).
Fort Jackson Expands
By September 1940, the 8th Division was growing steadily, and construction was speeding ahead with the award of two more building contracts of about $5,000,000 to the Jones Company. More than 2,000 buildings and 6,000 tent frames replaced National Guard training facilities. A water filtration plant processing daily six million gallons was built; also, a sewage disposal plant; a 3,000-bed, mile—long hospital; new rail lines; grading, soil erosion and landscaping projects – all resulted from this renewal of the installation.
On 16 September 1940, 1,623 South Carolina Army Guardsmen began pouring into armories across the State on their way to Fort Jackson, for what they believed would be a one-year stay. Most of them were in the 118th Infantry Regiment, a part of the four—state 30th “Old Hickory” Division, which included men from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee . The early arrivals of the 30th Division at Fort Jackson were under the command of Brigadier General Trelawney E. Marchant of Lexington and Columbia .
The training program for the troops and the building program for the Post itself continued to gain impetus. A $2,500,000 construction program of buildings was started. New tent houses and barracks popped up overnight. The Army and the South Carolina Highway Department got together on the road situation and new paved roads began replacing old dirt ones. Telephone and power cables were being laid.
Volunteers for enlistment in both the 8th and the 30th Divisions swelled their strengths constantly. The Post Golf Course vanished – buried beneath row on row of new barracks for the soldiers. The military reservation itself was suddenly more than doubled when the Army, in order to provide training facilities for a minimum of 43,000 soldiers, took title to approximately 30,000 acres of land bordering the old 23,000-acre reservation.
Meanwhile, in Columbia, there had been set up the headquarters of the I Corps, Command Post for both the 8th and 30th Divisions at Fort Jackson, the 9th Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and special corps troops at both Posts. The first commander of this organization was Major General Walter C. Short; on 30 December 1940 he was ordered to the Hawaiian Department, and was replaced by General Peyton.
Likewise, in Columbia at the municipal airport, the 105th Observation Squadron, National Guard unit from Nashville, Tennessee, arrived on 24 September 1940 for a year of active duty. It was a corps aviation outfit training in conjunction with ground troops at the Fort.
In November 1940, a spacious new Post Office Building was completed on Post for the use of the officers and men stationed at Fort Jackson . It was manned by one officer, Lieutenant Ross H. Porter, Postal Officer; 18 enlisted men from the Station Complement; Mr. Clyde H. Trapp, Superintendent, and 10 to 12 civil service employees.
Although in use for about two months, in January 1941 the Post Office was still under control of the Post Construction Quartermaster, awaiting approval before being turned over to the postal officials.
On 31 December 1940, the 30th Division’s strength stood at 11,900 officers and men, approximately 400 short of the authorized peace-time strength of 12,300, attainment of which was sought before the first draftees reached the Division. The draft was expected to bring the strength up to 18,000 officers and men, with the greater part of 6,000 selected from the two Carolinas, Georgia, and Tennessee to be added to the Division in January 1941. By January 1941, women were working at Fort Jackson as clerks and stenographers for the first time. Shortly afterward more were hired as switch board operators on a 30-day trial period.
In January 1941, Fort Jackson ’s assignment center for the placing of selected from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee went into high gear. Over a weekend period, 2,177 new recruits reported to the center for assignment to the 30th Infantry Division. During this period construction was taking place on the new $250,000 Reception Center . On 17 September 1941 all 18 buildings of the center were ready with the exception of a few additions or modifications. The new center was one of the finest at any Army Post. Included in this group of buildings were 11 bar racks, one recreation hall, one officers’ quarters, one mess hall, one infirmary, one supply warehouse, one processing building and one administration building.
Many of the requirements the Reception Center fulfilled in its processing of inductees had been unheard of prior to mobilization. Allowances for dependents were established, an adequate insurance program was inaugurated and a more complete record system was put into effect for all men in uniform.
During the next two years the Reception Center filled several Divisions, among them the 6th, 8th, 30th, 77th, 4th, 87th, and 100th. At the height of induction, a backlog of personnel developed. Men being drafted were sent home for seven days after completing their processing to await a space in one of the training activities. This backlog grew larger and by late 1942 men were given as much as three weeks’ leave after induction. During this period the Reception Center worked at full speed to keep the inducted manpower moving into the stream.
The original 1940 construction program for Fort Jackson of $11,000,000 neared completion 4 January 1941 as Army officials and constructors finished a housing program designed to provide quarters and facilities for 23,000 officers and men stationed at the Post and for additional expected soldiers. The vast construction program had been launched on 29 July 1940 under the supervision of the local constructing quartermaster. More than 1,000 buildings were constructed by January 1941, in addition to 6,000 tent frames. In addition, water lines and other facilities were installed to adequately house the influx of men. The huge building program moved forward with almost incredible speed. At various times a civilian army of between 7,000-8,000 workers was employed. These workers erected tent frames at the rate of one every 90 minutes.
As the suitability of the South Carolina climate came to the attention of the War Department and the fitness of this section for training fighting men was noted, additional troops were sent to Fort Jackson and the building program was further expanded. The Post continued the steady growth that had already made it the sixth largest Army Post in the United States, with new buildings going up each day, and additional contracts being awarded.
A permanent tent camp for the 128th Field Artillery was 98Z complete, and the permanent tent camp for the lO2d Cavalry at the north end of Wildcat Road, west of the 128th Field Artillery area, was 85 complete.
Acquisition of trespass rights on 265,000 acres of land in Richland, Fairfield, and Kershaw Counties for military training purposes on 26 January 1941 involved the largest block of property ever handled in one single transaction in the history of South Carolina up to that date. This land was acquired for mammoth military maneuvers to be conducted in the spring of 1941. Thirteen hundred of the 2,000 land owners involved were residents of Richland County .
Seven new chaplains were assigned to the 30th Division in January 1941, which brought the total to 22 chaplains on duty with the National Guard organization.
Eighteen Million Dollar Construction Program
By January 1941, new appropriations caused construction to soar to higher proportions as new troops were ordered to Fort Jackson . The total money spent thus far on additional construction at Fort Jackson was $18,375,000, providing housing, recreation, maintenance, and other facilities for 43,000 officers and enlisted men. A new water system replaced the old one Camp Jackson had used during World War I. At that time water was supplied by the City of Columbia, which extended its water mains from the city to the Post, and stepped up its filtration plant to make available the water needed. These lines had been repaired when the 6th Division moved onto the Post, but in February 1941 the Army acted to set up its own filtration plant, drawing water from the Dust Bowl Lake which it had acquired in its expansion. This filtration plant had a capacity of 6,000,000 gallons of water a day and, in addition, the Post had available for use in any emergency up to 300,000,000 gallons from the City of Columbia lines.
Fort Jackson grew to be South Carolina ’s third largest city, surpassed in population only by Charleston and Columbia . Visitors to the Post were awed when shown this far-flung Army reservation, with row upon row of neat, white-painted barracks buildings, parade grounds and training areas; a hospital one mile in length; ‘acres of warehouses, utilities and motor sheds; and the theater and recreation buildings which dotted the Post’s living area. Construction of more than 3,000 buildings and 6,000 winterized tents, linked by more than 100 miles of hard-surfaced roads and streets, in such a short time was truly amazing.
Seventeen attractive chapels, so arranged that any denomination could use them, were completed. There were a 6,000,000 gallon-a-day pumping plant, a 187-acre lake, a Post Laundry capable of doing the washing of 30,000 soldiers weekly, a modern Post Hospital of 2,200 beds, and a cold storage plant for the perishable food for the 42,000-plus soldiers stationed here by that time.
Fort Jackson stood as a tribute to the success of one of the most stupendous construction undertakings ever attempted – the building of a military city for 43,000 men in less than a year.
The Fort played a leading role in the Selective Service program. An Induction Station capable of handling 200 men per day was established, with plans laid for a new 500-man Reception Center .
A housekeeping force of between 2,000 and 3,000 men, known as the Fort Jackson Station Complement of the IV Corps area service command, took over the duties of maintenance and upkeep of the Post itself, thus relieving the officers and men of tactical units so that they would be free to devote all their time to training. The Station Complement began operating in the latter part of 1940 under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Frank L, Whittaker, Post Executive Officer,
While the number of Fort Jackson civilian employees was below the 7,000 peak with only 4,500 workers in January 1941, it was expected that this figure would rise to a peak when work was begun on the buildings for the I Corps troops to be stationed at Jackson .
A $356,000 WPA Project for work at Fort Jackson was approved and announced 1 January 1941, by Congressman H. P. Fulmer. The funds were for construction and rehabilitation of buildings and facilities and improvement of grounds.
The work included construction of a rifle range, storm sewers, warehouses, hospitals, railroads, roads, rehabilitation of buildings, draining, laying of water and sanitary sewer lines, landscaping and grounds, clearing, grubbing and performance of appurtenant and incidental work.
New Target Range Constructed
Start of construction of a new target range, which would provide more than 1,100 targets for the firing of all known modern weapons, was announced 4 January 1941. The new range, expected to be finished in two months, would thereafter be in constant use by the more than 40,000 men expected to be trained at this Post by early spring 1941.
The range, of the latest type construction which combined all the newest developments and safety features, located near Leesburg on the extreme eastern edge of the reservation included 400 known-distance targets, as well as additional targets for machine guns, automatic rifle, pistol, both mounted and dismounted, anti-aircraft, anti-tank, and other modern weapons. A tent camp was erected adjacent to the range to include all the necessary facilities for caring for two regiments during their firing periods.
Andrew Jackson Homes Built
President Roosevelt, on 5 January 1941, authorized immediate construction of 150 units of the proposed 400-unit housing project for Fort Jackson . To be constructed on Forest Drive at the north entrance of the Post, the dwelling units were to be for noncommissioned officers, and would be known as the Andrew Jackson Homes .
The 128th Field Artillery Regiment had 981 enlisted men and 57 officers at Fort Jackson on 6 January 1941, who paraded for and saluted their retiring Adjutant, Captain Rolf Raynor of Columbia, Missouri, as he was presented the Meritorious Service Medal of Missouri. In the official order, he was appointed to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, F.A., on the retired list. It was Captain Raynor’s suggestion and at his insistence that the regiment adopted the motto: “ Show Me. ”
In early 1941, a branch of the American Red Cross was established at Fort Jackson, with Mr. Porter C. Layne as the Field Director. His office was moved into the newly completed Post Headquarters Building the second week in January 1941, and it was expected that the services of the Red Cross would greatly increase with the move. During December 1940, the Red Cross had acted on 155 direct cases and 81 miscellaneous cases at the Fort.
Specialized instructions that aided the selectees and enlisted men of Fort Jackson in learning a trade for civilian life were initiated the first week in January 1941 when a Clerical School was conducted for the first time. In the beginning, only typewriting was taught to the group of men who gathered after duty hours each night except Saturday and Sunday. The course was supervised by Captain E. J. Cook, Assistant Post Adjutant, and Technical Sergeant J. T. Coleman.
The course was strictly voluntary, but had to be completed once the selectee or enlisted man had started. This was the forerunner of the later expanded nine specialized courses known as common specialist, then Combat Support Training.
On 8 January 1941, Captain H. E. Burke, Signal Officer at Fort Jackson, announced a new communications complex to concentrate all telephone, telegraph, radio and message centers together with the Signal Office, in two new buildings that were completed that month. A new five-position, 700-phone switchboard, which took care of the Post Personnel and the 30th Division telephone lines, was completed. Ownership and maintenance of much of the Post telephone network was the responsibility of the Southern Bell Telephone Company, but upon completion of this building program, all existing lines on the Army Post were to be taken over by the Government. The new telephone network was completed within three months.
The second phase of the $11,000,000 construction program at Fort Jackson opened 9 January 1941 when the post staff moved into a new and completely finished Post Headquarters Building . The building, glistening white amid the green background of pines, across from the 30th Division Headquarters, set the style for the planning and final decorations of buildings on post. While hundreds of buildings had been completed and used at Fort Jackson prior to this time, the new Post Headquarters Building was the first to be taken past the “serviceable stage” and into the “completely finished stage.” As the post vacated the old Post Headquarters Building southeast of the 30th Division Headquarters, those offices were used for inducting men reporting to the post for assignment to the 30th Division.
If the 30th Division wanted to go anywhere in January 1941, it needed equipment to get there in a hurry. When the Division was inducted it possessed a total of only 381 cars, ambulances, trucks, motorcycles, and trailers. Within four months this was tripled to 1,411 vehicles, with more on the way, to bring the Division up to war strength motor quotas. More than 1,000 new trucks were assigned to it from the time of its induction into the Federal Service on 16 September 1940 to 11 January 1941.
On Friday, 10 January 1941, Fort Jackson was “on the air” over the nation wide NBC Blue network in one of a series of broadcasts covering various military installations. Before the broadcast, Lester O’Keefe, NBC Production Director, was at Fort Jackson for preliminary auditions. Beginning at Fort Dix, New Jersey, on 20 December 1940, the series ended on 14 March 1941 with a broadcast from Fort Lewis, Washington .
Although none of the selectees arrived at Fort Jackson for permanent station until 10 January 1941, the Post’s Induction Station went into full action on 6 January 1941 with the arrival of the first group of 91 South Carolina selectees. Pending satisfactory completion of the induction process, including passing the physical examination, they were sent to the Fort Bragg Reception Center, from which they returned within a few days for permanent assignment to a unit on this Post.
The South Carolina selectees were put through the induction process at the rate of about 100 a day thereafter until the full quota of 1,391 had been inducted and sent to Fort Bragg for reception.
Both the 8th and 30th Divisions in early 1941 received authorization to go to war strength as the Selective Service Act began going into effect. Both of them received 6,000 selectees the early part of the year, pushing the strength of the 30th up to 19,000 officers and men, and the 8th up to 15,000. The reason for the difference was that the 30th was of the “square” type division; the 8th of the new “triangular” type.
Six thousand selectees trained for 15 days in three training sections of the 30th Division beginning 10 January 1941, prior to their assignment to units in the Division. The three centers were located in the 59th and 60th Infantry Brigades Headquarters Companies and Headquarters Battery of the 55th Field Artillery Brigade. In charge of the training was Lieutenant Colonel Garvin B Farris of the 117th Infantry, assisted by a staff of officers from the various units of the 30th Division.
Lieutenant Colonel Lewis A. Page, Post Provost Marshal, stated in an article in The State Newspaper on 12 January 1941 that the Fort Jackson Military Police Force would be expanded from 150 to 250 to control vice conditions aggravated by “camp followers.” “The conduct of the soldiers has been outstandingly good on the whole since the troops first began arriving,” he stated. The “camp followers” were attracted to Columbia by the huge military payrolls of between $800,000 and $900,000 distributed each month to the 23,000 soldiers, plus an additional sum for some 5,000 civilian laborers.
Colonel Page expressed belief that continuance of the “high measure of cooperation” between civil and military authorities would do much to remedy the situation, but that more civil officers would be required to handle the even greater vice conditions expected when 43,000 soldiers began training at Fort Jackson.
Essex Troops Arrive
Under command of Colonel Donald W. McGowan, Deputy Adjutant General of New Jersey, the famed Essex Troops, lO2d Cavalry, arrived at Fort Jackson 16 January 1941, for one year of intensive training. The Regiment was one of the first cavalry units in the United States to be converted into a horse- mechanized, fast-moving, quick-striking reconnaissance regiment. The Essex Troops, as they were known from coast to coast, was one of the oldest National Guard cavalry units in the United States, having been established in May 1890. It was designated as a reconnaissance regiment for the I Army Corps and included both horses and motorized equipment. Most of the men were from Newark, West Orange, and Westfield, New Jersey . The strength was 1,098 enlisted men and 54 officers, which increased Fort Jackson ’s population by 1,152.
The Regiment was composed of a squadron of three Horse troops, a squadron of Mechanized troops, Headquarters troops, Service troops, Medical Detachment, and the Band. The Band, at that time, was one of the few mounted bands remaining in the United States Army.
A mass movement of 6,000 selectees from four southeast states to Fort Jackson for one-year military training began 6 January 1941 and, operating on a split-second schedule worked out by the Army, was completed 27 January 1941.
Completion of this task found 6,000 brand new soldiers, clothed, equipped, housed, and ready for one-year military training with the 30th Division. Gathered from South Carolina and North Carolina, 3,026 were sent to the Induction Station at Fort Jackson, then through the Reception Center at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and returned to Fort Jackson for assignment to the regiment or other unit with which they would train in the 30th Division. From Georgia came 1,624 men who were sent from Fort McPherson, and 1,350 Tennesseans were sent from Fort Oglethorpe .
New two-story wooden barracks resounded to the tramp of many feet for the first time over the weekend of 28 January 1941, as the “housekeeping troops,” the special troops who help the officers run Fort Jackson, transferred their belongings from the area behind the old Post Headquarters to their new home behind the new Post Headquarters Building. These were Post Headquarters personnel, including those of the Induction Station Detachment, Station Complement, and the Post Military Police Company.
The strength of the 8th Division was increased from 9,000 to 14,738 by selective service men in February 1941. This increase, plus the 6,000 inductees into the 30th Division in January, enlarged the personnel strength of the Post to over 34,000 men.
The Hospital Expanded
Following its inception, the hospital facilities were expanded in light of the increase in military personnel at the Post. In March 1941, the bed capacity was raised from 500 to 2,000, and the principal part of the plant had become so large that it contained six miles of walkways and corridors. So rapid was its growth, in fact, that it was the largest hospital in the State of South Carolina at that time.
On 7 August 1941, Colonel Scott relinquished command of the Station Hospital to Major Stanley W. Matthews of the Medical Corps. Colonel Scott, however, retained his position at the hospital as Post Surgeon and held responsibility for all Medical Department activities.
Reception Center Activated
Bleak, white buildings on a sun-blistered sandy hillside quickly became one of the beauty spots of Fort Jackson when Lieutenant Colonel (later Brigadier General) David N. Ross, on 13 September 1941, activated the Reception Center . From the beginning, two other commanding officers, Lieutenant Colonel Gersum Cronander and Lieutenant Colonel Newton B. Morgan, added to the beauty, size, and efficiency of the original establishment. The skeleton staff which opened the area eventually reached a peak of 38 officers and 209 enlisted men in the detachment. Originally, there were seven officers and 67 men assigned to duty in the area.
The numbers of South Carolina selectees, who poured through Fort Jackson’s Induction Station at the rate of 100 a day beginning 6 January 1941, dropped off to a mere trickle by 24 January as the station staff cleaned up the leftovers of the State’s full January quota of 1,391 white men. A total of 112 selectees were processed at the Induction Station on 23 January. Of that number, 87 were accepted for service and sent to the Army Reception Center, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, with Second Lieutenant Benjamin D. Lucas, Fort Jackson Headquarters Detachment, in charge.
After a processing stay of approximately five days at Bragg, the majority of them were returned to Fort Jackson to be stationed with the 30th Division.
The next regular group of men processed was 101 Negro selectees from South Carolina who arrived 27 January 1941, with a similar number arriving on 28 January to complete South Carolina ’s January quota of 202 Negro men. This group was housed and fed at the 48th Quartermaster Regiment, the only Negro regiment at Fort Jackson . No white selectees were processed during that time.
The commander of the post was Major General Henry D. Russell, who also was Commander of the 30th Division. Commanding the 8th Division was Major General James P. Marley until the arrival in February 1941 of Major General William E. Shedd, who took over the 8th. When General Peyton fell ill and retired, General Shedd was assigned to command the I Corps. He was succeeded by Major General Charles F. Thompson, later Commander of Camp Croft, Spartanburg, South Carolina . General Marley, then a Brigadier, again took temporary command of the 8th until he was promoted several weeks later to Major General and assigned permanent command of the Division. Later, he was replaced by Major General Paul B. Peabody.
The 120th Infantry, North Carolina National Guard Band arrived on 21 September 1940, but returned to North Carolina to play at the Governor’s inauguration at Raleigh on 10 January 1941.
In February 1941, there were numerous bands at Fort Jackson, including those of the 128th Field Artillery (NG) from Missouri directed by Warrant Officer Ralph J. Yehle; the 13th Infantry Band directed by Warrant Officer Horace E. Nichols; the 28th Infantry Band of the 8th Division directed by Warrant Officer John Grable; and a mounted band of the lO2d Cavalry directed by Warrant Officer Conrad H. Rech. The 13th Infantry Band played every Fri day night over Radio Station WCOS, Columbia .
In addition, there were among others, the 115th Field Artillery Band of the Tennessee National Guard; the 118th Field Artillery Band; the 121st Infantry Band from Macon, Georgia ; and the 113th Field Artillery Band that made a soldier’s life at Fort Jackson more cheerful from dawn to dusk.
The total number of selectees coming to the 8th Division from the II Corps area reached 1,316 on 9 March 1941. This was the third trainload from the II Corps area, the second load having arrived on 8 March. These were part of the 5,000 scheduled for assignment to the 8th Division to bring it up to war strength.
Every effort to watch over the spiritual and recreational welfare of the 33,000 soldiers on duty at Fort Jackson was made by the 39 chaplains stationed at the Post. Each Division had a staff of chaplains serving with the various regiments. The work of the Post Chaplains was coordinated by Lieutenant Colonel R. E. Griffin, Post Chaplain.
General George C. Marshall, Army Chief of Staff, subjected Fort Jackson to a swift and comprehensive three-hour inspection on 15 March 1941, before leaving by plane for Camp McClellan, Alabama . The General was high in his praise of the troops’ morale, the speed of the building program, and the training being conducted; however, he left with a word of warning to “tighten down.” He inspected the 8th and 30th Divisions and two I Corps units at the Post – the 128th Field Artillery and the 102d Cavalry.
A milestone was passed at Fort Jackson on 29 March 1941, when the 34th Infantry staged with perfection the first 8th Division war-strength regimental review. Timed with machine-like coordination, the approximately 3,000 men of the 34th massed in a moving display of men and weapons. Amid the stirring music of the band, the rumble of motorized equipment, the throb of marching feet, and the glow of the sun on “fixed-bayonets,” the men of the 34th showed their best. In the ranks were nearly 2,000 Selective Service men who had received only three weeks’ basic training, with this as their first formal formation.
Fort Jackson Important to City of Columbia
Of significance at this time was the important position Fort Jackson had in the business life of Columbia and South Carolina . Besides the $22,000,000 construction bill, most of which was spent in Columbia and South Carolina, the average monthly payroll at Fort Jackson was in excess of $1,850,000. A staggering total of $540,000 was spent monthly on food alone, with South Carolina fruits and vegetables being purchased in vast amounts to feed the hungry soldiers of the Post. For instance, in the spring of 1941 when South Carolina growers were faced with a surplus of asparagus, this vegetable was placed on the menu at Fort Jackson and, after a few meals, the surplus was removed and the market was back to normal. A bumper peach crop threatened bankruptcy for the growers of South Carolina . Fort Jackson added peaches to the soldiers’ menu, and the surplus was soon removed.
The 35,000 soldiers training at Fort Jackson turned out on the morning of 31 March 1941 for an inspection by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Commander in-Chief of the nation’s Armed Forces, enroute to Washington from Florida . The primary purpose of the inspection, closed to the public, was to give the President a first-hand picture of the Fort.
The President saw the following leaders before the inspection: Major General William B. Shedd, Commander of the I Corps in Columbia ; Major General James P. Harley, Commander of the 8th Division; Governor Burnet R. Maybank of South Carolina ; and Mayor L. B. Owens of Columbia . The traditional 21-gun salute was given by the 128th Field Artillery of the Missouri National Guard.
Months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and America ’s subsequent entry into World War II, the nation had been girding for war. Fort Jackson, from 1939 until the attack, had figured prominently in training soldiers. The Fort was even more in the national limelight in the fall of 1941 as one of the bases of the mammoth First Army maneuvers held between Fort Jackson and Fort Bragg in North Carolina . Both the 8th and 30th Divisions had held extensive maneuvering exercises on the Fort Jackson reservation. Trespass rights on approximately 250,000 acres of land in Richland, Fairfield, and Kershaw counties, bordering the reservation, were obtained for the purpose of giving the troops enough room to move around in their field training.
An area of around 10,000 square miles, covering practically 17 entire counties in the two Carolinas between the two Army Posts, was used by approximately 350,000 troops of the First Army, two armored divisions, and tank and aviation units in the most comprehensive peacetime maneuvers in the nation’s history during 3-30 November 1941. The 1st and 2d Armored and the 9th, 29th, 31st, 43d, and 44th Infantry Divisions were trained and toughened into effective fighting units. In October, prior to these maneuvers, between 120,000 and 180,000 troops of the I and II Corps maneuvered in the same area. The 30th Division had its first taste of large-scale maneuvers as a part of 77,000 troops participating in the Second Army war games in central Tennessee . By the time the attack on Pearl Harbor occurred on 7 December 1941, Fort Jackson was ready for the greatly increased training loads.
Tempo Stepped Up
After Pearl Harbor, the tempo at Fort Jackson, as everywhere else, was stepped up. Additional land was acquired; buildings, roads, and utilities facilities were constructed. The 8th and 30th Divisions supplied cadre personnel for new divisions, and Major General William H. Simpson took over command of the 30th Division.
After the nation’s entry into the War and with the constant threat of an attack on the East coast by German submarines, the 8th Division was directed to patrol the Atlantic Coast . For six weeks during the winter of 1942, units of the Division patrolled the shores from North Carolina to the Florida Keys .
Fort Jackson staged its first air raid alarm practice on 30 December 1941, when seven whistles located at various points on the Post blasted out a warning. The warning was principally to test the whistles, which were located at the four fire stations on Post, one at the Post Laundry, and two at the Station Hospital power plant. The practice alert was a success.
Soon thereafter the 100th Division, the 106th Division, and the 2d Cavalry also were activated here. The 100th and 106th Divisions were prominent units in the liberation of Europe from the Nazi powers.
A Challenging Responsibility Given Fort Jackson
A combat division is conceived and born after incredible planning, but not without confusion and a certain amount of suffering; it passes through periods of slow development, through much sweat and a little blood on the drill fields and training areas, into a coordinated and competent organism of confident soldiers. The outstanding abilities of these individual soldiers are merged into a confident and mature combat body.
The 77th Infantry Division was reactivated on 25 March 1942 as one of the first three reserve divisions (82d and 90th) to be reborn in preparation for World War II. Under the leadership of a cadre of officers and noncommissioned officers, the selectees, mostly men from New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, were sent to Fort Jackson and lost no time in molding themselves into a fighting outfit. This Division, which had become famous in World War I through feats of its “Lost Battalion,” had an outstanding reputation to uphold.
For this period of development and training, Major General Robert L. Eichelberger was designated as the 77th Infantry Division Commanding General by War Department orders dated 10 February 1942. With distinguished service in Panama, on the Mexican Border, in Siberia, in the Philippines, and command and staff assignments in all echelons including the War Department, General Eichelberger was well-qualified for this new strategic assignment. He came to Fort Jackson from a tour of duty as Superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York .
While more than 600 officers had been selected for the important task of transforming an awkward mass of men into a fighting unit, a requirement for 1,178 capable enlisted men as cadre was being filled from the 8th and 30th Divisions already at Fort Jackson . Thus hundreds of officers and non commissioned officers, thousands of selectees, hundreds of vehicles, train- loads of supplies and essential items of equipment were brought together to create the 77th Division.
The questions uppermost in the minds of those given the responsibility for its creation were: “Can it be done? Can new and effective combat divisions be built with only a handful of experienced officers? Can it be done soon enough?” Above all, the 77th Division, and its two sister divisions, were a challenge to American military ingenuity and leadership ability. It represented an impossible task that must be accomplished at the earliest possible moment. A distinguished and competent group of officers and some few experienced regulars were the hard, purposeful core around which the Division was formed.
General Eichelberger had directed that from the start the Division would maintain superior standards of discipline, police, and dress. He had also ordered that when the new selectees arrived at Fort Jackson, they should find clean quarters, hot showers, hot food, and clean beds already made up for them. This meant a great deal of dirty, undignified work for the officers and noncommissioned officers. Thus six strange officers and 12 strange non commissioned officers would engage in the rush job of carting cots and bedding from warehouses in another part of the Camp, making beds, scrubbing and painting barracks, and come away from the task as “K’ Company. Here were the beginnings of loyalties which paid off at places like Barrigada and “Chocolate Drop.” The work had to be done between and after school periods, and after all-night guard duty many times. Both officers and noncommissioned officers griped plenty, but they did the job that had to be done and learned to work together.
Preparation for training the selectees was the most difficult task. The 77th Division was the “guinea pig for the new training program. The training had to be done with inexperienced instructors, unfamiliar with the new drill regulations, without adequate training with recently developed weapons, and not even familiar with the sources of training information. Training aids were scarce, and so were funds with which to obtain materials to make them. Those in command had to crowd years of learning and experience into a few days prior to arrival of the selectees.
The first trainload of selectees reached Fort Jackson on 25 March 1942, the day the 77th Division was reborn; others continued to arrive until 12 April 1942. These men who were destined to wear the Statue of Liberty patch represented the white, yellow, red, and brown races, and almost one- third were either foreign born or of more or less recent immigrant descent. There were even a few from very wealthy families who later, as privates, maintained apartments, expensive cars, and valets in nearby Columbia . As a group they were not young: their average age was close to 32; there were some in their forties, and a few past 50.
As the tired, disheveled men poured from the trains, they were divided into groups and led to a barracks and a mess hall by a company officer. The hot meals, the hot baths, and clean beds ordered by the Division Commander were ready. While in this company area, prior to classification, these men received training in basic subjects such as military courtesy, infantry drill, and hygiene. Every bit of instruction which could be given prior to the initiation of the training program was that much gained. Some had a turn at kitchen police and others walked guard carrying clubs or unloaded rifles.
For the first time in the history of the Army, a classification system was tried out on a division-scale. Each newly inducted man had been interviewed and a mass of information obtained from him at the initial Reception Center . This information card arrived at Fort Jackson with him and was sent to Captain John J. Sigwald and a crew of assistants who had been training for a month for this classification task. The cards were machine sorted and cross-sorted in the Division Headquarters. Many men ended up in the wrong niches, or found there was no place for their particular talent in an Infantry Division. Such errors were unavoidable but were held to a minimum and usually corrected later. After all, there was a war on and everything had to be done “double time•”
Two days after the Division was officially reborn, Brigadier General Mark W. Clark, Chief of the Army Ground Forces, came to inspect the activities of the new Division and to witness the presentation of the colors, which the old 77th Division had carried in World War I, to General Eichelberger. General Clark’s party then toured the camp to observe how the soldiers were being cared for.
On 7 April 1942, the training program officially started. By that time each unit had been organized and the men assigned to specific jobs. Now the real job began. The daily schedule began before dawn with a reveille formation, followed by a hurried toilet, breakfast, and policing of quarters and area. Then the men had almost 10 crowded hours of training, after which their time was their own until taps, unless there were fatigue details or night classes. Sunday was a day of light duty, but hardly a day of rest. Life became a steady, weary grind of classes, drills, and duties under driving taskmasters.
The men could not help seeing that the officers were working on a longer, tougher schedule than the one they were following. This was particularly true in the companies and batteries. Most of the platoon leaders, at the start, knew very little more than the men, and less than some of the cadre sergeants; but the officers had the heaviest responsibilities. By Division order, every company officer was required to spend eight to 10 hours with his unit on the training field. Most of that time he was teaching what he had probably learned only the night before. Also, by Division order, each officer attended a two-hour school three or four nights a week. In addition, there was the ever-present administrative and paper work; all of it must be done or checked by an officer, because the standards in the Division were perfection in administration as well as in training. It was no wonder that absent wives received few letters, and even those living in Columbia rarely saw their husbands. It is understandable that at least one capable sergeant refused to attend Officer Candidate School because he “would not put up with the hell my lieutenants are getting here.”
The entire officer and enlisted personnel of the newly reactivated 77th Infantry Division, at full war-time strength for the first time, assembled at 1000 hours, 11 April 1942, to hear an address by Major General Robert L. Eichelberger, the Commanding Officer. Marking one of the rare occasions an entire division was assembled for one event, the ceremonies included stirring martial music by the regimental bands.
When Colonel James N. Peale became the Commanding Officer in early April 1942 of the new 306th Infantry Regiment, the regiment, with a rich tradition of bravery in battle, secured as its leader a military strategist who wrote the war plans for defense of the Hawaiian Islands, and who served intimately with the popular war hero, General Douglas MacArthur. Colonel Peale took over the task of molding some 3,300 raw recruits into a crack regiment with the same vigor with which he supervised the measures which have made the Island of Oahu, in Hawaii, one of the world’s greatest fortresses.
But both the officers and enlisted men of the 77th learned to work under pressure, to expect little and to get the job done well and quickly. General Eichelberger told them on 11 May 1942: “This will be no joy ride or picnic. Time is precious and we cannot afford to waste it. We shall have thorough training and hard work, the methods used by all successful armies; for there is no substitute for hard work. If you think you are working too hard, remember what our enemies are doing.” All knew that the Division was going to war soon and that their own survival would depend, to a large extent, on their performance in training. Spurred on by such considerations and working under great pressure, these men helped to prove that America, given adequate time, could convert its men as well as its machines to war.
On 16 May 1942, when many of the men had received less than five weeks’ training, Lieutenant General Ben Lear, commanding the Second Army, made a thorough and searching inspection of the Division. He and his staff were not looking for men who knew or even appeared to know the answers. They questioned the dullest appearing men they could select to find if these were learning. But General Lear found little to criticize and was pleased with the progress made.
First Tanks Arrive
Fort Jackson received its first tanks in early 1942 when the 757th Tank Battalion was transferred to the Post from Fort Knox, Kentucky . The terrain at Fort Jackson was considered ideal for tank training, and during maneuvers the armored monsters played a big part in the “ Battle of the Carolinas .” The arrival of the lumbering tanks added still another branch of service to those in training at this busy military Post that already included infantry, artillery, mechanized cavalry, and “tank-killer” units.
77th Division Now Uses Live Ammo
Late in May, after hours of practicing sighting and aiming, positions, trigger squeeze, and rapid fire, the regiments began taking their men to the Leesburg Rifle Range where they fired live ammunition and felt the recoil of Army weapons. The 305th Infantry first marched the 14 miles to the range camp, and while there set some high scores for those who came later to match. During June the remainder of the organizations of the Division took their turn at the range, and the men learned to handle and to fire their weapons.
General Eichelberger was transferred to the Command of the I Army Corps, and on 5 June 1943 Brigadier General Roscoe B. Woodruff moved up from Assistant Division Commander to Commanding General of the 77th Division. He was promoted to Major General later that month.
More Maneuvers In Sight
The first week in April 1942 the 102d Cavalry, which since 1890 had been a mounted organization, lost its horses and became a fully mechanized reconnaissance regiment.
On 16 Nay 1942, proclamations by the Governors of North and South Carolina were issued requesting land owners to cooperate fully with the Army in its acquisition of five-year “maneuver rights on 2,853,433 acres lying in 11 North Carolina and six South Carolina counties. Army representatives took to the field in the new maneuver area to have all necessary land signatures by 15 June 1942, the deadline. The area requested was 78.5 miles in width and 52.5 miles in length.
Private First Class Lewis V. Grofsik, Headquarters Company, Fort Jackson, in June 1942 had the distinction of being the first soldier to complete Lesson No. 1 in any of the more than 60 courses offered through the Army Institute, located at Madison, Wisconsin . Taking advantage of action by the War Department in making it possible for men of the Armed Forces to further their education while in service, Private First Class Grofsik enrolled in a railroad rate clerk course, one of eight in the Institute’s course of business studies.
First Large Ceremony
Numerous parades and reviews were included in the training schedules. On 8 June 1942, the 77th Division participated in its first large ceremony. The entire I Corps was assembled on the dry, dusty Ancrum Ferry Field, just outside of Fort Jackson . For hours the 8th and the 30th Divisions, and the troops and vehicles of the eight-week-old 77th, moved and formed on the field. The distinguished visitors, riding in jeeps around the motionless ranks, included Lord Mountbatten, General George C. Marshall, General Sir John Dill, and many other Allied officials on the reviewing stand during the one and one- half hours it took the troops and equipment to move past – three divisions in mass formations. Though not yet through basic training the men of the 77th marched like old-timers, their lines straight and their steps firm and correct. The newspaper reports did not mention that, because of careful planning, routing and discipline the 77th Division did not have men fall out overcome by the intense June heat, but this made a vivid impression on those who took part.
Lord Mountbatten later wrote General Woodruff: “I tried to express in some small measure, the other day, my admiration and astonishment at the way in which the 77th Division turned out in the review of the First Army Corps, I feel I must write and tell you once more that of all the many interesting and encouraging things I have come across during my visit to the United States, none has made me feel more certain of our victory than the efficiency which your Division displayed at the end of only eight weeks training. If the United States can go on turning out divisions like that, victory will be ours much sooner than I had thought possible.”
Winston Churchill Impressed With Troops
Sixteen days later, on 24 June 1942, Prime Minister Winston Churchill of Great Britain stepped from a train at Fort Jackson to see for himself the troops his subordinates had complimented. With him were Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, veteran of the 77th in World War I; General George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff; General Sir John Dill, head of the British Joint Staff Mission; Lieutenant General Lesley J. McNair, Chief of Army Ground Forces; General Sir Alan Brooke; Major General Sir Hastings Ismay, Chief of Staff for the Ministry of Defense; Commander C. R. Thompson, Royal Navy; and others. The Guard of Honor was the 3d Battalion of the 306th Infantry, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Adair.
Mr. Churchill witnessed a composite review of one Regimental Combat Team from each of the three divisions of the I Corps; the 307th Combat Team represented the 77th Division. During his stay at Fort Jackson Mr. Churchill, cigar in mouth, trooped all over Fort Jackson to inspect every phase of training. Watching the thousands of recruits undergoing training, Mr. Churchill remarked: “they’re just like money in the bank.’
General Eichelberger, former commander of the 77th Division but assigned to command the I Corps just before the demonstration, was accorded Churchill’s praise. The Corps under his command was ordered to the Pacific, where it did yeoman service in winning the battle of the islands and beaches that made the defeat of Japan inevitable. The 77th Division, which Eichelberger had organized, followed him to the Pacific. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in the latter part of 1942 for commanding American troops in New Guinea .
The I Corps was succeeded by the XII Corps, activated here with General William H. Simpson in command. Major General Leland C. Hobbs, who was to lead the 30th in action in Europe, took command of that division.
Two large-scale emigrations from the 77th Division took place during its early months. The first was the departure of a cadre for the new 94th Division. About 200 officers and 1,200 men were selected and trained to form the nucleus of this new Division. This cadre left in July carrying with it the best wishes of the Division. It included among its numbers many a March selectee now facing the task of training others. Later in the summer, smaller cadres of officers were furnished to assist in organization of the 99th and 100th Divisions.
The second exodus was to the Officer Candidate Schools. These quotas were large and the same intelligent, reliable sort of men who were doing so well as noncommissioned officers were in demand for conversion to second lieutenants. About 1,000 officer candidates left the Division during the summer of 1942.
On 7 August another veteran of the 77th Division of World War I came to visit. This was Under Secretary of War Robert B. Patterson, who in World War I had been Captain Patterson of F Company, 306th Infantry, and later commander of the 2d Battalion of that regiment. In his honor the 306th Regimental Combat Team and a combat team each from the 8th and 30th Divisions passed in review. Mr. Patterson also witnessed camouflage demonstrations, and a tank attack.
During August the infantry battalions conducted three field exercises, designed to develop tactics, technique, and teamwork. Additionally, several strenuous tests of physical ability and stamina were successfully passed. The most trying of these was a 25-mile march in eight hours.
In September, the entire Division Artillery and the 1st Battalion of the 307th Infantry entrained for the Field Artillery School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, to serve for six weeks as School Troops. The infantry and artillery worked together as a modern battle team. The Division Artillery fired some 100,000 rounds of ammunition during its stay at Fort Sill and broke all records for the proficiency of School Troops at Fort Sill . Late in October these troops returned to Fort Jackson .
On 30 September 1942, the Commander-in-Chief, Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States, confident but rather careworn, watched from an open car as the 77th Division, proud and determined, passed in review.
A Loud Noise
On 6 October 1942, the 302d Engineers made their loudest and most satisfying noise when they efficiently demolished a large, condemned, steel bridge over the Wateree River near Camden, South Carolina . Nearly 2,000 troops witnessed the destructive force of 2,500 pounds of explosives.
By mid-November the 77th Division had progressed from individual training, through field training of units and organizations to readiness for larger operations. Now the combined training phase started, involving tactical exercises for the Division acting as a complete force. General Woodruff pointed out that success in large-scale exercises hinged upon the same attention to small details of performance, discipline, and personal health that had been true iii small problems; that the job was tough and going to get tougher, and the Division had to be ready to meet an unsportsmanlike enemy and beat him at his own game.
During this phase of training most of the time was spent in the woods and fields around Fort Jackson, the men returning to barracks only occasion ally for a welcome chance to wash up and get warm all over. The weather became definitely cold; rain and snow were frequent. To men making long night marches and sleeping on the ground, this meant acute discomfort. Thanksgiving Dinner, 1942 – complete with turkey and trimmings – was served in the field, and services were held under the pines.
During the second and third weeks of December the entire Division was given a practical field test by the XII Corps, which proved that the 77th was well along in its training. Brigadier General Floyd Parks, Chief of Staff of the Army Ground Forces, toured the area and commented: “The men of the 77th displayed a fine spirit and enthusiasm in playing the game. When I saw them they had been all night on the problem. They waded through water waist deep during freezing temperatures–hardships comparable to actual battle. Yet they were going through with the problem, maintaining communications and pushing forward with a zeal that was highly commendable. I was very much impressed with their training.”
During December 1942 more selectees began to arrive to replace the men who had gone to other divisions and to schools. Organized into a training regiment under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Stephen S. Hamilton of the 307th Infantry, these new soldiers entered willingly into the task of learning everything all at once, that they might catch up with the rest of the 77th Division.
Fort Jackson Trained Fighting Forces
Many divisions, activated here or reactivated elsewhere and sent here, trained at Fort Jackson . During World War II an estimated half million Americans received some part of their training at Fort Jackson . These men later blazed their way into history as members of the 4th Division, one of the first to land on the beaches of France in the invasion; the 26th (Yankee) Division and the 87th Division, which became components of Patton’s Third Army; the 6th, 8th, 30th, 77th, 100th, and 106th Divisions, and of the I and XII Corps.
Reception Center Expanded
Two additional buildings were acquired by the Reception Center in the latter part of 1942. These were used to care for the civilians expected to complete their induction in the Army.
Not all the men were South Carolinians, and not all South Carolina recruits entered the Army by way of Fort Jackson . All the men reporting for examination at the Induction Station entered the Armed Forces through their local Selective Service Boards, or through special arrangements for volunteers, such as those which sent hundreds of Citadel cadets into the Army by way of Fort Jackson in May 1943 and January 1944.
100th Division Activated
Senator Edgar A. Brown and Major General William H. Simpson were featured speakers at the activation ceremonies of the new 100th Division at Fort Jack son when the unit was made an official part of the Army’s ground forces on 8 November 1942. Both speeches were made just prior to the presentation of the Division flag by Major General Emil F. Reinhardt, Commanding Officer of the 76th Division at Fort Meade, Maryland . General Reinhardt’s presentation was symbolic of formal activation of the new unit, since his Division was the parent organization of the 100th Division.
Cadre for the new Division started arriving at Fort Jackson on 3 October 1942. The 100th Division was activated on 15 November 1942, and was destined to see service in Europe . Commanding this Division was Brigadier General Theodore E. Briechier, who arrived at Fort Jackson in October 1942.
On 20 November 1942, 45 chaplains were on duty at Fort Jackson . The assignment of more soldier-ministers to the Post was expected with the activation of new units and the transfer of other troops to this station.
The Fourth Echelon Newspaper made its debut on 28 November 1942. Containing Army news, humor, poetry, detachment gossip, and sports news, the publication was issued weekly by and for the soldiers of the 107th Station Hospital of Fort Jackson.
A khaki-clad army of versatile Americans mushrooming into instant action–something similar to that of a big-time circus springing into life overnight–was the impression one got from a day of watching the 77th Division in winter maneuvers in late December 1942.
Upon arrival of visitors at the Command Post located about two miles past Blaney, South Carolina, frost-bitten handshakes were exchanged with Major F. Bridgewater, G2 of the division. Major General Roscoe B. Woodruff, Commanding General of the 77th Division, was the second host, explaining in great detail how Engineer soldiers were building pontoon rafts and three portable bridges across the muddy, ice-water streams. Division troops, with motors and equipment, tested these spans again and again.
An interesting sidelight was the fact that John D. Rockefeller’s grandson was a First Lieutenant in the 77th Division Winter encampment.
A large assemblage of recruits was addressed by the Division Commander, Major General Woodruff, on 19 December 1942. The recruits were undergoing basic training in the 77th Infantry Training Regiment of the 77th Division at Fort Jackson .
Upon completion of his speech, General Woodruff made a personal inspection of the training regiment and found the troops so smart in appearance that he returned to the platform to commend them.
During the holiday season of 1942, Archbishop Francis Joseph Spellman visited Fort Jackson : there was Christmas music, special church services, and a turkey dinner. The 77th Division held open house for all of the men of Fort Jackson . Lieutenant Winthrop Rockefeller, commanding Company H, 305th Infantry, changed his grandfather’s custom and gave each man in his company, not a dime, but a silver dollar.
Always interested in the welfare and morale of the troops, the Army established a 7,000-volume library at Service Club No. 2 in the 100th Division area in late December 1942. Miss Rachael J. Nays was Head Librarian.
The 77th Division Departs
On 13 January 1943, the Division was reviewed by Major General W. H. Simpson, Commanding General of the XII Corps, in icy cold wind which drove the spectators to shelter. But the soldiers, inured to anything, just took it and marched on.
In January 1943, the 77th Division entrained for eight-week maneuvers in Louisiana, which were under the direction of Major General Daniel I. Sultan, Commanding General of the VIII Corps of the Third Army. Later, the 77th Division wrote its battle history in the bloody battles on Guam, Leyte, Ie Shima, and Okinawa .
First WAAC Personnel Arrive
In early 1943, Fort Jackson ’s first women soldiers, 131 strong, arrived to relieve more men soldiers for combat duty. Coming directly from Daytona Beach, Florida, where they had received their basic training, the WAAC’s were assigned to the Station Complement, Post “housekeepers,” and performed clerical, motor transport, service club, library and other miscellaneous duties about the Post. Commanding the group was Second Officer Elspeth Ritchie, formerly of Trenton, New Jersey . Other officers on the staff were Third Officer Emily Van Brussell, Executive Officer, and Third Officer Eleanor Goldenberg, Mess and Supply Officer. Major Harry D. Keller, Cavalry, acted as liaison officer between the WAAC’s and the Post Commander.
Reception Station Closed
Formerly, recruits were allowed a 14-day furlough from the date of induction to reporting for active duty. Effective 1 July 1943, a new Army ruling allowed a 21-day furlough, which caused the quietest week in the middle of July at the Reception Center since the inauguration of selective service in 1940. The Reception Center had only 86 new recruits and 10 Reservists reporting for processing, making a total of only 96 men for the entire week.
The closing of the Reception Center in January 1944 did not affect the Fort’s Induction Station where draftees were sent by selective service boards for examination and induction. Classification tests, similar to those formerly given at the Reception Center, enabled officials of the induction station to send recruits to appropriate reception centers after their furloughs.
One of Fort Jackson ’s closest ties with civilian life was broken, however, with the closing of the Reception Center . Discipline there, while adequate, was comparatively easy, and the men gradually accustomed themselves to the change from civilian to Army life. The Center was in no sense a “boot” or basic training camp, but the men were given elementary instruction in military courtesy and customs while waiting to be shipped to their assigned Posts.
All men entering the Reception Center went through a regimented routine, and those who reported to other reception centers went through the same process. Immediately upon arrival, the men answered innumerable questions for the completion of voluminous records. Thereafter, in two days they received their all-important “Army general classification tests,” which established their military ‘intelligence trend’; signed various insurance forms or gave a good reason why they should not; drew bedding and learned to make up beds; and moved two or three times to different barracks until they finally reached a “shipping company” after receiving their issue of clothing and personal equipment.
The men were not held in “quarantine” in the reception centers; however, they had to be ready for shipment at any time. They had more visitors than troops attached to a training outfit, and were allowed greater freedom to receive visitors.
In the end, after a wait of from two days to two weeks, the selectees were shipped to their training posts, and practically all of them were glad to go. Having entered the Army, they quickly became anxious to “get on with the job,” for they soon saw that training made the life easier.
At this time, the following article appeared in the Columbia newspaper:
“Although the Fort Jackson Reception Center, gateway to Army life for tens of thousands of South Carolinians, was closed January 10, the closing order did not affect the Fort’s Induction Station, where draftees are sent by selective service for examination and induction. After the closing of the Reception Center, however, recruits who are inducted at Fort Jackson and return home for their three-weeks furloughs, will have to report to some other reception center. Local officials anticipate the greater number of the recruits will be sent to Fort Bragg .”
Between its activation, 13 September 1941, and its closing, 10 January 1944, more than 80,000 men were processed and sent to appropriate basic training camps of all the combat branches and to Officer Candidate School.
In January 1943, for the convenience of thrifty soldiers on Post who had the cash and wanted to invest in war bonds, three places were arranged where bonds could be bought. The Fort Jackson Post Office sold the bonds during regular Post Office hours; the Fort Jackson Branch of the South Carolina National Bank sold them during banking hours, and the Post Finance Office sold war bonds to both civilian and military personnel on Tuesday and Friday afternoons between one and five o’clock.
On 3 January 1943, an extensive soil erosion program by the Post Engineer was fast overcoming the destructive washing away of the topsoil that had long been a problem. With the initiation of this important program, special attention was called to destructive practices which were strictly prohibited, e.g., driving unnecessarily between buildings and through areas, failure to use established walkways, needless foot travel on sodded banks and slopes, and excessive raking of leaves, grass, pine needles, and other vegetation which should not be disturbed.
In the 100th Infantry Division at Fort Jackson in January 1943 there were 33 pigeon fanciers. They were on a list of some 10 types of specially- trained men throughout the Division with special jobs to be carried out along with their regular duties. In emergencies the pigeons were to be sent aloft, carrying the messages which radio and telephone could not handle.
Barbers were also placed in every unit of the Division to perform useful extra-curricular activities during off-duty hours in order to keep their comrades’ hair trimmed – and at the same time maintain their professional technique. Also of special usefulness were the tailors, shoe repairmen, pharmacists, painters, and motion picture projectionists for the showing of training films. Men proficient in certain languages acted as interpreters for their organizations, and operators of factory machines, it was found, had a knack for firing machine guns, so they were placed in units having those weapons.
Miss Estellene Walker of Knoxville, Tennessee, the Head Librarian at Service Club No. 1, announced in January 1943 that the books most sought by soldiers at Fort Jackson were those concerning mathematics, followed closely by the subjects of mechanics, aviation, and chemical warfare. All recent best-sellers were available as well as books on science and varied subjects. Book circulation was down during the latter part of 1942 and early 1943 due to the intensive training program of the soldiers stationed here, who had much less time for reading.
The cadre of over 1,000 military personnel, which left the 77th Division at Fort Jackson in the summer of 1942 for Michigan, was moved to Kansas, where they trained new recruits in the 94th Division.
Three units of the 100th Infantry Division, which began its basic training program the second week of December 1942, held their first formal regimental reviews on the afternoon of 9 January 1943 at various parade grounds on Post.
The Division Artillery of the 398th and 399th Infantry Regiments used the Saturday affairs for practice in preparation for future public reviews, with all personnel of the regiments on the field.
Brigadier General Theodore E. Beuchler reviewed troops in his four Field Artillery battalions and used the formation as an instruction assembly during which he was able to give instructions to his entire command. The artillery men also had a road march after the review. Also witnessing the reviews were Major General Withers A. Burress, Commanding Officer of the 100th Division, and Brigadier General Maurice L. Miller, Assistant Division Commander.
On 9 January 1943 Br General Harris F. Melasky, who was Assistant Division Commander of the 77th Division until he took over command of the 86th Division, was honored with a surprise farewell retreat review by the 306th Regiment of the 77th Division. Commanding Officer of the Regiment, Colonel Alexander Adair and General R. B. Woodruff, Commander of the 77th, were also on the reviewing stand. General Melasky had been at Fort Jackson since July 1942.
From 1400 to 1700 hours on 10 January 1943, “Open Rouse” was held in the newly-furnished dayroom of Company C, 307th Infantry, 77th Division. The room was furnished by teachers in the Columbia City Public Schools through The Teachers’ Council, of which Miss Moselle Skinner was President, and Miss Harriette Cleveland, Public Relations Committee Chairman. Miss Martha Julia Graham was Chairman of the Defense Committee which sponsored the project.
Chaplain Merle W. Bergeson, Acting Chief, Chaplains’ Branch, Fort Jackson reported that 98,000 men attended divine services during January 1943. Some of these services were held outdoors where the units were on field problems. Post Chaplains officiated at 30 weddings and three baptismal services, with participation by the chaplains in more than 30 adjacent community occasions during the same month. Over 10,000 soldiers were contacted during 1,100 visits made to Post hospitals, and 8,500 personal problems were solved in these interviews.
2d Cavalry Division Reactivated
On 16 January 1943, Major General William H. Simpson, XII Corps Commander, and Brigadier General Royden E. Beebe, Post Commander, reviewed the reactivation of the 2d Cavalry Division at Fort Jackson . Regimental colors representing the 29 major engagements in which this unit participated in its 106-year history were displayed. Elements were reactivated on 25 February 1943 with Negro enlisted personnel. Later, the unit was alerted for overseas and arrived in North Africa on 9 March 1944.
On 15 March 1943, in ceremonies featuring high military and civilian authorities, the 106th (Lion) Division, newest of six fighting Infantry Divisions to be trained for combat at this Post, was formally activated at Fort Jackson .
Adjutant General James C. Dozier of South Carolina announced on 20 March 1943 that summer maneuvers by the South Carolina Defense Force, for which the General Assembly had approved $100,000, would help “weld the Guard into a com pact, well-trained fighting unit, prepared for any emergency which may arise.” He estimated that two-thirds of the 520 officers and 6,035 enlisted men of the four regiments and First Separate Battalion would be able to attend a week of intensive training at Fort Jackson during July or August 1943.
The Defense Force, organized 16 April 1941, included a total of 64 companies and 13 Headquarters Detachments, all Infantry. Commanders of the Regiments were: First – Colonel W. C. White of Chester ; Second – Colonel A. G. Kennedy of Union; Third – Colonel Geo. L. Taylor of Georgetown, and Fourth – Colonel T. E. Salley of Orangeburg. The First Separate Battalion was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel T. Max Jordan of Myrtle Beach .
Two new unit newspapers made their appearance at Fort Jackson the week of 26 March 1943, with the publication of The Bull Sheet and The 64th General Observer. Published by the 397th Infantry Regiment of the 100th Division, The Bull Sheet was a four-page paper devoted to activities of the Regiment. The Observer of the 64th General Hospital Unit was a six-page paper published to establish greater unity in the outfit.
On 17 Nay 1943, The Columbia Record Newspaper carried an article regarding the reawakening of Fort Jackson in time of war. Military security was the all-important watchword at that time. However, the social, religious and athletic side of the Post was included daily in the pages of the local news papers.
The young soldiers of Fort Jackson, drawn from all parts of the nation, discovered that sectionalism was an outmoded word in the Army, and as they became acquainted with Columbians, various parts of the country began to understand and appreciate the traditions and ways of living in a section new to them, and Southern members of the Armed Forces, in turn, made friends with men from the Far West, the Southwest, the Middle West, the Northeast and the East.
A precedent was set in Columbia on 2 and 3 July 1943 when an all-soldier cast from Fort Jackson known as “The Century Players’ of the 100th Infantry Division presented Maxwell Anderson’s The Eve of St. Mark on the stage of the Columbia Town Theater. The production was an all-service show, produced, staged, directed and acted by men from the 100th Division and women from the WAAC. It was produced by the Special Service Office with special permission from the National Theater Conference. Heading the cast were Private First Class Peter Bayes, Service Company, 398th Infantry, as “Private Quizz West,” and Sergeant Wimberley Goodman, Battery C, 925th Field Artillery Battalion, an excellent “Private Mulveroy.”
On 4 July 1943, Fort Jackson opened its gates to the public for ceremonies celebrating the Fourth of July. In an invitation extended by Brigadier General Royden E. Beebe, Post Commander, all Columbians and friends and relatives of the men at Fort Jackson were urged to be present for the exercises. Among distinguished visitors were Governor Olin D. Johnston; Mayor Fred D. Marshall; Major General Wm. H. Simpson, XII Corps Commander; Major General Withers E. Burress, 100th Division Commander; Brigadier General Alan W. Jones and the Commanding Officers of all other military units represented in the ceremonies.
In early July 1943, Lieutenant Ollie B. Hutto of Columbia was made Commanding Officer of Fort Jackson’s WAAC Headquarters Detachment. Lieutenant Hutto was one of the graduates of the first class to complete Officer Training at Fort Des Moines, Iowa .
In early March 1943, the 8th moved to Camp Laguna, Arizona ; participated in desert maneuvers; then returned to Camp Forrest, Tennessee, to prepare for overseas movement. During this period, it was de-motorized and again designated a standard Infantry Division.
Army Specialized Training Program Begins
With the machinery of the nation-wide Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP) functioning smoothly in the colleges and universities throughout the country, enlisted men were being sent in considerable numbers from Fort Jack son in July 1943 to ASTP units for examination and reassignment. The program was divided into two phases, the basic phase covering work beginning at college freshman level and going through the first half of the sophomore level; the advanced phase covered academic work beginning at the second half of the sophomore year. In some colleges the work was at post-graduate level. Moving from term to term until completion of the course, each soldier was subject to call to other active duty at all times.
The establishment of a Legal Assistance Office at Fort Jackson to give legal aid to officers and enlisted personnel of the Post was announced on 15 July 1943. The office was under the general supervision of Lieutenant Colonel Freeman McClure, Post Judge Advocate, and all assistance and advice to military personnel was free of charge. An agreement was made between the War Department and the American Bar Association to sponsor jointly such a plan for legal assistance to military personnel throughout the 48 states. The Richland County Bar Association, through 94 of its members, assisted in the program. The civilian attorneys, however, did not advise or aid in military matters.
Stepped-up bombing schedules and huge armadas of planes caused the Army Air Corps to issue a call for more enlisted men for air crew training on 16 July 1943, according to Captain Murray E. Wyche, Recorder of the Aviation Cadet Examining (ACE) Board at Fort Jackson . At that time, a June quota of 15,200 men was expected to be filled by August. The ACE Board was located at the corner of Marion and Early Streets and was opened for the convenience of enlisted men between 0800 and 1700 hours Monday through Saturday. Hours on Sunday were from 1000-1200 hours and 1300-1500 hours.
For the first time in the history of Fort Jackson, the highly-coveted Army Award, the Silver Star Medal, was presented posthumously by Brigadier General Royden E. Beebe, Post Commander, acting on behalf of the Commanding General of the 13th Field Artillery Brigade and representing the Commanding General of the Fourth Service Command. Awarded for gallantry in action to Private James B. Phillips of Lancaster, South Carolina, who was killed in the battle of Tunisia, the medal was accepted by the soldier hero’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Phillips.
On 12 August 1943, troops got the thrill of their lives as a representation of the “Main Striking Force” of America ’s airpower zoomed down in a plane demonstration at Ancrum Ferry Field. The show was designed primarily to familiarize current fighters stationed at Fort Jackson with the various characteristics of American planes. The features of each plane were explained over a public address system as each plane came in view. Included were the Martin Marauder, the “Billy Mitchell” or B-25, the Boston Light Bomber or A-20, the Air cobra, the Warhawk, the Thunderbolt, and the Mustang. Troops witnessing the show were from organizations of the 100th Division, XII Corps, Second Army, 106th Division, and Post units.
First WAC Officers Arrive
Seven officers of the Women Army Corps arrived at Fort Jackson on 20 August 1943 for assignment to temporary duty in operational jobs in the Station Complement. These WAC Second Lieutenants were among the first group of women officers to be sent into the field to understudy men officers in operational jobs.
During this same month the final group of Fort Jackson WAAC lined up to take the oath that made them members of the Army of the United States . The WAAC Detachment did not drop the second “A” until official notification in September 1943.
Colonel Richard B. Wheeler, Commanding Officer of the 14th Armored Group, which was activated at Fort Jackson, arrived on 25 November 1943. The new Armored Group organization was a flexible unit, making the maximum use of speed and mobility. Later, medium and light tanks were seen on the highways and byways of Fort Jackson and the people of South Carolina observed more and more soldiers wearing the red, yellow and blue triangle patch of this new Armored Command.
The veteran 4th Division, which made history in World War I by cracking the Hindenburg Line and handing defeat to 16 different German divisions, and which was again mobilized during World War II, was stationed at Fort Jackson under the command of Major General Robert 0. Barton in December 1943.
On 6 January 1944 Colonel Duncan G. Richart, Post Commander at Fort Jack son announced that increased efficiency of operations and sizable savings in funds and manpower would result by the reorganization of Post Headquarters. One of the most important changes was the consolidation of the Post Intelligence Division, Post Provost Marshal, Post Police Officer, and the Post Prison under a single authority.
The 87th Infantry Division, activated and trained in Mississippi, moved into Fort Jackson on 22 January 1944 for further training. Major General E. M. Landrum, “The Victor of Attu,” was the commanding officer. The outfit was the rebirth of the famed 87th of World War I which saw action in France . Assistant Division Commander was Brigadier General John L. McKee and Brigadier General Russell G. Barkalow was the Division Artillery Commander.
Starting in January and continuing well into 1944, the 281st Signal Pigeon Company at Fort Jackson trained pigeons to fly messages under combat conditions. It had been established that such birds, properly trained, were most adroit in getting messages to and from enemy territories. Post Commander Duncan G. Richart was promoted from Colonel to Brigadier General on 16 March 1944.
More than 270,000 men were trained at Fort Jackson from May 1939, when mobilization of the US Forces began, through March of 1944. The cost involved, exclusive of pay of millions of dollars monthly to the men, was $98,333,180. “ South Carolina took a great part in the war effort and the citizens of the State deserved every commendation for their cooperation,” stated Senator Burnet R. Maybank of South Carolina in an address before the Columbia Chamber of Commerce on 8 April 1944.
Andrew Jackson Homes Facilities Expanded
Ample school and recreational facilities were provided for the families living at Andrew Jackson Homes . The Andrew Jackson School, to care for the grammar grades, was built for $25,000 and was operated under a 100% Lanham Act Grant. A community house, used exclusively for recreation, was under the direction of Mrs. Florence Luther. It cost approximately $15,000 and had ample assembly rooms, two multi-use rooms with suitable furniture for the children, kitchen, and storage rooms. The staff at Andrew Jackson Homes was under the direction of J. Whilden Woodward, Manager. The project was occupied by 350 families of commissioned and noncommissioned officers and a limited number of defense workers assigned to Fort Jackson .
“Bond Selling Battalion” On Post
A Fort Jackson unit that gained wide recognition in the Carolinas in War Bond drives during the summer of 1944 was the 556th AAA (AW) Battalion. Presenting its show during off-duty hours, this unit was called the “Bond Selling Battalion” and was instrumental in selling one-half million dollars of bonds during the drive.
When the European phase of the war ended on 8 May 1945, the First Army staff, under command of General Courtney H. Hodges, was assigned to Columbia in order to work out plans for its redeployment to the Pacific Theater of Operations.
In May 1945, the Army Service Forces Personnel Replacement Depot was transferred to Fort Jackson from Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania .
General Courtney H. Hodges arrived in Columbia 10 July 1945 to continue command of the First Army which had its headquarters at Fort Jackson for further training before deployment to the Pacific. The following general officers of the First Army accompanied General Hodges: Major General Wm. B. Kean, Chief of Staff; Brigadier General George A. Miller, Chief of Personnel; and Brigadier General Charles B. Hart, Chief of Artillery Section.
Major General Clarence R. Huebner, Commanding General of V Corps, with several contingents of that Corps, arrived at Fort Jackson on 13 August 1945. General Huebner left Fort Jackson on 7 September 1945, for •a new Post in Washington, D. C.
When the Japanese surrendered on 14 August 1945, thus ending World War II, it was estimated that more than 500,000 American fighting men had received some phase of their training for World War II at Fort Jackson . These men later earned their place in history as members of the 4th, 6th, 8th, 26th, 30th, 77th, 100th, and 106th Infantry Divisions, and of the I and XII Corps. Primarily an infantry training Post, but possessed of an all-weapons range on which every weapon in use by the United States Army could be fired simultaneously, the Fort was used for training infantry, artillery, tank destroyer, cavalry, medical, engineer, signal, ordnance, quartermaster, military police, and armored units, as well as carrier pigeons and war dogs.
However, Fort Jackson was not simply another War-developed training camp. It had been in constant use since 1939, and during all the years untold mil lions of the taxpayers’ dollars had been poured into it – $23,000,000 before World War II and great sums were spent during the progress of the War – to make it what it was intended to be, a permanent military Post, the home of the tactical divisions when the Army’s occupation job in Europe and Japan ended.
At the conclusion of World War II, many of the Nation’s leaders saw a necessity to maintain a substantial military force to cope with a rapidly changing world. Certain groups clamored for demobilization, while others demanded strength to cope with the atomic age. This mixed attitude caused turbulence in Army strength. Universal Military Training created a need for training centers and, as a result, gave Fort Jackson a future in Defense Installations.
30th Division Reassembled
Major General Leland S. Hobbs arrived in Columbia 26 September 1945 and resumed command of the 30th Division at Fort Jackson, the same outfit he led through bitter months of fighting in Europe . General Hobbs had assumed command of the 30th Division in the late summer of 1942 at Fort Jackson, immediately preceding the Division’s departure for Camp Blanding, Florida, where it was brought up to strength and trained for battle. General Hobbs had taken the Division overseas in January 1944 and led it through battle campaigns from Normandy in France to the Elbe River in Germany . The 30th was redesignated for reassembly early in the summer of 1945 at Fort Jackson . An advance detachment arrived the week of 16 September. The Division was quartered on “Tank Hill” in the former 87th Division area, which was later occupied by the First Army.
The 12th Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, First Army, on 1 November 1945 announced the inactivation of the following units at Fort Jackson:
- 187th Signal Repair Company
- 3529th Ordnance Company
- 4th Tank Destroyer Group
- 35th Chemical Company
- 89th Chemical Motorized Battalion
- 474th Ordnance Evacuation Company
- 664th Quartermaster Truck Company
- 671st Quartermaster Salvage Collecting Company
- 833d Quartermaster Gas Supply Company
- 4286th Quartermaster Railhead Company
- 298th Quartermaster Battalion
- 56th Order of Battle Teams
- 812th Tank Battalion
- 559th Quartermaster Group Headquarters
- 284th Signal Pigeon Company
Three units from 12th Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, Special Troops, First Army, were transferred to the command of V Corps during the week of 14 December 1945. There was no change in the physical setup for the following units: 15th Armored Group, 90th Chemical Mortar Battalion, and the 78th Tank Battalion. Colonel R. H. Garity commanded the 15th Armored Group which came to Fort Jackson in November 1944 and trained five battalions, which later distinguished themselves in combat.
On 24 December 1945, at Fort Jackson, General Courtney Hodges, the First Army Commander, presented citations for meritorious service in Europe to Major General Frank W. Millburn and Brigadier General George P. Howell.
Fort Jackson Becomes Replacement Training Center
Fort Jackson became a replacement training center in November 1946 when Camp McClellan was closed and the Army replacement training units there were transferred to Fort Jackson . On 4 June 1947 the Fort was designated by the Army as one of the four permanent replacement training centers in the United States – the others were located at Fort Ord, Fort Dix, and Fort Knox .
In October 1946, Fort Jackson was chosen as one of the four Replacement Training Centers of the United States Army. Therefore, the United States Army Personnel Center was established here to assist in the Universal Military Training Program, with a Reception Station and a Transfer Station. The Reception Station processed all newly inducted personnel and prior Service personnel who entered the Army from civilian life and were forwarded to the Post from Recruiting and Induction Stations. Upon completion of processing, these individuals were transferred to training installations for completion of their basic training. The Transfer Station processed for separation all overseas returnees whose homes of record were located in the Third Army area. Through 1963, more than 603,500 military personnel had been processed through the various stations of the Personnel Center . The mission of the Personnel Center included many types of personnel matters, and each company was organized to handle a particular type of personnel processing.
5th Division Reactivated Here
The famous 5th Division, which had been stationed at Fort Jackson during World War I, was reactivated in July 1947 as a training division in the Army’s wise desire to give the trainees a feeling of belonging to a famous division. Later when it was expected that the over-all strength of the ground forces would be increased, the 5th Division sent cadre personnel to Camp Chafee to form the 5th Armored (Training) Division.
When the Post became the home of the 5th Division, commanded by Major General George H. Decker, approximately $5,000,000 was spent to make it, by every standard, the best replacement center in the United States .
As a primary mission of the 5th Division was the training of recruits, many problems were encountered relating to the individual soldier’s transition from civilian home life to the group living of the Army. In many cases these young people were living away from home for the first time and had difficulties in making the adjustment. The Inspector General Section operated on an “open door” policy, hearing complaints and informational requests at all hours, thus the number registered was considerably higher than would ordinarily be considered normal for an installation of this size; e.g., during the period 1 July-31 December 1948, there were 37 formal and 17 informal investigations completed by the Inspector General.
The Personnel Center continued to process inductees until 1950. At that time Fort Jackson was named as one of the installations to be closed in an effort to save on cost of defense. On 25 April 1950, with the strains of “Auld Lang Syne,” the 5th Infantry Division went out of existence as its colors were retired, thus eliminating a need for the Personnel Center.
2d Infantry Regiment
At the end of hostilities in Europe in 1945, the 2d Infantry left Europe and returned to Camp Campbell, Kentucky, to be deactivated. In 1947, the 1st Training Regiment was transferred from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to Fort Jackson . On 15 July 1947, the 1st Training Regiment was redesignated as the 2d Infantry Regiment at Fort Jackson .
This being a training unit, it was naturally expected that a great flow of personnel would take place among trainees. However, cadre movements also represented an important phase of that period. These movements presented problems in administration, training procedures, and military doctrine, but were overcome and contributed to the primary objective.
In March 1950, the 2d Infantry Regiment, one of the United States Army’s oldest organizations, was deactivated here after more than a century and a half of service in peace and in war. With a military record covering 159 years, its battle streamers and ribbons represented participation in practically every campaign since 1791. In all, the 2d had been awarded 31 battle streamers and 84 battle honors. The streamers were added to the regimental colors one by one and a silver band for each battle honor was intended to be added to the staff; but the War Department discontinued the practice in 1904, just about the same time the 2d Infantry was running out of space.
Lieutenant Colonel Bennett Riley presented a baton, suitably engraved, to the 2d Infantry Band in 1843. Later, following the fall of Chapultepec Fortress in Mexico, the shaft of the baton was replaced with wood from the flagstaff there.
The last Commanding Officer, Colonel August E. Schanze, took a deep personal interest in reassembling the trophies and mementoes of the Regiment. All were located except the regimental punch bowl and accompanying silver cups, which have eluded discovery.
The mission of the 2d Infantry Regiment at Fort Jackson was to train recruits in basic military skills prior to the transfer of the individuals to duty with field or service units. Sharing this task with the 2d were the 10th Infantry, the 11th Infantry, the division artillery units and the many service troops for supply and administration.
Although the 2d Infantry colors were cased for the last time, the courage of its soldiers through 159 years of service to the Nation will continue to provide a shining example for military men of today and tomorrow.
Fort Prepares For “Standby” Status
On 30 April 1950, Fort Jackson prepared for a “standby” status. A few hundred men who served as caretakers and aided in the training of National Guard units sent to the Post for summer training were all that remained of the former great military force of this installation.
History Chapter 3: 1950-1963
THE LATER YEARS
The standby status for the fort never came. With the outbreak of the Korean War, the 8th Infantry Division was reactivated at Fort Jackson for the third time in 32 years as a training division. Composed of the 13th, 28th, 61st Infantry and their supporting units, this Division was ordered into active status under the command of Brigadier General Frank C. McConnell on 17 August 1950.
As buildings became available, the Exchange gradually broadened its operations and became more diversified in services provided. This continued until deactivation of the Post in June 1950. Upon reactivation of the Post in October 1950, the Exchange was re-established and has maintained uninterrupted service since that time.
Reception Station Established
In July 1950 the United States, with other members of the United Nations, came to the defense of South Korea and once again Fort Jackson became a “bee hive” of activity. All during the Korean conflict the Personnel Center processed inductees, averaging 300 men per day. Regulations were established limiting the number of days inductees were allowed to remain in the Center.
Department of the Army General Orders No. 11, 1 April 1960, discontinued the Personnel Center, but on 22 April 1960, Third US Army General Orders No. 92 established the United States Army Reception Station at Fort Jackson. It has remained a Third US Army activity since that time, and its mission has been generally the same.
The three to five days of processing the individual received at the US Army Reception Station eliminated the majority of complex problems the Army faced in getting the best man for each available job. When the new soldier boarded transportation for basic combat training, few personal problems remained unsolved. Many believe a first impression is lasting, and every endeavor was made to raise the image of the Army in the new soldier’s eyes.
The US Army Reception Station sought methods to improve its operation without loss in quality. With personnel specialists, both military and civilian, some of the best processed soldiers in the United States Army were sent from the Fort Jackson Reception Station.
Korean War Affects Hospital
At this time, the main hospital at Fort Jackson again experienced change. On 30 June 1950, the facility was deactivated, and the Post maintained only a dispensary until 15 August 1950, at which time the hospital was reactivated as the United States Army Hospital, Fort Jackson, South Carolina .’
At the beginning, the United States Army Hospital had an operating capacity of 400 beds. In the following months, the capacity varied, and on 1 January 1951, it was 350 beds. On 1 April that authorization was increased to 850, and stayed at that level throughout the year.
Expansion and relocation of various services and clinics took place at the hospital in 1951. Included in this, among others, were the Laboratory, which added new departments, and the Obstetrical Service, which moved into a new ward.
In 1951, there were newly activated medical units assigned to Fort Jackson . The 917th Medical Ambulance Company (Sep), a former Kentucky National Guard Unit, was activated and ordered to Fort Jackson, as was the 923d Medical Ambulance Company (Sep), a former Missouri National Guard Unit. In addition, on 27 August, the 7th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital was activated and its members contributed much to the instruction of hospital procedures to the US Army Hospital enlisted men toward the end of the year.
The hospital’s authorized staff was considered too small insofar as doctors and nurses were concerned throughout 1951. A rapid increase in patients who were ill with upper respiratory infections during the early part of the year placed a tremendous hardship on the few doctors assigned, but the hospital’s high standards were maintained. Later, however, more doctors were added to the staff.
In January 1951 the 31st Infantry Division, nicknamed the “Dixie Division” and made up of National Guard Units from Alabama and Mississippi, was ordered to active duty at Fort Jackson .
Investigation by Senate Subcommittee
Adverse publicity struck Fort Jackson in February 1951 when a news release containing information about inadequate conditions was circulated. As a result, a United States Senate Committee on the Armed Forces Preparedness Sub-Committee visited the Post and inspected facilities on 27-28 February and 1 March l95l)- Fort Jackson was faced with many problems. Training 6,000 men per month for Korea severely taxed the outdated facilities of a Fort that was in the process of discontinuing basic training activities only nine months earlier.
The problems of Fort Jackson were the problems of the times. The Army’s rapid increase in size had created supply difficulties. Most of the structures on Post were temporary, frame buildings constructed between 1939 and 1941. Time had rendered many of these inadequate. Tents were heavily relied upon in furnishing housing for the troops. Selection, training and stabilization of cadre personnel were a serious training problem. While medical care was adequate, both the hospital facility and the medical personnel were greatly taxed. An arrangement had been made with local civilian physicians, who consulted and treated military patients without cost to the Army; this solution to the problem brought high praise from the Sub-Committee, but it also emphasized that the condition should be remedied by the Army as soon as possible. Representing the Committee medically was Dr. Charles W. Mayo of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, New York, who reported favorably on the hospital and medical service.
Despite the problems, they found the food good and plentiful, and the training and administration of the Fort very satisfactory. While the furnaces provided “heat, smoke and soot in somewhat equal quantities, they were deemed adequate. The trainees “understood” and the morale was satisfactory.
Lyndon B. Johnson, Chairman, Preparedness Sub-Committee, signed the investigation report.
Hospital Authorization Fluctuates
During 1952, there was a gradual cutback in bed authorizations at the hospital, ranging from a high of 850 on 1 January 1952 to a low of 625 on 1 October. Much trouble was experienced in the personnel area, for there was considerable turnover, particularly in the enlisted ranks. Replacement personnel consisted almost entirely of Korean returnees and inductees from the 8th Infantry Division (Training) of Fort Jackson . While the trainees selected were fundamentally well qualified as a group, many of the returnees lacked the basic requirements of technicians on duty at a fixed installation, for most of their medical background came from combat experience.
Turnover in duty personnel continued to be a paramount problem for the hospital in 1953. Normal requisition channels supplied few qualified replacements, and it was necessary to take basic trainees in for special instruction in hospital procedures. In addition, there was considerable difficulty en countered throughout the year in obtaining specialists essential to hospital operation, including optometrists, medical equipment repairmen, and specialized medical officers.
On 5 March 1953, the Board of Commissioners of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals visited the hospital and conducted a survey of the premises to determine whether or not it should be accredited. Their findings were favorable, and on 19 April 1953 official word was received that the hospital was fully accredited.
Echoes of enemy machine guns and bursting shells near Bran court, France, on 11 October 1918 in World War I, are part of the past. Hundreds of soldiers completing basic training at Fort Jackson march on the field during their graduation parade, a highlight of their early training. Few of them ever forget the site of their first full-scale parade. Hilton Field was established in November 1953 in honor of a South Carolina native who was awarded this Nation’s highest military honor, the Medal of Honor.
Sergeant Richmond Hobson Hilton, a native of Westville in Kershaw County, merited this honor on 11 October 1918, while serving with “M” Company, 118th Infantry (Palmetto Regiment), a South Carolina National Guard Unit fighting with the Army Expeditionary Forces in Europe .
With America ’s entrance into World War I, Hilton’s Guard Unit was mobilized, and assigned to the 30th Infantry Division, which trained at Fort Jackson . On 4 July 1917, they were sent to Ypres, France .
On 11 October 1918, battle weary troops of “M” Company were approaching Brancourt, France . They entered the town, and proceeded to pass through, when they were stopped by head-on fire from enemy automatic weapons. A quick survey of the immediate area disclosed that this fire came from a machine-gun nest in the shell holes on the edge of the village.
Sergeant Hilton pressed toward the gun position with a few men. They assaulted the machine-gun nest with their rifles until their ammunition was exhausted. Then Sergeant Hilton continued forward alone, blasting away with his pistol. In minutes he had killed six enemy defenders and captured 10 others. A bursting shell shattered his right arm, which was later amputated.
After regaining his physical strength in several Army hospitals, Sergeant Hilton was discharged on 21 March 1919.
For his part in that October battle, Sergeant Hilton received the Medal of Honor and the Purple Heart Medal. He was cited for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy.”
Back in the States as a civilian, Hilton studied at Oak Ridge Military Academy of North Carolina for one year, then studied at the University of South Carolina, where he obtained his law degree in June 1924.
Hilton then went to Camden where he was elected County Master, a position he held until 1 February 1928, when he became Assistant State Service Officer in Columbia, South Carolina. In September 1930 Hilton resigned this position to begin practicing law.
In 1932 he was elected Commander of the South Carolina American Legion, a post he was holding when he drowned at Lake Murray near Columbia in 1933. A boat in which he was riding overturned. There is a monument to Hilton in Camden, where he is buried.
Continuity of Change
On 15 May 1954, the 8th Infantry Division was transferred to Camp Carson, Colorado, minus personnel and equipment. It was immediately replaced by the famed 101st Airborne (Screaming Eagle) Division, defenders of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. The 101st stayed until 16 March 1956, at which time it was sent to Fort Campbell, Kentucky .
Reorganization took place at the hospital on 15 July 1955, to conform with other Class I United States Army Hospitals as prescribed by regulations. One part of the hospital affected by the reorganization was the Personnel Division, which was re-established as the Troop Command.
A new hospital was envisioned at Fort Jackson in August 1955 when news was received that President Eisenhower had signed a Military Construction Bill that authorized five million dollars for that purpose. The new hospital never became a reality, however, for release of the funds was never approved by the Bureau of the Budget.
While waiting for a new hospital to be built, a modernization program was begun at the existing facility. In 1955, the exteriors of all the hospital’s buildings were painted, and during the following year, the interiors were painted. Also included in that program were the air conditioning of several buildings, the installation of a remote control dictating system, and the re location of the Dental Prosthetic Laboratory.
From a little more than two months before the Korean War ended to 1 April 1955, the United States Army Hospital ’s authorized bed capacity remained at 600. From the 1955 date through the following year, however, a steady decrease in bed authorizations occurred, with a low of 350 on 1 April 1956. On 15 February 1956, Secretary of the Army Wilbur M. Brucker visited Fort Jackson and made a tour of the training facilities here.
Fort Designated as US Army Training Center, Infantry
On 16 March 1956, Fort Jackson was formally designated the United States Army Training Center, Infantry, as some 10,000 troops paraded on Hilton Field and colors were changed in the ceremonies. Colors of the 101st Airborne Division, formerly stationed here, were transferred to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where it was organized as a tactical unit.
This action was part of a new Department of the Army policy to provide training centers with designations more clearly defining the mission of the particular Army installation. Major General F. S. Bowen, Jr., Post and Army Training Center Commander, acted as reviewing officer, with Brigadier General James W. Coutts, Assistant Commander, serving as commander of troops.
Fort Jackson personnel at this time donned the patch of the Third United States Army, with headquarters at Fort McPherson, Georgia . The patch was a white “A” on a blue field, surrounded by a red circle, which is still being used today. The 101st Division had been a basic infantry and schools training unit since being assigned to Fort Jackson in May 1954. The responsibility for training would now rest with Fort Jackson as an Infantry Training Center .
Effective 1 August 1956, the Dental Service, which had formerly been under the control of the United States Army Hospital, was reassigned to components of Station Complement. Dental Detachment personnel, however, remained assigned to the Dental Detachment Station Complement, 3431st Service Unit, which had been designated as such on 16 March 1956.
Having the hospital housed in the cantonment-type buildings that were constructed before World War II continued to cause massive problems for the hospital staff during the ensuing years. The maintenance of the physical plant, with the repair of aged utility systems was of constant concern, and tended to dull the incentive of personnel assigned.
On 25 August 1956, Major General F. S. Bowen, Jr., departed Fort Jackson . As Post Commander he had taken a leading role in establishing policies aimed at increasing the prestige of the noncommissioned officers corps. Under his leadership, separate private quarters were assigned to bachelor Master Sergeants. This move greatly increased the morale of the corps.
Brigadier General N. A. Costello, Deputy Commanding General of Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, arrived here on Friday, 21 September 1956, to assume command of Fort Jackson . An Escort of Honor ceremony welcomed him, with music furnished by the combined 282d and 291st Army Bands. The 4th Training Regiment provided the Honor Guard.
The Language Qualification Unit
During this period, a unique group of trainees marched to class every morning in the 4th Training Regiment. Former freedom fighters from Hungary and others from Communist-dominated countries in the Balkans, they spent their first 20 weeks in the United States Army at one of the Army’s most unusual schools — the Language Qualification Unit. The school, which moved to Fort Jackson in early 1956 from its original location at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, trained aliens in the United States Army rudiments of the English language, and the traditions and history of the prospective American’s adopted country.
The training at Fort Jackson in 1957 was basically the same as it had continued through the years, except as it had been updated through modern technology.
Basic training, the first eight weeks of Army life for every soldier, was designed to teach a man the rudiments of soldiering. It prepared him for combat, not only militarily and physically, but also emotionally and spiritually. In short, it was the transition period from civilian to soldier.
Actually, the program began a few days before the formal eight-week training period. During that time, he was assigned to a training company, learned his duties in garrison, was issued equipment and taught how to maintain it, and generally discovered what was expected of him by his superiors in matters of discipline.
Once formal training began, the trainee followed a daily schedule filled with intense and concentrated instruction. The first two weeks were devoted to familiarization with elementary drills and ceremonies. These were designed to impart discipline and military tradition. Learning to work together and to respond instantly and correctly to verbal commands molded the trainees into smooth-running military units, ready for more advanced instruction.
Also included in the first two-week block of instruction was extensive training in first aid, military courtesy, and chemical, biological, and radio logical warfare. Of continually increasing importance, the chemical, biological and radiological training taught the recruit to protect himself in almost all combat situations involving gas, germ, or atomic attack. Character guidance instruction, administered by Army chaplains, explained the interrelation of spiritual and patriotic values.
In the third and fourth weeks (later changed to the fourth, fifth and sixth weeks) trainees concentrated on rifle marksmanship. This instruction, called “TRAINFIRE,” replaced the century-old method of stationary targets placed at known distances on a rifle range. The men fired at electrically- controlled targets which “popped up” at varying distances amid bushes, trees, and other natural terrain features. The basic concept behind TRAINFIRE was to present the recruit a simulated combat-firing situation for his rifle training.
After two weeks of TRAINFIRE instruction, the recruits were ready to qualify on the record range with the Ml rifle, the basic infantry weapon. In a competitive spirit, each man fired 112 rounds which were recorded to see how well he had mastered the weapon.
Instruction in the fifth and sixth weeks applied previous training to combat situations. In day and night tactical training, the recruit learned how to negotiate barbed wire and other artificial obstacles, crawling low on the ground, with his weapon carefully cradled in his arms. The recruits also received instruction in bayonet and hand-to-hand combat.
Approximating most closely the grim realities of combat was the infiltration course. This 100 yards of sand, barbed wire entanglements, and other obstacles was the trainee’s simulated “baptism of fire.” He had to crawl the course three times, once at night, as live machinegun rounds snapped a few feet overhead from specially prepared emplacements. Hugging the ground, the men dodged simulated artillery bursts and crawled through or over barriers and ditches.
In the seventh week, each basic training company moved into the field for bivouac. After marching some 13 miles, the recruits set up two-man shelter tents in the bivouac area. During their week-long stay in the temporary camp, the recruits learned to live in the field and continued their tactical training.
The final week was devoted to review and testing. Trainees were put through a proficiency examination to determine their knowledge of all they learned during the eight weeks. They also took a final physical training test to measure their increase in strength and endurance over the eight- week period.
The entire eight-week cycle had been interspersed with lectures in character guidance, troop information, and supply economy. These lectures, combined with the more active portion of the training, provided the trainee with a sound basis in the elements of modern warfare.
After basic, the recruit went on to an additional eight weeks of advanced training. This was designed to teach him the particular skills he must learn in order to perform his job in the Army. They could vary from advanced infantry training to basic Army administration and similar subjects. Fort Jackson ’s 3d Training Regiment taught advanced infantry tactics and received recruits from other Army basic training centers as well as graduates from Fort Jackson basic training units.
Advanced Individual Training gave each individual practical instruction in all the weapons organic to the Infantry company. An addition to this pro gram was the new 7.62 mm family of weapons, including the Nl4 rifle and the M60 machine gun. The new M79 grenade launcher had also been integrated into the training. The objective of the training was to qualify each individual with a Military Occupational Specialty of either ill (Light Weapons Infantry Leader) or 112 (Heavy Weapons Infantry Leader).
In addition, while undergoing Basic Unit Training the soldier was subjected to simulated combat conditions. Working in units ranging in size from the squad to the company, the men were presented problems which covered many aspects of Infantry tactics, including live fire assaults, defensive fighting, attacks on cities and across rivers, and many other realistic field situations.
Both Advanced Individual Training and Basic Unit Training were conducted by the 3d Training Regiment (Infantry) at Fort Jackson . The Regiment had the responsibility for training both Active Army and Reserve Forces Act personnel in Advanced Individual Training and Basic Unit Training. Since its organization and activation in March of 1956 through 1963, the 3d Regiment had qualified more than 50,000 men as Infantrymen. As originally organized, the Regiment consisted of four battalions – the 11th, 12th, 13th, and 14th.
Other trainees were assigned to various specialist training schools on the basis of aptitude scores achieved during administration of the Army’s battery of aptitude tests. The test results indicated each individual’s best fields of interest and ability.
Specialist schools at Fort Jackson, conducted by the 4th Training Regiment, included Intermediate Speed Radio Operation, Field Communications, and Supply, in addition to the Basic Army Administration, and Light Vehicle Operation and Maintenance courses.
On Friday of the last week of Basic Combat Training, the trainee joined the rest of his battalion in an impressive parade to pass in review before the Commanding General and visitors who had come to witness the occasion.
One trainee from each company was selected as the “Outstanding Trainee” in his unit, in recognition of his leadership ability, military bearing, and training proficiency. During the first part of this colorful review, the out standing trainees marched “front and center” along with the national colors and regimental flags and guidons, and were presented a scroll by the Commanding General.
The day following graduation (usually a Saturday morning) was known as “shipping day.” The trainee normally received a 14-day leave after completing Basic Combat Training and departed on shipping day.
In 1958 Fort Jackson continued its mission to train individuals as replacements for assignment to units in the United States and overseas. There were 305 training areas, 75 ranges, 169 miles of roads, with 345,047 square feet of warehouses. The Annual Funding Program (Fiscal Year 1958) was $14,117,100.
To provide realistic training for basic trainees, the 7th Battalion, 2d Training Regiment organized an “aggressor force’ to attack each company as it moved into overnight bivouac. The companies learned quickly the importance of internal control and the proper spacing of flank guards as they were compelled to be alert against a common enemy. The “SWAMP RAT” aggressor forces, as they were called, were commanded by Captain Richard Beach and Second Lieutenant Harry E. Hearn.
In March 1958 the 48th Ordnance Detachment began “Operation Life Saver,” an all-out drive to inspect and disarm all war souvenirs which were endangering the lives of Fort Jackson personnel and civilians in the Columbia area. Many veterans of World War II and Korea brought home trophies which they considered safe, but which were actually dangerous, even though many years old.
Major General William C. Westmoreland, Commanding General of the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and a native of Pacelot, South Carolina, arrived on 21 March 1958 for a three-day visit at Fort Jackson . The General inspected the 9th Battalion, which consisted of four companies of basic trainees who had just completed their first week of training. After an aerial flight over the Post, accompanied by General Woodward, General Westmoreland then visited the Comptroller’s Office for a briefing of its activities.
On 24 March 1958, Major General George W. Hickman, Jr., Judge Advocate General of the US Army, visited Fort Jackson to dedicate the new Post Court Room . The new room, divided into three parts – the court proper, the deliberation room, and the witness room – had a capacity of about 50 persons. The building, renovation of which had begun in January, was constructed at the bidding of General Costello, in line with his keen interest in military justice. The dedication was presided over by Lieutenant Colonel Henry W. Witcover, Staff Judge Advocate of Fort Jackson, with Chaplain (Colonel) Loren T. Jenks, Post Chaplain, offering the invocation and benediction.
In April 1958, Fort Jackson literally began “cooking with gas” as 17 company mess halls were converted from soft coal to LP gas. The gas con version was part of a quarter-of-a-million dollar Post improvement program approved by Third US Army. Included in the program were mess halls in the 1st and 2d Training Regiments to be converted to gas for cooking, water heating, and space heating; quarry tile floors to be installed in the kitchens to replace concrete flooring; a supplementary water accelerator to be built at the water treatment plant to increase the water purification facilities; WAC barracks’ bath facilities to be modernized with ceramic tile floors, new showers and fixtures, and floor-to-ceiling wallboard; six miles of access roads to the new TRAINFIRE ranges to be surfaced with bituminous paving material; the heating systems in 37 administrative buildings were to be renovated; and new piping was to be installed in the living quarters of the Gregg Circle area.
Major General N. A. Costello, Commanding General of Fort Jackson, relinquished command of the Post 29 May 1958 to take over as Commanding General of the 7th Infantry Division in Korea .
Brigadier General Christian H. Clarke, Jr., assumed command of Fort Jackson in June 1958. He came directly from duty in Mexico City, where he was military attaché at the embassy.
New TRAINFIRE Ranges Developed
TRAINFIRE I Range – Prototype for the Army. – In July 1958 began one of the most outstanding examples of new concepts of training rifle marksmanship. It was developed and tested at Fort Jackson and then adopted on an Army-wide basis. Cost of construction was $549,800.
For many years recruits had learned to use their rifle by aiming at a bull’s-eye target on the firing range at distance of 100, 200, and 300 yards. While this system developed many sharp shooting soldiers, it had its defects. On a battlefield a soldier often doesn’t have an opportunity to see the enemy clearly, to know the exact range or to get into a perfect firing position. As a result, it was found that less than 257 of the riflemen in a combat situation fired their rifles at all. Clearly, something had to be done. The result was TRAINFIRE. Its big advantage was that it introduced realism into the training situation. In TRAINFIRE I the basic trainee learns first to sight enemy riflemen who are partially hidden and to estimate the distance to this enemy. He learns to direct his fire not at a stationary bull’s eye, but at pop-up targets located at various distances in wooded areas.
Rifle Squad Tactical Ranges I, II, III, and IV. — These prototype ranges for the Army carry the TRAINFIRE I concept one step further. Each uses pop-up targets, but the men go through the course as fire and maneuver teams, there by combining tactics with technique of rifle fire. In an attack problem, the squad must maneuver properly and use supporting fire. In a defense problem, the squad will be rated on distribution of shots, in addition to the number of targets hit, as enemy targets advance up the hill to the squad’s position. Constructed at a cost of $799,284, these ranges were put into operation at Fort Jackson on 26 April 1966.
- RST Range I — Technique Fire Range teaches the soldier how to fire on various types of targets – linear, column, and point.
- RST Range II — Rifle Squad in Attack training is conducted, using blank fire for the first eight-hour period and live fire for the second six-hour period. On this range the soldier is taught how to use fire and movement.
- RST Range III — Battle Drill and Assault Fire Range – This range consists of one eight-hour period of instruction where the soldier learns how to utilize fire and movement, with techniques of fire range and assault fire techniques. He is also taught how to conduct the night assault and use night assault techniques.
- RST Range IV — Rifle Squad Defense Range – The soldier is taught the principles of both day and night defense. This consists of firing at the various type targets during day defensive firing, and how to engage various type targets using 20-meter bank of targets and 40-meter bank of targets during the night defense.
With a series of earth-shaking blasts, incendiary bomb duds that had been a menace since World War II on Lake Murray ’s Twin Islands near Columbia, South Carolina, were destroyed in the second week of June 1958. In charge of this project was the 48th Ordnance Detachment, which had been reorganized and sent to Fort Jackson on 6 August 1957. During the early days of the war the islands had been used as a bombing range by Air Force planes based at the Columbia Army Air Base. The islands, located about eight miles north of Lexington, were selected because of their relative isolation and because fires started by the bombs could spread no further than the water’s edge. The white stone cross used to mark the range bulls-eye can still be seen today. At the request of Lexington County officials, the Explosive Ordnance disposal unit, commanded by First Lieutenant Wm. Fiske, undertook the task of clearing the islands of unexploded bombs and bomb fragments. Approximately 2,200 duds were uncovered and destroyed.
Beginning of NCO Academy — Later Drill Sergeant School
The Army Trainer Academy was organized on 27 October 1958, in response to a directive from General Bruce C. Clarke, Commanding General of the United States Continental Army Command.
The Academy was the result of a need for a highly proficient corps of leader/trainer who could obtain maximum results from the high caliber of individuals in the service. General Clarke directed Major General Christian Clarke, Commanding General, Fort Jackson, to establish a program to increase the leader/trainer capability within the Noncommissioned Officer Corps. The Course provided essentials of the military profession that were common to all Noncommissioned Officers.
The Army Trainer Academy was redesignated the Fort Jackson Noncommissioned Officer Academy on 3 March 1959 by Major General Christian Clarke, Commanding General, Fort Jackson .
On 7 August 1959, Lieutenant General Clarke L. Ruffner, Commanding General, Third US Army, officially redesignated the Fort Jackson Noncommissioned Officer Academy as the Third United States Army Noncommissioned Officer Academy . Its mission: Raise the standard and quality of performance of Noncommissioned Officers, without regard to Military Occupational Specialty or duty assignment, with emphasis on the fundamental role — leader/instructor/supervisor.
On 29 September 1959, Fort Jackson soldiers worked in cooperation with the City of Columbia to keep the Lake Katherine dam just east of Columbia from breaking and flooding residences below the dam.
Fort System Saves Money
“The performance of a sports car and the mileage of a motor scooter – that’s what we want out of every taxpayer’s dollar.” Acting on these words by Major General Christian H. Clarke, quoted in an article in The State News paper on 4 October 1959, Post personnel redoubled their efforts to obtain maximum efficiency at minimum cost to the taxpayer.
Not even the rawest recruit escaped the impact of “supply economy.” This system, whereby every item of government property issued to him — or entrusted to his care — became his personal responsibility, saved the Government thousands of dollars in 1959. If an item was lost, damaged through negligence or harmed by misuse, the individual became liable to pay for re pairing or replacing it.
Additional Hospital Improvements
During 1959 further improvements were made in parts of the hospital. In October, the Eye Clinic and the Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) Clinic were combined into a single EENT Clinic, with a common waiting room, reception desk, and receptionist. A consolidation and relocation of the Pharmacy Service was also completed during the year, providing substantial economy and a superior service.
Facilities, Organization, and Mission
In 1960, the 2,646 World War Il-type temporary barracks constructed in 1941 presented a sizable maintenance workload. Dependent housing was limited and inadequate, with the exception of 27 officer apartments. There were 95 apartments, only 27 of which were considered adequate, available from a converted mobilization type World War II hospital, plus 325 “Lanham Act” apartments.
At this time the installation had 27,500 in population. The major mission was to provide administrative and logistical support to the US Army Training Center, the US Army Garrison, the US Army Reception Station, the US Army Hospital, various assigned and attached Table of Organization and Equipment (TOE) and Table of Distribution (TD) units, satellite units and activities, and Reserve Units conducting Summer Training here.
The major effort was directed toward the Replacement Training Program. The primary objective of this training was to qualify individual replacements for the Active Army.
There was, at that time, a combined headquarters, with the following elements reporting directly to it:
Special Troops. — Provided administrative and logistical support to troop units. Six TOE and TD units were attached to Special Troops for administrative and logistical support. These units were the 282d and 291st Bands, the 48th Ordnance Detachment, the 316th CIC Detachment, the 570th Army Postal Unit, and the 89th NP CI Company.
US Army Hospital — Operated with 450 authorized beds, with a normal expanded capacity of 1,100 beds and a mobilization capacity of 1,500 beds. The 7th Surgical Hospital ( Mobile ), a STRAC unit, was attached to the hospital.
US Army Reception Station — Received and processed personnel from Army Recruiting Main Stations and Induction Stations of the Third US Army area, and five States and the District of Columbia of the Second Army area. In Fiscal Year 1960, the Reception Station processed over 59,000 men.
Five Training Regiments — The five training Army Training Center and conducted basic combat, common specialist, and unit training. In Fiscal 79,000 graduates from this training. Also included in the training operations was the Third US Army NCO Academy. This Academy had the mission of raising the standards and quality of performance of noncommissioned officers, with emphasis on the fundamental role — Trainer, Leader, Supervisor. In Fiscal Year 1960, 535 noncommissioned officers graduated from this Academy.
On 31 August 1960, a total of 27,587 personnel were working and living on the installation, about 1,000 more than the average population in Fiscal Years 1959 and 1960.
A new medical unit was attached to the hospital in 1961. On 10 October, the 916th Surgical Hospital (Mobile Army), an activated reserve unit from Little Rock, Arkansas, was assigned to Fort Jackson as a result of the Army- wide buildup at that time. The 916th was attached until 7 August 1962, at which time the unit returned to Arkansas and its personnel were released from active duty.
The primary mission of Fort Jackson in programmed average of 14,470 trainees. For this mission and support function, the post had been allotted an Annual Funding Program of $13,331,000. However, for the first three months of the fiscal year, an actual average training load of 16,464 was handled, about 2,000 above the programmed load. With an inadequate Annual Funding Program, stringent economy measures were instituted.
Outstanding Management Improvement
The Third US Army Commander’s Award for the most outstanding management improvement during the period 1 October 1960-30 June 1961 was won by Fort Jackson .
There was a large requirement for ball and blank ammunition, demolition charges, rockets, etc., for infantry training. Maximum allowances frequently were drawn and expended.
To improve operations, training and demonstrations at the ranges were consolidated, rescheduling companies as necessary. Tactical problems were revised to reduce ammunition requirements without reducing training effectiveness. Expenditures of all types of ammunition explosives, smoke devices, etc., were reduced with no adverse effect on training. Annual benefits were estimated at $127,400.
The Leader School
The U.S. Continental Army Command (USCONARC) in 1957 had assigned to the Leadership Unit of the Human Research Organization the mission of developing a system for early identification, selection and training of qualified personnel. In 1957-58 the unit conducted background studies to determine just what type of program could be implemented. Out of these studies came four promising systems which were tested during 1959-60, and out of this came the one considered most feasible. This system was given a troop use feasibility test during 1961-62 at the Presidio of Monterey and Fort Ord, California .
In October 1961, two officers and eight noncommissioned officers from Fort Jackson attended a course of instruction conducted by the Leadership Unit of Human Research Organization at the Presidio on the implementation of a leader school. These men returned to Fort Jackson in December 1961 and began preparing lesson plans and selecting capable personnel to complete the Table of Distribution, and on 3 January 1962 the 3d Training Regiment (Infantry) established the Fort Jackson Leader School, receiving the first class on 15 January 1962.
Trainees selected for their leadership potential were enrolled in this school upon completion of their Basic Combat Training. Initially all men were required to attend eight weeks of Basic Combat Training, receiving the leadership potential rating during the fifth week. Upon completion of basic training, all men were granted two weeks leave.
The other trainees returned from their leaves and reported to their Advanced Individual Training companies for eight weeks of Advanced Individual Training. The trainee leaders, however, returned from their leaves and re ported to the Fort Jackson Leader School for two weeks of formal leadership instruction before going to their eight weeks of Advanced Individual Training. This gave the trainee leaders a total of 21 weeks in service from the time they entered until they completed their Advanced Individual Training, as com pared to only 19 weeks for the other trainees. While in one of the Advanced Individual Training companies, the trainee leaders also received eight weeks of on-the-job training as acting squad leaders and platoon guides in those companies. This gave each trainee an opportunity to apply the principles and fundamentals he had learned in the Fort Jackson Leader School .
Those who could do this successfully graduated at the end of the 10 weeks and received a certificate signed by the Commanding General and a notation on their records that the Leadership Preparation Course had been successfully completed.
More changes were made to the hospital in 1962 when it was re-piped with new hot and cold water systems. That and other improvements during the year cost more than $99,000.
A highly publicized outbreak of gastroenteritis (food poisoning) occurred during the Armed Forces Day celebration at Fort Jackson in 1962. Of about 4,000 spectators who attended the festivity, an estimated 600 persons became ill following a noon meal served by Army personnel. Records indicate that 181 persons were admitted to the United States Army Hospital, with an additional number receiving outpatient treatment.
New equipment played an important role in the United States Army Hospital in 1962. Such items as a new automatic film processor in the Radiological Service, a kinemometer in the Medical Service, and an automatic tablet counting machine in the Pharmacy added to progress in those areas.
Modern Infantry Training Conducted
In early 1963 the bulk of the reservation outside the cantonment was de voted to modern infantry training areas. There were 119 such areas. Fifty- three firing ranges, 21 target detection ranges and 18 TRAINFIRE ranges were among other facilities used to support the training mission.
The climate of this area was considered excellent for the conduct of infantry-type training. The sun shines an average of 64 percent of the time, and January, the coldest month, has shown a 64-year average of 47 degrees. Temperatures below 10 degrees Fahrenheit are rare, and rainfall averages 42 inches per year.
Four Tables of Distribution
At this period Fort Jackson was composed of four separate elements, each directed by the Commanding General:
- A United States Army Garrison
- The United States Army Training Center, Infantry
- A United States Army Reception Center
- A United States Army Hospital
For the purpose of effective command administration, technical support personnel of both the US Army Garrison and the US Army Training Center were assigned or attached to Headquarters Special Troops.
In addition to commanding the four major command elements, the Commanding General had the mission of providing service and support to stations and elements satellited on Fort Jackson and support to civilian component units.
National Support Given
During October-December 1962, this installation furnished 28 officers and 82 enlisted men for Exercise RAPID ROAD at Oxford, Mississippi . Also, 32 officers and 109 enlisted men were sent to Florida during the Cuban Crisis.
A Post Clemency Board was established during February 1963, and convened for the first time on 19 March 1963. This Board made recommendations for re training, clemency, reassignment, or such other action as was deemed necessary. This was a positive step in the rehabilitation of prisoners.
Maintenance Complex Established
Army Regulation 750-7, 18 February 1963, and Third US Army Regulation 750-9, 14 November 1963, directed this station to initiate action to consolidate all technical service field maintenance shops into a maintenance complex. The Ordnance Officer assumed the duties of Director of Maintenance on 15 April 1963, for the Consolidated Field Maintenance Activity. In June 1963, the pre sent Consolidated Field Maintenance Section was established by consolidating Ordnance Automotive and Armament Repair Shops, Signal Field Maintenance, and Quartermaster Field Maintenance.
Supply activities were fully consolidated under a Director of Supply on 1 July 1963. “Consolidated Services” was organized with a Director of Services on 1 October 1963.
On 17 December 1963, the five Training Regiments were reorganized and redesignated as the 1st, 2d, 3d, and 4th Training Brigades. This action took place in compliance with General Order No. 84, Headquarters Fort Jackson.
Horizontal Stock Fund
Fort Jackson was constantly seeking to find better management methods, less expensive habits, and more productive techniques to accomplish the mission, thus giving the taxpayer a better value for each dollar expended. Horizontal Stock Funding, as opposed to the former vertical system, was implemented at Fort Jackson on 1 July 1959, and was extended to all technical services except Transportation at that time. Horizontal Stock Funding materially enhanced supply operations at this installation.
Centralized Financial Inventory Accounting — Effective 1 July 1959, the Finance and Accounting Office was given the responsibility for insuring that financial inventory reports of the technical services were in balance with the installation general ledger and properly prepared before being forwarded to higher headquarters. In addition, the Finance and Accounting Office was responsible for preparing a deck of IBM cards for the Supply Management Report for higher headquarters. Centralized financial inventory accounting resulted in better control and reporting of the dollar value of stock fund and non-stock fund resources, the saving of several personnel spaces, and better utilization of property accounting personnel.
General John K. Waters, commander of the US Continental Army Command, toured this Infantry Training Center on 14 March 1963. After a 17-gun salute and a review in his honor on Hilton Field, General Waters attended a briefing on the mission, organization, and operation of the Training Center, to include data on the Cuban Volunteer Training Program. The General spent most of the day observing the various phases of the infantry training program, and declared that what he had seen was “most impressive.”
The Cuban Volunteer Program
One of the major projects undertaken by Fort Jackson during 1963 was the Cuban Volunteer Training Program. This project was taken over from Fort Knox, Kentucky, its original location, on directions from higher command. The pro gram was transferred from Fort Knox, where it had been in existence about five months, in December 1962.
On 17 December 1962 a team of eight officers, including Brigadier General Robert L. Ashworth, Deputy Commander of Fort Jackson, flew on short notice to Fort Knox . Their mission was to lay the groundwork for a transfer of the Cuban Training Program from Fort Knox to Fort Jackson .
With the return of the delegation on 19 December 1962, arrangements and coordination had been made for the transfer of the personnel and records, plans and responsibilities to Fort Jackson . The move took place immediately after the Christmas holidays.
On 2 January 1963 the bulk of the Spanish-speaking trainer cadre from Fort Knox arrived at Fort Jackson . The 1st Training Regiment was designated as the training agency for the Cuban Volunteers, and 1,700 Cuban trainees were received on 5 January 1963. They arrived by bus under the supervision of the part of the cadre which had remained at Fort Knox to direct the move.
The Cuban trainees had been in various stages of their 22-week training program at Fort Knox . When they arrived at Fort Jackson a two-day delay in training took place while reception, processing and various other adjustments were accomplished. The regimental structure was altered to establish a Spanish-speaking committee; personnel were placed on temporary duty to the 3d Training Regiment to form a special committee for Advanced Individual Training and Basic Unit Training; a special group was formed to teach basic English to the Cuban trainees; additions were made to the Table of Distribution to meet the needs of Cuban Training — an S-3 officer in each battalion and a regimental S-2 section. Lesson plans, applicable memoranda, regulations and circulars, notices, and signs in the regimental area were translated into Spanish.
From the time the Cuban Volunteer Program arrived at Fort Jackson, Cuban input continued steadily until early April, at which time 14 companies, totaling more than 2,700 Cubans, were in training. After this date input fell off sharply, and by 31 July 1963, arrival of Cubans had fallen to below the number required to fill one company a month.
2506th Brigade Training
During the latter part of February 1963, Fort Jackson prepared to institute what amounted to a subsidiary Cuban Program. This program was based on an anticipated input of 1,800 volunteers from the 2506th Cuban Brigade when it was released from Cuba . The new training program was to be modified to allow for prior military experience on the part of brigade personnel, and the age limit was raised from 35 to 50 years. Only a small fraction of the anticipated 1,800 volunteers actually entered the program, however, and intake was cut off on 19 March 1963 after only one company had been placed in cycle.
It was discovered that the Cuban Volunteers as a whole possessed less resistance to various diseases than is usually expected of American trainees. An example of this was the relative illness rate for the period 20 January to 7 February 1963. A daily average of 18.4 Cubans for every thousand in training was admitted to the hospital during this period as opposed to 4.4 American trainees admitted per thousand in training for the same period. Speculations as to the reasons underlying the trend toward less resistance on the part of the Cubans were as follows: malnutrition prior to arrival at Fort Jackson ; being unaccustomed to cold climates; and lack of previous exposure to the various diseases, which might have built up immunity.
Purpose of the Cuban Volunteer Program
Officially the Cuban Program had only one purpose: to provide gainful employment for the Cuban exile population in the United States . This purpose originated as a program of the US Department of Health, Education and Welfare, and resulted in inception of the program at Fort Knox . With the advent of the Cuban crisis, however, the program went through a subtle transformation of purpose. What had been previously looked upon as a group of men taking ad vantage of a government-sponsored employment opportunity appeared in the new role of a potential fighting force which had distinct advantages if an attack on Cuba ever became necessary.
During the period of the Cuban crisis, this second purpose prevailed. When the situation in Cuba cooled to a non-crisis level, the Cuban Program reverted to its original role as employment activity, but with a difference. As long as tension existed between the United States and Cuba, there was still the possibility that the Cuban volunteers might have special value as a fighting force, and the program continued through Fiscal Year 1963 with a mixed purpose.
In September 1963, the 1st Training Regiment phased out the Cuban Training Program, having trained approximately 2,700 Cubans in Basic Combat Training, Advanced Individual Training, and Basic Unit Training.
First USATC Commanders’ Conference
A four-day conference on problems common to Army training centers was held by the US Continental Army Command during 19-22 March 1963 at Fort Jackson . The conference was attended by 31 generals, 94 other top officers, and 12 civilians. It was the first such conference held in US Continental Army Command and attracted more generals than any other event ever held at Fort Jackson . Major General Charles S. D’Orsa, Commanding General of the installation, was host for the conference. Major General Richard J. Meyer, Deputy Chief of Staff in charge of individual training, US Continental Army Command, was Chairman of the conference.
The conference was in two phases, with the first two days of the four- day meet spent with the officers in small group conferences and committees. In those meetings fundamental problems pertaining to Army training centers were explored. Utilization of new weapons and equipment was considered, along with topics ranging from space allocation to operational psychology. All Thursday afternoon the men toured training areas throughout the Post and observed demonstrations of some of the Infantry weapons and techniques used here. General D’Orsa’s invention, the “trigger squeeze” device, aroused the most interest during the afternoon.
A retreat review was the climax Thursday when 1,600 soldiers passed in review at a retreat parade for General John K. Waters, Commanding General of US Continental Army Command, at Hilton Field. General D’Orsa and Major General Dillman A. Rash, Commanding General of the 100th Division, shared the reviewing stand with General Waters.
General Waters, Lieutenant General Louis W. Truman, Deputy Commanding General, US Continental Army Command; Major General Richard J. Meyer; Lieu tenant General Wm. H. S. Wright, Chief, Office of Reserve Components, Department of the Army, and the following General Officers were among the conferees:
- Major Generals
- Cassidy, William F. – Comdt, Engineer School
- Cushing, Eugene G. – CG, 104th Div (Tng)
- D’Orsa, Charles S. – CG, Ft Jackson
- Massad, Ernest L. – CG, 95th Div
- Meyer, R. J. – USCONARC
- Moses, L R. – Hq Fifth Army
- Parrish, Clemont C. – CG, 89th Div (Tng)
- Rash, Diliman A. – CG, 100th Div (Tng)
- Rhodes, Cooper B. – CG, 98th Div (Tng)
- Salet, Eugene A. – CG, Ft Gordon
- Seeman, Lyle E. – CG, Ft Leonard Wood
- Warren, F. N. – CORC, DA
- Wehle, Philip C. – CG, Ft Polk
- Brigadier Generals
- Ashworth, R. L. – DCC, Ft Jackson
- Cassidy, John J. – Asst Div Comdr, 78th Div (Tng)
- Caufield, Frank J. – CG, Ft Ord
- Degavre, C. B. – USCONARC
- Dueser, Carl – ADC, 85th Div (Tng)
- Evans, B. F. – USCONARC
- Finn, John M. – DCG, Ft Polk
- Harris, Hatsel L. – CG, 70th Div (Tng)
- Hewett, James D. – Asst Div Comdr, 76th Div (Tng)
- Neddersen, Richard H. – CC, 91st Div (Tng)
- Schulz, Robert P. – ADC, 84th Div (Tng)
- Thomas, Evert S. – CG, USATC, Ft Knox
- Tillson, John C. F., III – DCG, Ft Dix
- Webb, Willard – Asst CG, 80th Div (Tng)
On 26 March 1963, Fort Jackson was host at the Officers’ Open Mess for the first meeting of a newly-formed Columbia-Fort Jackson Community Relations Council. Brigadier General Robert L. Ashworth, Deputy Commanding General of Fort Jackson, presided in the absence of Major General Charles S. D’Orsa, who was away from the Post. The general objectives of the Council were to pro vide continuous formal and informal contact of key leaders from Fort Jackson and Columbia on matters relating to community activities. The Council was to be chaired jointly by Major General D’Orsa and Mayor Lester L. Bates. This Council provided an even greater bond of understanding and cooperation between Fort Jackson and Columbia . The second meeting of the Council was held on 2 May 1963 at the Market Restaurant on Assembly Street, with the City of Columbia as host.
In 1963, Fort Jackson was a bustling Post with an average of more than 23,000 officers and enlisted men and 1,800 civilian employees. Its recreational facilities included many lighted outdoor areas:
- a football stadium capable of seating 6,600, with cinder track
- a baseball stadium seating 3,200
- seven softball diamonds
- four tennis courts
- three modern swimming pools
- a golf driving range
Other facilities included a Post Field House, seating 3,500; five gymnasiums; four theaters; seven service clubs; five libraries; two arts and crafts shops; and a dayroom for each company. In addition, there was an 18-hole golf course, one of the finest in the armed services, and a new 24-lane bowling center — the most modern in the United States. There were also nine chapels in operation and a religious education center, with chaplains representing the Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish faiths.
Fort Jackson provided a balanced program for its personnel, from recreational and cultural to the religious, all within the reach of the individual as need arose. The post had progressed greatly since its early days as Camp Jackson . It exemplified the modern Army in both its rapid growth and the new methods of carrying out its training mission. New devices and techniques were utilized in the training program to develop alert and skilled soldiers.