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Fort Jackson South Carolina Military Base

Fort Jackson South Carolina

Fort Jackson South Carolina Military base

Fort Jackson South Carolina Military Base is a United States Army installation located in Columbia, South Carolina. It is the largest and most active Initial Entry Training Center in the U.S. Army. It is responsible for training more than 50 percent of all Army soldiers and 60 percent of female soldiers every year.

In this article, we will talk about where it is located, history, missions, facilities and and notable people.

Where is Fort Jackson located?

Fort Jackson is located in the central part of South Carolina. The base stretches over an expanse of more than 52,000 acres. In terms of sheer magnitude alone few other defense installations across the United States can match it. It’s surrounded by the cities of Columbia, Sumter, and Camden, and it’s situated along the Congaree River. The area’s close proximity to Columbia extends exceptional benefits to soldiers and their families. This is due to the ease of accessing essential amenities and services. Fort Jackson serves a vital role in the U.S. Army’s mission of maintaining a trained and ready force. Its main dedication is to transforming civilians into disciplined soldiers. This has made it into a cornerstone of military training in the United States.

When was Fort Jackson established?

Fort Jackson was established in 1917, during World War I. It was originally called Camp Jackson, and it was used to train recruits for the war effort. It was named in honor of President Andrew Jackson. He was a proud native hailing from South Carolina. Moreover, he ascended to become America’s seventh President. The utility of Camp Jackson understandably waned once the war subsided. However, destiny had other plans – it resurfaced as Fort Jackson at an opportune time during World War II preparations in 1940. Today we continue to rely on this storied military installation which has proved unequaled in readying our forces for war. Over the years, Camp Jackson evolved and expanded. And, went on to become the significant training installation known today as Fort Jackson.

Apart from just training, Fort Jackson also has a significant impact on the local community. It helps to contribute to the economy of the community. It employs a large number of military and civilian personnel. Moreover, its operations generate business for local vendors and service providers.

What is the primary mission of Fort Jackson?

The primary mission of Fort Jackson is to provide basic combat training (BCT) to new recruits in the United States Army. BCT is a ten-week program. It is designed to transform civilians into soldiers by teaching them essential military skills. The skills include physical fitness, discipline, and the Army’s core values. Notably, Fort Jackson’s impact extends beyond its presence in the community. It also stimulates employment growth and financial stability. As a notable location recognized as the “Gateway to the Army,” it marks one of many beginnings for aspiring soldiers.

Initial Entry Training Center

Fort Jackson serves as the largest and most active Initial Entry Training (IET) Center in the United States Army. The IET Center at Fort Jackson is responsible for training and preparing new recruits for their military careers. This includes providing Basic Combat Training (BCT) and Advanced Individual Training (AIT). They are trained for various military occupational specialties (MOS).

Basic Combat Training (BCT) is the initial training program for new recruits, which lasts for approximately ten weeks. During BCT, recruits undergo rigorous physical training. They also learn basic military skills, drills, and ceremonies. Moreover, they are taught marksmanship and receive instruction on Army values and leadership.

Following BCT, soldiers proceed to Advanced Individual Training (AIT). Here, they receive specialized training for their chosen MOS. AIT can vary in duration depending on the specific job and can last from a few weeks to several months. It provides more in-depth training. They are trained in the technical skills and knowledge required for specific military jobs. For example, infantry, logistics, engineering, healthcare, and more.

The IET Center is dedicated to shaping and transforming civilians into disciplined soldiers. It provides them with the necessary skills, and knowledge to serve in the U.S. Army effectively.

Individual Training Soldiers

Individual Training Soldiers, or IET Soldiers, are those who are going through training at the IETC. This includes basic training, Advanced Individual Training, and One Station Unit Training. Basic training lasts for 10 weeks, and it covers everything from drill and ceremony to marksmanship to physical fitness. Advanced Individual Training varies in length, depending on the soldier’s military occupational specialty. And, One Station Unit Training combines BCT and AIT into one, long course.

During AIT, soldiers receive training that is specific to their chosen MOS. This can range from combat-related jobs to technical and administrative roles. AIT programs at Fort Jackson cover a wide range of specialties. This includes infantry, logistics, engineering, and healthcare. It also includes signal support, military police, and more.

Advanced Training Soldiers

Advanced Training Soldiers, or AIT Soldiers, are those who have already completed basic training. They are now going through their advanced individual training. This training can last anywhere from four to 52 weeks. It is designed to prepare soldiers for their specific military occupational specialties. AIT Soldiers can be identified by their distinctive blue brassards, which they wear on their left arms.

The goal of advanced training is to ensure that soldiers have the necessary expertise. This is important so that Army personnel can effectively perform their assigned tasks. Moreover, it is also important for making significant contributions toward achieving mission readiness. They receive specialized training in several areas. For instance, advanced weapons systems, technical equipment operation, and maintenance. They receive training in areas like medical procedures, communications systems, and logistics operations.

Drill Sergeant School

The Drill Sergeant School is located at Fort Jackson, and it’s where drill sergeants receive their training. Drill sergeants play a key role in the training of new soldiers, so they must undergo extensive training themselves. The Drill Sergeant School provides instruction, guidance, and evaluation to drill sergeant candidates. This prepares them to assume the duties and responsibilities of a drill sergeant. The Drill Sergeant School is a demanding program. It includes everything from leadership development to marksmanship to physical fitness. The school also covers military history, military justice, and Army regulations. Upon successful completion, graduates are awarded the distinctive drill sergeant hat and badge. This signifies their qualification to serve as drill sergeants. They are then assigned to BCT units across the Army. Here, they will play a critical role in training and mentoring new soldiers.

At the end of their training, soldiers participate in a graduation ceremony at Fort Jackson. Family members and friends are often invited to witness this milestone event. At this event, soldiers receive their Army service hats. With this, they are officially recognized as U.S. Army soldiers.

What are the facilities at Fort Jackson?

There are many facilities at Fort Jackson. Let us take a look at those facilities:

Gate 2 & Post Exchange

Gate 2 is one of the main entrances to the base. Gate 2 provides access for authorized personnel and visitors. It is also the gate for vehicles entering or exiting Fort Jackson. The PX or Post Exchange is a military department store where soldiers can buy supplies, groceries, and other necessities. The PX is a busy hub of activity on the base, and it’s an important part of life at Fort Jackson. It provides a convenient shopping option for military personnel and their families. And, it offers products at competitive prices and often with tax-free benefits. The PX at Fort Jackson provides essential items and services. It helps to meet the needs of the military community on the installation.

Andrew Jackson Statue

The Andrew Jackson Statue is another great landmark on the base. It’s located at Hilton Field, and it depicts President Andrew Jackson. It’s made of bronze, and it’s about 20 feet tall. It depicts Andrew Jackson wearing a military uniform. His right arm is carrying a sword, and he’s holding a hat in his left hand. There’s also an inscription on the base of the statue that reads, “Whose name this post proudly bears”.

Military Personnel Office (MPO)

The Military Personnel Office, or MPO, is also located at Fort Jackson. It’s a vital part of the base since it handles all personnel-related matters for soldiers and their families. The MPO can assist with things like housing, pay, travel, and more. It’s basically the one-stop shop for anything related to military life.

Jim Croce Memorial Park

Honoring one of America’s greatest musical icons – Jim Croce – lies The Jim Croce memorial park on the base. The serene green park stands as a modern-day tribute to this talented singer-songwriter. He graced us with some timeless classics during the early ’70s. Unfortunately, this was before losing his life abruptly to a catastrophic plane crash incident back in ’73. It’s a peaceful place to visit and reflect. It is a notable point of interest for fans of Jim Croce and those visiting Fort Jackson.

Leonard Nimoy Visitor Center & Museum

The Leonard Nimoy Visitor Center & Museum is another great place to visit on the Fort Jackson base. It’s dedicated to the actor Leonard Nimoy, who is best known for playing Spock on the original Star Trek TV series. The museum has a lot of information about the actor’s life and career, and it also features memorabilia from the Star Trek TV show and movies.

Fort Jackson FAQs


Is Fort Jackson still an active military base?

Yes, Fort Jackson is still an active military base. It’s actually the largest and most active Initial Entry Training Center in the US Army. It’s where thousands of new soldiers begin their careers each year. And, it’s also where many reservists and National Guard members receive their training. Fort Jackson has a long and proud history, and it continues to play an important role in the US military today.

What city is Fort Jackson South Carolina in?

Fort Jackson South Carolina is located in the city of Columbia. The base is just a few miles from downtown Columbia, and it’s also close to the city of Sumter. Many people who work on the base actually live in the surrounding communities, like Columbia, Sumter, and Blythewood.

What is the nearest airport to Fort Jackson South Carolina?

The nearest airport to Fort Jackson is the Columbia Metropolitan Airport, also known as CAE. It’s just a short drive from the base, and it offers nonstop flights to major cities like Atlanta, Charlotte, and Dallas. The airport also has a number of rental car options, so it’s easy to get from the airport to Fort Jackson.

How far is Charleston from Ft Jackson?

Charleston is 2 hours away from Ft Jackson. The base has a storied history of shaping some of America’s most elite soldiers. Meanwhile, guests visiting will be enchanted by picturesque attractions abounding throughout Charleston.

Notable people from Fort Jackson South Carolina

  • Jim Cook Jr.
  • Jim Croce
  • Jason Crow
  • Desmond Doss
  • James C. Dozier
  • Leonard Nimoy
  • Joe Plumeri
  • Geoff Ramsey
  • Freddie Stowers
  • Ken Berry

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