Fort Gordon Military Base Augusta Ga
For 65 years, 56,000-plus-acre Fort Gordon has served national defense with evolving missions as the nature of war has changed.
With America's involvement in the Second World War looming, a contract was set into place to build Camp Gordon on May 5, 1941, according to reports from The Augusta Chronicle.
The camp was built on land that contained several old rural communities in western Richmond County, including Pinetucky. Several historic family cemeteries from the old communities remain on post.
Fort Gordon was named for Georgian John B. Gordon, one of Robert E. Lee's generals, who served the state after the Civil War as governor and U.S. senator.
One of the first units to train at the camp was the famous 4th Infantry Division.
Led by Gen. R.O. Barton, who later became a well-known Augusta real estate executive, 4th infantrymen were the first to land on Utah Beach during the D-Day invasion of Normandy.
The fort also housed German and Italian prisoners of war from 1943 to 1945. The average prisoner population was more than 2,000, according to the fort's command historian office.
As the war ended, about 90,000 returning soldiers were discharged from Camp Gordon through April 1946. The camp became a "virtual ghost city," the command historian office writes, as the separation center, the post hospital, the disciplinary barracks and other facilities were closed.
A looming Communist threat in Korea increased military activity, and the base once again began preparing soldiers for combat. In 1948, a Signal Corps training center for Army communicators and a Military Police School for law enforcement were established. In 1956, the camp became a permanent Army installation.
In the 1970's, the Army underwent several more reorganizations. The Military Police School moved to Fort McClellan, AL., and in 1974, all Army signal-school training was consolidated at Fort Gordon, making it the largest military telecommunications complex in the world.
As America has faced new threats of terrorism, Fort Gordon soldiers - from signal battalions to the 513th Military Intelligence Brigade - have played a part, from Afghanistan to Iraq.
The installation is taking a lead role in developing the "digitized battlefield," in which cutting-edge computer and communications techology unite commanders, troops and support elements instantly on the battlefield.
Military intelligence increasingly has become part of the post's critical missions, as construction is set to begin in 2007 on a new headquarters for NSA/CSS Georgia, formerly known as the Gordon Regional Security Operations Center.
Operated by the National Security Agency and the Defense Department, its specific operations are secret. Its general mission, though, has service members and intelligence personnel training others and listening to terrorist chatter.
The fort employs more than 2,800 civilians directly, has more than 2,700 contract employees and serves more than 27,600 members.
Fort Gordon's economic impect totals more than $1 billion.