Fort Benning

Fort Benning
Fort Benning
The United States Army Maneuver Center of Excellence
Part of Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC)
Forces Command (FORSCOM)
Special Operations Command (USSOCOM)
Georgia (United States)
MCoE flag.jpg
Maneuver Center of Excellence
Type Army post
Built October 1918
In use 1918 - Present
Controlled by United States Department of the Army Seal.svg United States Army
Garrison Units and tenant units
Location of Fort Benning in Georgia.

Fort Benning is a United States Army post located southeast of the city of Columbus in Muscogee and Chattahoochee counties in Georgia and Russell County, Alabama. It is part of the Columbus, Georgia, Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Fort Benning is a self-sustaining military community, which supports more than 120,000 active-duty military, family members, reserve component soldiers, retirees, and civilian employees on a daily basis. It is a power projection platform, and possesses the capability to deploy combat-ready forces by air, rail, and highway. Fort Benning home of the United States Army Armor School, United States Army Infantry School, the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, elements of the 75th Ranger Regiment, 3rd Brigade - 3rd Infantry Division, the 13th CSSB, and many other additional tenant units.

Since 1918, Fort Benning, Ga, has served as the Home of the Infantry. Since 1940, Fort Knox, KY., has served as the Home of the Armor. The Maneuver Center of Excellence transformation began as a result of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission's decision to consolidate a number of schools and installations to create "centers of excellence." Included in this transformation was the move of the Armor School to Fort Benning.[1]



Fort Benning is named for Brigadier General Henry L. Benning, a Confederate army general and a native of Columbus. It was established in October 1918 as Camp Benning, and was assigned permanent status in 1918. The base covers 182,000 acres (737 km²). During World War II, Fort Benning included 197,159 acres (797.87 km²) and had billeting space for 3,970 officers and 94,873 enlisted persons. The Chattahoochee River runs through Fort Benning, which straddles the Georgia/Alabama state line; 93 percent of Fort Benning is located in Georgia and 7 percent in Alabama.

Fort Benning's first mission was to provide basic training for units participating in World War I. With the end of that war, Benning was closed until the Army could find another use. The first tenant unit was the Infantry School, which General George Marshall commanded beginning in 1934.[2]:41 The Infantry School is still located at Fort Benning, as are the wooden permanent buildings completed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.

In 1940, the 2nd Armored Division was formed at Fort Benning; it first saw action in North Africa (Operation Torch) and the Pacific Theater of Operations.

During World War II Fort Benning became home to the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, known as the Triple Nickel. Their training began in December 1943 and was an important milestone for black Americans, as was explored in the first narrative history of the installation, Home of the Infantry.[3][4] The battalion, later expanded to become the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, was trained at Fort Benning but did not deploy overseas. During this period, the specialized duties of the Triple Nickel were primarily in a firefighting role, with over one thousand parachute jumps as smoke jumpers. The 555th was secretly deployed to the Pacific Northwest of the United States[citation needed] in response to the concern that forest fires were being set by the Japanese military using long-range incendiary balloons.

The Airborne School on Main Post has three 249-foot (76 m) drop towers called "Free Towers." They are used to train paratroopers. The towers were modeled after the parachute towers at the 1939 World's Fair in New York. Only three towers stand today; the fourth tower was toppled by a tornado on March 14, 1954.

The 4th Infantry Division, first of four divisions committed by the United States to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, reorganized and completed its basic training at Fort Benning (Sand Hill and Harmony Church areas) from October 1950 to May 1951, when it deployed to Germany for five years.

Luis Posada Carriles at Fort Benning, 1962

Between 1963 and 1964, in Fort Benning, Luis Posada Carriles received CIA training in explosives and sabotage.[5][6]

Fort Benning was the site of the Scout dog school of the United States during the Vietnam War, where the dogs trained to detect ambushes in enemy terrain got their initial training, before being transferred to Vietnam for further advanced courses.[7]

In 1984, following the signing of the Panama Canal Treaty, the School of the Americas relocated from Fort Gulick (Panama) to Fort Benning. After criticism concerning human rights violations committed by a number of graduates in Latin America, the school was renamed Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.

In 1988 Timothy McVeigh, Terry Nichols and Michael Fortier (the Oklahoma City bombing conspirators) met while in training at Ft Benning.[8]


MCoE DUI.jpg

Fort Benning and The Maneuver Center provide Agile, Trained, Adaptive, and Ready Soldiers and Leaders for an Army at War, while developing Future requirements for the Individual Soldier and the Maneuver Force, and providing a World Class Quality of Life for our Soldiers and Army Families![9]

The Infantry school transforms civilians into disciplined INFANTRYMEN that possess the Army Values, fundamental Soldier skills, physical fitness, character, confidence, commitment, and the Warrior Ethos to become adaptive and flexible Infantrymen ready to accomplish the mission of the Infantry.[10]

The Armor school educates, trains, and inspires America's Armored Soldiers and Leaders for a lifetime of service to the Nation; prepared to close with & destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver as part of a combined arms team.[11]

School of the Americas/Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation

One of the tenant units on Fort Benning is the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), the successor to the Army's School of the Americas.

The School of the Americas moved to Fort Benning in 1984 and trained more than 61,000 Latin American soldiers and policemen.[12] A number of them have been accused, or sentenced for human rights violations, such as Manuel Noriega (U.S.-supported dictator in Panama between 1983 to 1989),[13] Gonzalo Guevara Cerritos (responsible for the University of Central America massacre in 1989),[13][14] Hugo Banzer Suárez,[15] Leopoldo Galtieri, Efraín Ríos Montt, Vladimiro Montesinos, Guillermo Rodríguez, Omar Torrijos,[15] Roberto Viola,[15] Roberto D'Aubuisson (responsible for the killing of Salvadorean Archbishop Óscar Romero),[13][15] Victor Escobar, Juan Velasco Alvarado,[15][16][17] some of Augusto Pinochet's officers,[18][19] two-third of the militaries responsible for El Mozote massacre[20] and Héctor Jaime Fandiño Rincón (commander of one of the brigades responsible for the San José de Apartadó massacre).[21][22][23] In 1999, the United States House of Representatives voted to cut off funding for the school,[13] and in 2001, it changed its name: "So widely documented is the participation of the School's graduates in torture, murder, and political repression throughout Latin America that in 2001 the School officially changed its name to the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation."[15]

Post Information

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

Main Post

Main Post houses various garrison and smaller FORSCOM units of Fort Benning such as 36th Engineer Group, 988th Military Police Company, the 43rd Engineer Battalion, and the 29th Infantry Regiment, as well as a number of TRADOC-related tenants, e.g. the Officer Candidate School, the Non-Commissioned Officers Academy, and the Airborne School. Adjacent to Infantry Hall (the post headquarters building), is a monument, the Ranger Memorial.

Kelley Hill

Kelley Hill houses the 3rd Heavy Advise & Assist Brigade Combat Team of the 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized), the parent unit of four combined armed battalions; First Battalion, Fifteenth Infantry, Second Battalion, Sixty-ninth Armor, Third Squadron, First Cavalry Regiment, First Battalion, Tenth Field Artillery Regiment, and two support battalions; 3-3 BSTB, and 203rd BSB.

Sand Hill

Sand Hill is the primary location of the Infantry Training Brigade (198th Infantry Brigade) and the Basic Combat Training Brigade (192nd Infantry brigade). Sand Hill is also the location of the 30th AG Reception Battalion at Fort Benning.

Harmony Church

Harmony Church area houses the 2/29 Infantry Regiment Sniper School, the 1/29th Infantry Regiment (training support for Bradley Fighting Vehicles and Strykers), the United States Army Reconnaissance and Surveillance Leaders Course (RSLC) and the first phase of Ranger School. After the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission's decision to create the Maneuver Center of Excellence (MCoE), Harmony Church was designated as the new home of the US Army Armor School.

Command Group

MCoE shoulder patch.jpg

Current Command[24]

  • Post Commanding General, MCoE: MG Robert B. Brown[25]
  • Post Command Sergeant Major, MCoE: CSM Chris Hardy[26]
  • Commandant, U.S. Army Infantry School: BG Bryan R. Owens[27]
  • Command Sergeant Major, U.S. Army Infantry School: CSM Steven W. McClaflin[28]
  • Commandant, U.S. Army Armor School: BG Ted Martin[29]
  • Command Sergeant Major, U.S. Army Armor School: CSM Ricky W. Young[30]
  • Director of Capabilities Development and Integration, MCoE: Mr. Donald M. Sando[31]
  • Chief of Staff, MCoE: COL Terry L. Sellers[32]
  • Garrison Commander, MCoE: COL Thomas D. MacDonald[33]
  • Garrison Command Sergeant Major, MCoE: CSM Mark E. Moore[34]
  • Deputy Garrison Commander, MCoE: Mr. George W. Steuber[35]

Units and Tenant Units

MCoE Seal.jpg


Fort Benning was selected by the Base Realignment and Closing Commission to be the home of the new Maneuver Center of Excellence (MCoE). This realignment will co-locate the United States Army Armor Center and School,[37] currently located at Fort Knox, Kentucky, with the Infantry Center and School.[38] This transformation is expected to be completed September 2011.[39][40]

In popular culture


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

  • The Army in Overalls (1941), a short documentary
  • Parachute Battalion (1941)
  • The Green Berets (1967), filmed at Fort Benning and in downtown Columbus
  • Jumping Jacks (1951), filmed at Airborne School and Harmony Church, Fort Benning
  • Tank (1983); the movie's world premiere occurred on base in 1984
  • A Time To Triumph (1985)
  • Your Mother Wears Combat Boots (1989); the movie was filmed at the Military Clothing & Sales Store, Airborne School, Airborne School headquarters, the original barracks which housed the 555th Parachute Infantry Regiment as well as the current location of the training sites. The location where they're running in formation in the forest was on the, then, newly paved tank trail on Kelley Hill.
  • The General's Daughter (1999); based on the 1992 Nelson DeMille novel of the same name.
  • Black Hawk Down (2001); Depicts the Battle of Mogadishu with 3rd Ranger Battalion, which is based at Fort Benning
  • We Were Soldiers (2002); notable locations include the 249' Controlled Descent Towers on Eubanks Field, the officer housing area along South Lumpkin Road, and Doughboy Stadium
  • The Essence of Combat: Making 'Black Hawk Down' (2002) Documentary featuring behind the scenes material and interviews with the cast, crew and actual US Army Rangers.
  • Return To El Salvador (2010)[41]


  • In the pilot episode of M*A*S*H, it is revealed that Margaret Houlihan first met GEN Hammond at Fort Benning. A flashback shows they had a physical relationship.
  • In summer 2008, chef Gordon Ramsay filmed a segment for his British magazine and cooking television series, The F Word, season 4, episode 6. He went wild boar hunting, cooked an entire pig, and served it to troops.
  • In the X-Files episode E.B.E., Mulder and Scully receive information from Deep Throat about a UFO that was shot down over Iraq and had been secretly transported to Fort Benning.
  • In a later episode of Stargate SG-1 (Babylon), Col. Cameron Mitchell comments that airborne training in Fort Benning is extremely difficult.
  • A Time to Triumph (1986), Television movie filmed at Fort Benning.[42]
  • During Day 2 of the television series 24, the special forces team, Coral Snake, was said to have been out of Fort Benning.
  • In AMC's zombie television series, The Walking Dead, survivors attempt to travel through the ruins of Georgia to reach the imagined safety of Fort Benning.
  • In season one of ABC Family's Switched at Birth (TV series) it is reveled that Bay's boyfriend Tye is being sent to Fort Benning for basic training.


Video games

  • Part of America's Army (designed and distributed by the United States Army) takes place at Fort Benning.
  • In Clive Barker's Jericho, Lt. Abigail Black's learns her rifle skills at Fort Benning's sniper school.


Song: Fort Benning Blues
Album: Steel Guitar Rag
Artist: Jimmie Tarlton
Year: 2009[43]


  1. ^ Maneuver Center of Excellence
  2. ^ Campbell, James (2007). The Ghost Mountain Boys: Their Epic March and the Terrifying Battle for New Guinea—The Forgotten War of the South Pacific. Three Rivers Press. pp. 378. ISBN 978-0307335975. 
  3. ^ Bunn, Michael J. (Summer 2008). "Home of the Infantry: The History of Fort Benning". Georgia Historical Quarterly (Georgia Historical Society) 92 (2): 268–270. ISSN 0016-8297. 
  4. ^ Stelpflug, Peggy A.; Richard Hyatt (2007). Home of the Infantry: The History of Fort Benning. Macon: Mercer University Press. pp. 300–67. ISBN 978-0-88146-087-2. 
  5. ^ House Select Committee on Assassinations, LUIS POSADA CARRILES, ca. 1978
  6. ^ Candiotti, Susan (2005-05-18). "Alleged anti-Castro terrorist Posada arrested". CNN. Archived from the original on 2008-06-02. Retrieved 2008-05-22. 
  7. ^ Rubinstein, Wain (June 1969). Scout Dogs "Enemy's Worst Enemy...". Danger Forward. Scout Dogs. Retrieved 2009-06-17. 
  8. ^ "The Oklahoma Bombing Conspirators". University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  9. ^ Fort Benning & MCoE Mission
  10. ^ Infantry School Mission
  11. ^ Armor School Mission
  12. ^ "FAQ". Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. 
  13. ^ a b c d Weiner, Tim (1999-07-31). "School Long Seen as Despots' Training Center Faces a Cutoff". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  14. ^ Woolls, Daniel (2008-11-13). "El Salvador massacre case filed in Spanish court". Fox News.,4670,EUSpainSalvadorMassacre,00.html. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f Gill, Lesley (2004). The School of the Americas. Durham: Duke UP. ISBN 9780822333920. 
  16. ^ School of the Americas Watch. "Notorious Graduates". Retrieved May 6, 2006. 
  17. ^ the National Security Archive, George Washington University. "List of Military Officers in the Guatemalan Army". 
  18. ^ "Notorious Graduates". School of the Americas Watch. Retrieved November 16, 2005. 
  19. ^ Davies, George ‘I’ll take the CIA torture suite’, The First Post, dated August 16, 2006, accessed August 14, 2006.
  20. ^ Notorious Graduates from El Salvador SOA Watch
  21. ^ Massacre in Colombian Peace Community SOA Watch
  22. ^ February 27 Update from San José Peace Community SOA Watch
  23. ^ Weinberg, Bill (2008-07-29). "Colombia's Heart of Darkness in NYC--and DC". The Nation. Retrieved 2009-12-16. 
  24. ^
  25. ^ MG Robert B. Brown
  26. ^ CSM Chris Hardy
  27. ^ BG Bryan R. Owens
  28. ^ CSM Steven W. McClaflin
  29. ^ BG Ted Martin
  30. ^ CSM Ricky W. Young
  31. ^ Mr. Donald M. Sando
  32. ^ COL Terry L. Sellers
  33. ^ COL Thomas D. MacDonald
  34. ^ CSM Mark E. Moore
  35. ^ Mr. George W. Steuber
  36. ^
  37. ^ Final units depart Fort Knox
  38. ^ Infantry & Armor linked under new command
  39. ^ Fort Benning BRAC-related Growth Update
  40. ^ Kentucky Living Magazine
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^

External links

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

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