Fort Gordon is a military installation in Georgia, occupying areas in the Columbia, Jefferson, McDuffie, and Richmond counties. Its main purpose is to provide services and support to other areas in the military, specifically in the areas of training, operations, communications, intelligence, and soldier sustainment needs. It also performs both regional and worldwide missions in medical and dental care, cyber operations, force integration, and mobilization.
Mission of Fort Gordon
The mission of Fort Gordon is to be the “best-in-class installation, enabling readiness by providing the right service, at the right cost, to all those who live work or play on the installation.” Furthermore, it seeks to provide installation services and infrastructure that will best support the troops in mission readiness, as well as to improve and sustain the quality of life of the military community in the base. Fort Gordon strives to obtain these goals through the following:
- Sustaining readiness. To improve military and family readiness by fostering an environment that encourages learning, teamwork, communication, inclusiveness, and personal as well as professional growth
- Transforming and innovating. To continue to create programs that are designed to develop and attract business and mission initiatives so as to assist in the growth and innovation of Fort Gordon
- To deliver the best services to both the installation and the customers
History of Fort Gordon
Fort Gordon is named after John Brown Gordon, a confederate lieutenant who served in armor and infantry training during World War II, and who would eventually become a governor in Georgia and a US senator. While the fort was named after the confederate lieutenant, the camp preexisted World War II, opening in July 1917 as a training site for the 82nd All-American Division, which was primarily composed of men from Georgia.
The fort was reconstructed on July 1941, where it served as a training base for several army divisions, including the 4th and 26th Infantry Divisions, as well as the 10th Armored Division, which would eventually be deployed in Europe under General George S. Patton’s command. It was originally called Camp Gordon.
Like other bases, Fort Gordon was practically cleared out after the war, with over 85,000 officers and enlisted personnel discharged. While it was practically empty by June 1948, the base had a new lease in life come September 1949, when the Signal Corps Training Center was opened. Fort Gordon’s new role as a training center expanded when a Military Police School was built on-site on September 1948, as well as the activation of the Engineer Aviation Unit Training Center a few months later on January 1949 (although the latter would only stay there for only a year).
The Korean War would again see Fort Gordon become active in war preparations. Not only did it train the communications personnel at the Signal Training Centers Signal Corps Replacement Training Center, it also trained MPs and the 51st Anti-Aircraft Artillery Brigade in combat assignments. Fort Gordon also trained the infantry, signal soldiers, and the military police who were deployed during the Vietnam War.
Camp Gordon became the home of the Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory, the Rehabilitation, Training Center, and a US Disciplinary Barracks in that period. It also served as the temporary location of the now-inactivated Basic Replacement Training Center and the Advanced Leaders School. Its name changed from Camp Gordon to Fort Gordon on March 21, 1956.
On October 1, 1974, the US Army consolidated all of the communications training in Fort Gordon, a field that would have a greater importance in warfare with the advent of the Army’s Computer Science School in the 1980s. However, it remained as the training ground for several troops. For example, some soldiers were trained in the base before they were deployed in Southwest Asia for Operation Desert Shield-Desert Storm. The base also played a major role in national defense during and after the Cold War.
Units at Fort Gordon
Fort Gordon is the home of several troops from the different US military arms. These include:
* Warrior Transition Battalion. This is part of the Eisenhower Army Medical Center, with the battalions goal to provide medical services to injured soldiers and to restore them to fighting strength. They are also tasked with aiding soldiers who are unable to heal in returning to civilian life.
* 434th US Army Signal Corps Band. The goal of the band is to improve morale of the troops by providing appropriate music during military services, concerts, and other activities.
* 15th Regimental Signal Brigade (Signal and Ordnance Warriors). This brigade is responsible for providing training to other troops, particularly to signal and ordnance soldiers.
* 31st Intelligence Squadron (Desert Knights). The responsibility of this squadron is to conduct national and tactical intelligence operations to support the armys combat operations.
* 338th Training Squadron (Detachment 1). As the name suggests, the squadron is responsible for providing apprentice training to all those who are active in the Air Force, Air Force Reserve, and Air National Guard.
* Marine Cryptologic Support Battalion. This battalion conducts operations under the National Security Agency and the Central Security Services. This battalion is one of the seven operational letter companies under the direct command of the Commanding Officer.
* Navy Information Operations Command, Georgia (NAVIOCOM Georgia). Originally called the Naval Security Group Activity, and its main role is to provide support to the Fort Gordon Regional Security Operations Center through operational cryptologic services.
Other facts about Fort Gordon
- Fort Gordon trains more military personnel compared to other US Army training centers. It provides training to over 54,000 reservists as well to the students in the Army and Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps throughout the entire year.
- Training in Fort Gordon not only covers battle preparation, but also doctrine, mobilization, and force integration.
- The emblem of Fort Gordon is a gold eagle holding a golden baton with a signal flag in its talons. The design was developed in 1865, and it symbolizes faithful service and good fellowship among those who have served together in war.
- The current Garrison Commander of Fort Gordon is Colonel Robert A. Barker. He hails from Jonesbro, Arkansas, and his military career began in 1986 when he received a reserve commission from the Signal Corps. Among his assignments include COCOM Branch Chief and Director of Concepts, Requirements, and Doctrine Division (CRDD). He also served as the Director of the Capabilities Development Division (CDID) of the Signal Center of Excellence.