Fort Huachuca is the home of the US Army Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM)/9th Army Signal Command and the US Army Intelligence Center. The fort is located in Cochise County in Arizona.
Mission of Fort Huachuca
Like other US military bases, it is the mission of Fort Huachuca to not only train and manage the military personnel in the base to make them ready for their missions, but also to see to the well-being of these soldiers, the civilian employees, and the family members of those residing in the base.
History of Fort Huachuca
The beginnings of Fort Huachuca could be traced back to February 1877, when Colonel August B. Kautz, who was serving as the commander of the Department of Arizona at the time, commanded that a camp be established in the Huachuca Mountains to have a base of operations during the Indian Wars, as well as to provide protection to the travelers passing by the travel routes of southeastern Arizona. Eventually, a temporary camp was established on March 3, 1877 (incidentally where Fort Huachuca could now be found), the site being chosen for its high ground and abundance of trees (providing the military added protection against the Apache), good location (allowing the military to view the surroundings from three directions), and steady supply of fresh running water. Captain Samuel Marmaduke Whitside was put in charge of two companies of the 6th Cavalry to oversee the camp.
By 1882, the temporary camp became a full-fledged fort. In 1886, the fort was used as the advance headquarters and forward supply base of General Nelson A. Miles in the Geronimo campaign. The location and function of Fort Huachuca was instrumental to the victory of the military against the Apache, and this culminated in Geronimo’s surrender in August 1886.
The surrender of Geronimo was a two-edged sword for Fort Huachuca. On one hand, the base served as a focal point in helping the military’s campaign against the Apache. On the other hand, it also rendered the base worthless, since the hostile forces were already neutralized. As a result, more than 50 camps and forts were closed in Southern Arizona. Fort Huachuca was retained, albeit with less people manning it, in order to manage the border problems, which include neutralizing the bandits, outlaws, and freebooters in the region.
The 10th Cavalry (dubbed as the Buffalo Soldiers) arrived in Fort Huachuca in 1913. Under the leadership of General John J. Pershing, the cavalry unit was given command of the 1916 expedition into Mexico. They were then later on tasked with guarding the United States-Mexico border during World War I. The 10th Cavalry stayed in Fort Huachuca for almost 20 years.
Eventually, the 25th Infantry Regiment replaced the 10th Cavalry in Fort Huachuca, which, in turn, was absorbed by the 93rd Infantry Division during World War II. Troops were sent to Fort Huachuca to train them before deployment to the European Theater. The war years saw the camp’s population rise to 30,000.
The end of World War II again made Fort Huachuca, but unlike the events that occurred after the Geronimo campaign, the fort was declared surplus and turned over to the State of Arizona. It only became reactivated during the Korean War, where it was used by the Army Engineers.
Fort Huachuca was turned over again in 1954, this time to the Chief Signal Officer. Recognizing that the location and climate of the fort was ideal for testing electronic and communications equipment, the fort was eventually given a new role, which was to serve as the new home of the US Army Strategic Communications Command.
Fort Huachuca evolved once again in 1971, this time serving as the home of the US Army Intelligence Center and School. However, its role in the development of electronic and communications equipment for the military has not waned, and it continued to be the headquarters of the US Army Strategic Communications Command, which eventually changed its name to the US Army Information Systems Command in 1984.
Fort Huachuca today is now managed by the US Army Intelligence Center.
Tourist attractions in Fort Huachuca
Like a few other military bases in the US, certain areas in Fort Huachuca are open for tourists. Among the tourist attractions in the fort include:
* The Apache Flats RV Resort. Located at the base of the mountains, the Apache Flats RV Resort is a great place to visit for tourists who love outdoors activities such as bird watching and hiking.
* Buffalo Corral Riding Stables. Those who love horseback riding can rent horses for individuals or groups by the hours at the Buffalo Corral Riding Stables. Those who don’t know how to ride but want to learn can also take the Western riding lessons taught by the professionals in Buffalo Corrals. The stables also allow horse owners to board their mounts at affordable rates.
* Sportsman’s Center. The Sportsman’s Center has paintball and shooting ranges for enthusiasts.
* Crafts. Get in touch with your creative side with the crafts store in Fort Huachuca. Experts provide instructions in photography, lapidary, ceramics, framing, silver-smithing, and other creative classes.
* The original Fort Huachuca camp. Take a glimpse at one of the most important locations of US history by visiting the original Fort Huachuca cantonment. The surrounding areas were maintained in order to retain its nostalgic vibe. The original camp in Fort Huachuca has been declared as a National Historic Landmark in March 1977.
* Fort Huachuca Historical Museum. The history of Fort Huachuca, as well as that of the Southwest, can be traced in the Fort Huachuca Historical Museum. It has been accredited by the American Association of Museums.
Other facts about Fort Huachuca
Sierra Vista annexed Fort Huachuca in 1971, and it serves as the home of many military personnel who do not live in the base itself. The town, as well as Fort Huachuca itself, has a moderate climate, characteristic of the weather conditions in that part of Arizona. Aside from serving as the home of NETCOM and the US Army Intelligence Center, Fort Huachuca is also used as the headquarters of the Electronic Proving Ground (EPG), the Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC), and the Army Military Radio System (MARS). Libby Army Airfield, the fort’s airfield, shares runways with the Sierra Vista Municipal Airport. It serves as one of the alternate landing locations for the space shuttle, although it has yet to serve this purpose to date.