Deemed the home of Army Aviation, Fort Rucker is an excellent place to work and live in. Covering around 63,100 acres of land in the southeastern Alabama countryside, the army base is located in a spot known as Wiregrass, named after a certain type of wild grass particular to the region, about 80 miles away from the state capital Montgomery. Most of the army base is situated in Dale County and the rest sitting in the Houston, Geneva, and Coffee Counties. Because of its location, Fort Rucker is surrounded mainly by rolling woods and is quite the treat for fishermen since it is close to the Gulf of Mexico as well as a number of lakes and streams. The neighboring communities of Ozark, Enterprise, and Daleville have strong ties to Fort Rucker.
Fort Rucker goes about things much like you would expect from any town. After all, the army base is pretty much like a small city. In charge of everything, like a city manager if you will, is the Garrison Command, responsible for overseeing services and ensuring everything Fort Rucker needs is in place for seamless operations everyday. The Garrison Command is made up of the following directorates: Logistics; Public Works; Plans, Training, Mobilization, and Security; Resource Management; Public Safety and Provost Marshal, and Plans, Analysis, and Integration. Organizations under the Garrison include the Aviation Center Chaplain, Equal Employment Opportunity Office, Civilian Personnel Advisory Center, Military Personnel Division and Adjutant General, and the Public Affairs Office. The Army Career and Alumni Program, Army Substance Abuse Program, and the Internal Review and Audit Compliance Office are also included the Garrison Command.
As mentioned, Fort Rucker is home to the Army Aviation. In fact, Fort Rucker was recognized in 2008 as an Army Aviation Center of Excellence. In terms of management arrangements then, the Garrison Command is responsible for daily operations in the army base community, while the Aviation Branch Headquarters is in charge of developing, coordinating, and deploying Aviation operations, doctrine, and training. As an Army Aviation Center of Excellence, Fort Rucker adheres to this mission: to train military, civilian, as well as international personnel in acquiring leadership and aviation skills, integrating Army Aviation war-fighting doctrine and determining requirements across the DOTMLPF, managing available resources, and sustaining commitment to preserve the well-being of civilians and soldiers alike, retirees, and families.
Due to its sheer size, Fort Rucker is spacious enough to play host to several army tenant organizations. Tenants calling Fort Rucker home include the:
- Army Corps of Engineers offers environmental and engineering services needed by the Public Works directorate of Fort Rucker
- Aviation Center Logistics Command provides support for the TRADOC by making sure that all requirements are provided for aviation training missions at the army base
- Army Aviation Flight Test Directorate conducts preliminaries for airborne systems through careful planning and testing of both manned and unmanned platforms and all associated systems
- 23rd Flying Squadron Air Education and Training Command the primary source for helicopter pilots for distinguished visitor airlifting missions, missile support, combat search and rescue, and special operations as needed by the US Air Force;
- Air Force Material Command, Headquarters Standards, and Evaluations provides advice for DoD senior leaders on Air Force C-12 policy issues, guarantees training contractors are in compliance with USAF policies, procedures, and directives for C-12 training and operations, and offers instruction and evaluation of student and contractor pilots for needed C-12 C/D instructor and initial ratings
- Army Research Institute Rotary Wing Aviation Research Unit conducts aviation and aircrew staffing training research that supports Army Aviation in both the operational and institutional environments
- US Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory through research, the preservation and enhancement of health, combat effectiveness, safety, and survivability of a war fighter;
- Air Traffic Services Command in charge of air traffic and airspace services support and expertise as needed by army war fighters, installations, and major commands all over the globe
- Combat Readiness Center one of the biggest, most comprehensive programs about safety in the world, designed to offer safe ground and air operations as well as promote safety procedures to be practiced by all civilian and military personnel, whether on or off duty
- National Guard Multimedia Branch offers a national support program that the Army National Guard safety and aviation programs can take advantage of;
- MICC ICO-Fort Rucker provides quality services and products to service members and the command;
- US Army School of Aviation Medicine
- Satellite campus for the Army Medical Department Center and School, this tenant is the center for the army regarding all rotary wing aeromedical training sessions provided for aeromedical personnel and aviators
- Warrant Officer Career College trains and educates candidates for warrant officers and chosen senior warrant officers, serving as the TRADOC Center of Excellence for leadership and professional development of US Army warrant officers.
For being the home of the Army Aviation, it is only apt that Fort Rucker also houses an Army Aviation museum highlighting the history of aviation in army. Apart from containing over 160 aircrafts, including the largest of the helicopter collections the world has seen, the Army Aviation museum also has almost 4,000 artifacts, a library with over a thousand field and technical manuals, over 2,000 films, several hundred periodicals and books on aviation historical references, and 95,000 photographs.
Included in the aircrafts collection, 45 of which are on public exhibit, are the armys first helicopter, the R4, the 1918 Nieuport 28-C, the Curtiss JN-4D, several helicopters from the Vietnam war era, and a number of prototypes for the UH-60 Black Hawk and AH-64 Apache. Since opening in 1956, the Army Aviation museum has seen over a million visitors. The museum is open all year free of charge and operating hours are at 9am to 4pm during Mondays to Saturdays and 12pm to 4pm during Sundays. Authors, researchers, and aviation students looking to use the reference collection at the museum can only do so by appointment.