Fort Sill Oklahoma is a military post that is rich in history. The fort dates its roots all the way back to the 1800s. Fort Sill was primarily used to fend off the Indians who were waging war with the Army in the surrounding areas. Fort Sill has come a long way from being a defense garrison into a top notch military facility for different divisions of the Army.
History of Fort Sill
Major General Philip H. Sheridan staked the site of Fort Sill on January 8, 1869. Maj. Gen. Sheridan led campaigns against hostile Indians that raided settlements in Kansas and Texas. Maj. General Sheridans winter campaigns against the hostile Indian tribes helped keep the area peaceful. During his campaigns, he was accompanied by top notch scouts such as Buffalo Bill Cody, Ben Clark and Jack Stilwell. Several troops camped in the surrounding area of the new fort that included the 19th Kansas Volunteers, the 7th Cavalry, and the 10th Cavalry. The 10th Cavalry consisted of black buffalo soldiers that helped construct various stone buildings that surrounded the old military post.
The military garrison was first called Camp Wichita and was commonly referred to as the Soldier House at Medicine Bluffs by the Indians. Maj. Gen. Sheridan later renamed the military post in honor of his close friend at West Point, Brigadier General Joshua W. Sill, who was killed in the Civil War. The first post commander of Fort Sill was Maj. Gen. Benjamin Grierson.
President Ulysses Grant passed a peace policy that placed the Southwest Indian tribes under Quaker Indian agents. Lawrie Tatum was the first Quaker Indian agent for the Kiowa and Comanche Indians. With the passing of the peace policy Fort Sill soldiers were prohibited from taking action against the Indians. The Indians interpreted the passing of the peace policy as a sign of weakness. The Indians resumed their raids on the borders of Texas and Kansas and used Fort Sill as a sanctuary.
The Indians launched the Red River War to protect their territory and their livelihood. The war came to an end in June 1875. In 1877, the first African-American to graduate from West Point, Henry O. Flipper, was assigned to the 10th Cavalry Regiment in Fort Sill.
Indian Territory had no organized government so Army posts like Fort Sill had significant legal and federal presence in the area. Fort Sill provided support and protection to the Indians in the area. As the tribes settled to become ranchers or farmers, Fort Sill became the Army School of Musketry. After the infantry soldiers and cavalry were replaced by one of the largest field artillery units, the War Department set up the School of Fires Field Artillery in 1911.
After several years till today the field artillery is accompanied by the air defense artillery and the electronic warfare branches to form the Fires Center of Excellence. The Fires Center of Excellence has greatly contributed to homeland security and the community as a whole.
Fort Sill Mission
The Fires Center of Excellence develops, educates, and trains soldiers and leaders. The training that soldiers and leaders will get will help them harness their innate abilities to make their own decisions during crises. The Center engages and partners with different stakeholders. The Center also provides and sustains a force to support the war fighting commander through different operations. The Center also helps with operations of the Army throughout the world.
There are also several divisions located in Fort Sill. Other departments in Fort Sill include the Air Defense School, Basic Officers, Leaders Course, Field Artillery School, and the Fort Sill NCO Academy. These departments train soldiers to uphold and protect the rights of Americans all over the world. Fort Sill ensures the best training and top notch military facilities to bring out the best from each soldier. Fort Sill provides soldiers and officers a lifelong professional training in simulators, the schoolhouses and in the field. Each soldier is given top notch education in the latest military equipment and tactics. The hands on training will help enhance the skills of each soldier assigned to Fort Sill.
The Fires Force in Fort Sill provides agile and adaptive officers and soldiers that can handle any situation that is presented to them. The soldiers and officers are more than capable of delivering responsive and accurate responses for each situation. The Fires Force is decisive and will launch lethal or non-lethal fires depending on the mission.
Other than top notch response teams and Fires Force, Fort Sill provides different programs that help benefit the community. There are programs that help enrich the lives of the members of the community. Outreach programs for substance abuse are set up to help the addicts in the community. There are also programs for children and senior citizens in the community. Fort Sill wants to involve the soldiers and the community to develop a sense of family and a lasting bond. There are also fitness programs to help keep the community fit and healthy. The programs benefit society and create a sense of community in Fort Sill.
Fort Sill Facts & Figures
Fort Sill houses the Fires Center of Excellence that contributes to the nations defense and to society as a whole. Here is a list of contributions by the Fires Center of Excellence:
- $602 million in retired pay
- $601 million in pay to the military
- $26 million in TRICARE payments
- $82 million in retail expenditures
- $7 million in Federal School Impact Aid
- 21, 610 retirees supported
- 2,989 civilian employees
- The 77th Army Band is vital to the outreach programs and community relations of Fort Sill
- Fort Sills length from east to west is twenty seven miles
- Fort Sill Museum is the largest museum in the United States Army
These are some of the facts and figures that you might want to know about Fort Sill. Despite its long history there are still things that you can discover during your stay or visit in Fort Sill. Relive the history of Fort Sill as you visit the museum or military post.