Fort Stewart is one of the largest training bases in the United States, covering 280,000 acres that go across several counties in southeast Georgia, including Long, Tattnall, Bryan, Evans, and Long. It boasts of size, good climate, terrain, and location. The base also has two deep water ports, Savannah and Charleston. It currently serves as the home of the 3rd Infantry Division as well as other military troops.
Mission, vision, and values of Fort Stewart
Fort Stewart’s mission is to provide a safe and secure but alert community that will be able to enhance the power projection platform that can aid in supporting national security objectives.
The vision of Fort Stewart is to become a community of excellence where armed forces will not only be able to receive training and get deployed, but also to make the base their home where they can live and raise their own families.
The values promoted by Fort Stewart are taken from the Army and IMCOMs own values that promote how their soldiers perform their duties, and made these their own. These values are loyalty, duty, respect, honor, integrity, selfless service, excellence, personal courage, consistency, empowerment, and vision.
History of Fort Stewart
The lives of the people in the small town of Hinesville would forever be changed on June 1940, when Congress authorized the purchase of property near that area, which will be used as the location for the planned anti-aircraft artillery training center of the army. The reservation soon grew to its present-day 280,000 acres and would stretch over five counties. That much space is needed in order to accommodate all of the equipment that will be put in the training center, as well as the necessary space that will be taken over by the firing ranges and impact areas. The large reservation would eventually be designated as Camp Steward on November 1940 to honor Daniel Stewart, a general who was from Liberty County and one of the heroes during the Revolution. The name was announced on January 1941.
Originally, there was a shortage of supplies in real anti-aircraft guns, so the soldiers made do with wooden mock-ups during their training, with the live firing exercises being conducted in Florida on the beaches of Amelia Island and St Augustine. Eventually, the live firing exercises were moved to Camp Stewart in September 1941, when the firing ranges and impact areas were completed and the necessary equipment brought to camp. Aside from firing training, soldiers were also given searchlight training during this period.
Fall season in 1941 saw a lot of restless National Guard soldiers training in Camp Stewart, as they were eager to be released from active duty after training. However, things soon changed for them when the Pearl Harbor attack occurred. This event not only shattered the dreams of these soldiers, it also set Camp Stewart into making the necessary preparations for the purpose it was built for: anti-aircraft artillery training.
The camp soon expanded to accommodate all of the units that were trained for combat. A detachment of Women’s Air Service Pilots (WASPs) arrived in Camp Stewart in order to fly the planes that would tow targets to the training areas, which will be used during the live fire exercises. Eventually, the WASPs were replaced by technology, with radio-controlled airplane targets for safety reasons. Soldiers were deployed as soon as their training period ended, with new trainees taking their place almost immediately. These soldiers were deployed in different parts of the globe, including Europe, Africa, the Pacific, and the Mediterranean regions.
Like other camps, the roles of Camp Stewart gradually increased over time. In 1943, some areas of the military were used in order to hold Italian and German prisoners of war who were with the Allied forces. The captured soldiers served as the labor force for base operations, construction projects, and even farming. It also served as the staging area for some Army postal units, and it also hosted the Cook and Bakers school. Its role in anti-aircraft artillery training continued, however.
The sheer number of responsibilities of Camp Stewart saw it holding as many as 55,000 at a time. The sheer number of soldiers in the base was due to the D-Day preparations, and as soon as these troops were deployed, Camp Stewart became practically empty. Eventually, even the anti-aircraft training at the base was phased out because the need for soldiers trained in this area diminished. By January 1945, only the camps of the prisoners-of-war remained active in Camp Stewart.
The Korean War once again brought a resurgence of life in Camp Stewart, including its Anti-Aircraft Artillery Training Center. Camp Stewart not only trained soldiers in anti-aircraft artillery, it also prepared them in armor and tank firing. The end of the Korean War didn’t make the base inactive. Recognizing the need for a military force that was ready to face any potential threats, Camp Stewart stopped becoming a temporary installation and instead became a permanent one instead. It was redesignated as Fort Stewart on March 21, 1956 to reflect its changed role.
Changes were made to make the military base ready for the changes in military tactics and equipment. It was soon designated as the Armor and Artillery Firing Center. In 1961, Fort Stewart almost became deactivated once again because the officers and the government felt that it no longer had a purpose, but the introduction of missiles in warfare again emphasized the importance of this base.
Fort Stewart would soon play important roles in the country’s desire to promote freedom. It was used to prepare the US during the Cuban missile crisis. Soldiers, including Vietnamese pilots, were trained to fly helicopters in the military base to prepare them for the Vietnam War. It would also be used as the training ground for the 75th Infantry Regiment (Rangers). The entire Division of Fort Stewart was deployed to the Persian Gulf following the crisis between Iraq and Saudi Arabia. During these years, the military equipment continued to be upgraded to make sure that soldiers will receive training in the latest equipment in warfare.
Other facts involving Fort Stewart include:
- Hunter Army Airfield is home to the longest Army runway on the East Coast, running for 11,375 feet.
- Fort Stewart is a paradise for hunters and fishermen, being home to over 350 species of wildlife and 80 species of freshwater fish.
- Fort Hunter is a non-public area, which is why civilian media will need to get prior approval before they can enter the base. Even then, they will need to have a military escort.