Fort Drum has a rich history of being one of the best military centers in the United States. Fort Drum has been a military training site since 1908. But the United States Army has been present in the area since the 1800s.

Map of Fort Drum

History of Fort Drum

A band of infantry soldiers were stationed at Sackets harbor to enforce the Embargo Act. The soldiers were also tasked to prevent smuggling between the northern part of New York and Canada. The soldiers mission was to protect the area and prevent the smugglers from doing business in New York in 1809. The infantry stationed in Sackets Harbor were then assigned to protect the area because f the outbreak of war in 1812. Sackets Harbor became the center for the United States Naval and military activity during that period. The military station was for the Upper St. Lawrence River Valley and Lake Ontario territories.

The 1830s and the 1840s paved the way for the construction of the Madison Barracks. The Madison Barracks was established because of the Patriots War in Canada. The Barracks became the home for the United States Armys artillery units.

1908 was a fortuitous year for the military post because Brigadier General Frederick Dent Grant, son of General Ulysses S. Grant, was sent to the outpost with 8,000 militia and 2,000 regular soldiers. He saw the potential of Pine Plains to become a training ground for troops. In 1909, money was allocated for the purchase of the area and the subsequent summer training for the troops took place. Pine Plains became the training ground for troops through the years. Pine Plains was put on the national spotlight because of the peacetime maneuvers that took place in 1935. Pine Plains held negotiations and peace talks that altered the course of the United States. 36,500 soldiers from the Northeast took part in the exercise that took place in Pine Plains.

For thirty six hours young men from different walks of life attacked and defended during tactical exercises on the 100 mile land leased by the United States Army for war games. The tactical war games were successful that led to the War Departments subsequent purchase of another nine thousand acres of land.

The military post would be integral to the Army’s success in World War II. The outpost known as Pine Camp was expanded to another 75,000 acres of land. With the subsequent purchase of the land for expansion, entire villages were removed, more than five hundred families were displaced, and other towns were either reduced by half or a third of their former size.

In 1941 another one hundred tracts of land was taken. Contractors were hired and put to work immediately to build the barracks and training facilities for military training. In a period of ten months and $20 million the construction was complete. The military camp displaced three thousand buildings that included twenty four schools, a post office, and six churches.

When the construction was finished there were 800 buildings, 84 mess halls, 240 barracks, 58 warehouses, 86 storehouses, 22 headquarters buildings, 27 officers quarters, and 99 recreational buildings that included hospitals and guardhouses. Pine Camp was the training grounds for three divisions that included General George S. Pattons 4th Armored Division, the 5th Armored Division, and the 45th Infantry Division. The military post in Pine Camp was also used as a prisoner of war camp.

The year 1951 was a momentous year for Pine Camp. Pine Camp was renamed Camp Drum in honor of Lt. General Hugh A. Drum who led the First Army in World War II. Camp Drum was heavily used for training during and after the Korean War to take advantage of the weather and terrain.

In 1974 the post was formally called Fort Drum and in the same year a permanent military garrison was established. In April 1980 several divisions were housed in Fort Drum the divisions that were stationed in Fort Drum included 76th Engineer Battalion (Combat Heavy) and B Company. The Department of the Army designated Fort Drum to be the home for the 10th Light Infantry Division on September 11, 1984. On December 3, 1984, first division troops arrived in Fort Drum and were officially activated for missions on February 13, 1985. The first division was renamed the 10th Mountain Division Light Infantry.

The military division stationed in Fort Drum reached full capacity in 1989. Fort Drum faced several constructions and renovations between 1986 and 1992. One hundred thirty new buildings, thirty five miles of roads, and four thousand two hundred seventy two sets of family housing that cost $1.3 billion to complete were constructed in the area.

Mission of Fort Drum

The 10th Mountain Division Light Infantry is tasked to man and train to deploy troops quickly by sea, land and air anywhere in the world. The troops sent to Fort Drum will undergo rigorous military training to protect and uphold the rights of Americans all over the world.

The mission of Fort Drum includes leadership of active units that were tasked to the military post. The Fort also provides administrative and logistical support to its tenants and the active and reserve units. The mission of Fort Drum also includes support and planning for the quick mobilization of more than seventy five thousand troops stationed in the military post.

Other than military missions Fort Drum also takes part in community activities. There are different programs that help uplift the spirits of the community. There are drug rehabilitation programs that help addicts. There are also programs for parents to help their kids. Fort Drum is also a source of employment for the residents in the community. Several outreach programs touch the lives of youth and senior citizens alike. The community programs enrich the lives of the soldiers and civilians.

Fort Drum Facts & Figures for the Fiscal Year 2009

  • Employment &  Payroll: $1,124,292,746
  • Army Community Housing: $2,660,419
  • Privatized Housing: $98,851,197
  • Army Community Housing/Domestic Leases: $2,032,660
  • Contracting Impact in Tri-Country Area: $226,459,724
  • Medical Services: $24,853,096
  • Dental Services: $4,945,900
  • Veterinary Services: $800
  • Tuition Assistance & Contracted Education: $718,227
  • Federal Impact Aid: $17,567,049

Video – Fort Drum History