Fort Jackson is one of the bases that provide a constant basic combat training for cadets. Hence, this is one of the bases that see new recruits coming for basic training. The base is named after General Andrew Jackson, who also happens to be the seventh President of the United State of America. Fort Jackson is located in Columbia, South Carolina. It covers an area of 52,000 acres, and trains over 36,000 soldiers every year.

Map of Fort Jackson

History of Fort Jackson

It can be said that the Fort Jackson installation was a result of the entry of the United States into the First World War. It was created in 1917, and the base provided basic combat training for the drafts and the recruits of the US Army. At the end of the war, the base was virtually shut down. On April 25, 1922, the War Department of the United States effectively closed Fort Jackson down.

However, the United States was dragged into another war, World War II, and this saw the need for the reactivation of the Fort Jackson to train new soldiers. The base saw thousands of soldiers for basic combat training, who would later be deployed across Europe, and later on in the Pacific .

Fort Jackson was responsible for 50% to 80% of the Basic Combat Training of the entire US army during the first and second World Wars. It was very instrumental in providing the Army with the new soldiers for its primary missions around the world.

Many Veterans who served in the US armed forces most likely have memories of Fort Jackson in Columbia. It remains the largest and the most active Initial Entry Training Center for the US Army. In total, the base alone provides 34% of the new soldiers entering the Army every year, and 69% of women who enter the Army also come to Fort Jackson.

Fort Jackson Today

“Victory Starts Here”

That is the motto of the Fort Jackson Basic Combat Training, or more commonly refered to as BCT. BCT is the introduction course that every soldier receive when they enter the US Army. For many people, it is a life-changing phenomenon, something that they will always remember and live by.

The BCT takes 10 week to complete, and every day, the soldiers will be exposed to at least 12 hours of physical training from Monday to Saturday. Classroom classes are rare, but they also happen.

The BCT is composed of four phases. There are the Red Phase (Week 1 to 3), the White Phase (Week 4 to 5), the Blue Phase (Week 6 to 9), and the Graduation (Week 10). The final phase is the most joyful phase, but there are many people who do not graduate; they either opt out of the Army, or they fail the course altogether.

Some of the training provided by Fort Jackson for BCT include Ballistics and Rifle Marksmanship Fundamentals, Fieldcraft, Patrolling, Fundamentals of Physical Readiness, Advanced Rifle Marksmanship, Military Operations in Urban Terrain, Long Distance Road Marching, and more.

Fort Jackson provides the Army with highly trained, highly disciplined, and motivated soldiers who carry with them the core values of the Army. The base instills the value of teamwork as the primary mission of the installation.

Fort Jackson produces 36,000 graduates every year in the Basic Combat Training, and 8,000 graduates every year for the advanced individual training.

Other missions of the base include being home to the US Army Soldier Support Institute, the Armed Forces Army Chaplaincy, and the Department of Defense Polygraph Institute, which is now called National Center for Credibility Assessment. Finally, the base is also the home of the Army Drill Sergeant School, which is responsible for training all the active and reserve instructors.

Fort Jackson also employs around 3,500 civilians, and services more than 46,000 retirees together with their families. In addition to this, the base also accommodates 10,000 students who are attending courses at the US Army Soldiers Support Institute, Armed Forces Chaplaincy, and the National Center for Credibility Assessment, as well as the Drill Sergeant School.

Civilian Schools

Aside from these military training schools, there are also civilian schools inside the military base. Fort Jackson has two elementary schools inside its area. These schools have pre-kindergarten sections, and serve up to the 6th grade of education. The schools are Pierce Terrace Elementary School, and the CC Pinckey Elementary. The two schools are established to provide quality education for the children of soldiers living in Fort Jackson.

For students in the grades 7 to 12 levels, they attend Richland District Two Schools: these are the Dent Middle School for 7th and 8th graders, and the Richland Northeast High School for grades 9 to 12.

However, life is not over for these new graduates, because after their BCT, they next have to undergo the AIT, or the Advanced Individual Training, which is a far more rigorous and demanding training designed only for the best of the best. It will test not only your physical capacity, but also your mental fitness to become a fine soldier.

Interesting Facts and Figures

  • There are 11,250 families assigned to the Fort Jackson installation and call it their home.
  • The base produces over 36,000 graduates of the Basic Combat Training each year.
  • The Fort Jackson covers an area of more than 43,000 acres. This includes 50 ranges and 1,000 buildings.
  • 100,000 family members gather at Fort Jackson every year to witness the graduation of family members from the Basic Combat Training. This takes place every Friday.
  • Interestingly, there are 41 graduation ceremonies that happen in Fort Jackson every year, on a Friday.
  • From 36,000 graduates of the Basic Combat Training every year, only 8,000 graduate from the Advanced Individual Training at Fort Jackson.
  • Fort Jackson is an ideal place to retire for many veterans. They are assured of employment, recreation, and the full support of Fort Services and subsidized cost of living, making the base one of the largest retirement areas for veteran US soldiers.

Video – Fort Jackson Basic Training (over 3 million views!)