Fort Riley, Kansas has a long and rich history that dates back to more than one hundred fifty years. It has seen and helped in numerous wars that the US Army has taken part in.  It is also home to many of the Army’s elite forces.

Map of Fort Riley

History of Fort Riley

Fort Riley, Kansas has been one of the vanguards of service and excellence in the US Army. Fort Riley started its history more than one hundred fifty years ago. The fort was a part of the country’s conscious effort to pay close attention to the overland trails such as Oregon and Santa Fe. Santa Fe and Oregon drew attention from the US government and Army because these places are centers of commerce and immigration. After determining the forts site in 1852, soldiers began to set up a garrison. After the end of the Civil War, Fort Riley’s prime mission shifted to protect the workers that were building railroads from the hostile Indians. The year 1866 was momentous for Fort Riley, the 7th Cavalry organized in the fort under Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer. Soldiers used Fort Riley as a fort to protect the expanding frontier in the following three decades.

Fort Riley faced another change when the century came to a close. Fort Riley was chosen as an integral part of the US Army’s education system. The School of Cavalry and Light Artillery started operations in 1892. The Mounted Service School was opened in 1907 and was later renamed the Cavalry School after World War I ended. The schools established were used as centers of excellence for the application and intensive study of cavalry training and tactics. Well known officers and men of war that trained in the schools included Terry Allen, George S. Patton Jr., Johnathan Wainwright and several others. The skills, training, and strategies that the soldiers and officers learned were used in campaigns and fields of war.

Fort Riley was primarily used as training grounds for the major wars of the 20th century. Several training centers at Camp Funston and at Camp Forsyth. The training centers trained soldiers to learn skills and strategies that they would use in the major wars such as World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the wars in the Middle East. The soldiers gained skills and learned strategies that proved useful in the campaigns that the US Army pursued.

The 1st Infantry Division came from Germany and stayed in Fort Riley in 1955. The 1st Infantry Division fought wars in Southeast Asia from 1965 to 1970. The 1970s and 1980s was a busy period for Fort Riley. The Forts primary mission was the return of forces to Germany and the defense of Europe against the rising power and aggression of the Soviet Union. Fort Riley was the focal point of deployment and mobilization fort for operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield. The Fort was integral to the success of the US Army in their wars in the Middle East. The excellent training centers helped the soldiers strategically defeat their enemies.

At the end of the Cold War, the Department of Defense decreased the forces and realigned the remaining divisions in Fort Riley. The 1st Brigade, 3rd Brigade of the 1st Armored Division, 1st Brigade, and the 937th Engineer Combat Group in Fort Riley when the 1st Infantry Division was transferred to Germany in 1996. Fort Riley also became the headquarters when the 24th Infantry Mechanized Division was reactivated.

Fort Riley underwent another change when the 1st Infantry Division returned in 2006. Since then, Fort Riley was home to units that supported several missions of the US Army such as Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and the transition to Operation New Dawn.

Fort Riley started several Training Missions from 2006 to 2009 that provided pre-deployment training for different Military Transition Teams that were deployed as military advisors to Foreign Security Forces. Fort Riley has deployed more than 69,000 troops to Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa and to Iraq.

Fort Riley has undergone a major transformation in the first decade of the new century. The airfields and the barracks underwent modernization. New housing, work and training areas were established. The changes and modernization have prepared the Central Flint Hills Region and Fort Riley for the future.

Mission of Fort Riley

The mission of Fort Riley has changed with the times to suit the current needs of the country and the community. Fort Riley remains to be an excellent training center for military strategy, training and techniques. Thousands of troops have undergone intense training and education in Fort Riley that have equipped them to face the campaigns of the US Army all over the world. Fort Riley’s vision consists of resilience, sustainability and community.

The goals of Fort Riley each have sustainable objectives that help the community move forward. Fort Riley also establishes a sustainable plan that focuses on community, environment and mission while minimizing costs. The fort and the community work hand in hand for the growth of the entire region. As the fort continues to train and develop excellent soldiers not only for war but also for the community. Fort Riley provides numerous services to everyone in the community. There are also programs that Fort Riley offers to everyone in the community.

Fort Riley’s modernization has helped prepare the region for the future.

Facts & Figures of Fort Riley

Units Stationed in Fort Riley

  • 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division
  • 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division
  • 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division
  • 1st Sustainment Brigade
  • Combat Aviation Brigade
  • United States Army Garrison, Fort Riley
  • 10th Air Support Operations Squadron
  • US Army Medical Department Activity
  • US Army Dental Activity

Economic Impact Fiscal Year 2010

  • Total Direct Economic Impact: $2,225,511,361
  • Total Payroll: $1,484,281,090
  • Total Supplies/Contracts/Services: $374,700,181
  • Total Current Year Payments: $229,931,478
  • Total Payments from Federal Impact Aid: $12,715,734
  • Total Education: $20,494,659
  • Total Health Care Expense: $116,086,899
  • Total Combined Federal Campaign Contributions: $374,769
  • Total Population: 54,957
  • Military Personnel (18,553)
  • Family Members (24,678)
  • Retirees (3,389)
  • Civilian Employees (8,337)

Video – Welcome to Fort Riley