The post is the home to the Army Transportation Corps, and also home to the U.S. Army Aviation Logistics School. The school's primary mission is to train the Army's Aviation branch personnel in aviation maintenance. The school was scheduled to be moved to Fort Rucker, but will stay in Virginia as a result of the Base Realignment and Closure process in 2005.
Fort Eustis and its satellite installation, Fort Story, are the home of the U.S. Army Transportation Center, U.S. Army Transportation School, NCO Academy, Army Aviation Logistics School, 8th Transportation Brigade and 7th Sustainment Brigade. Other significant tenants include the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command – Operations Center, Army Training Support Center (ATSC) and the Army Aviation Applied Technology Directorate (AATD). At Fort Eustis and Fort Story, officers and enlisted soldiers receive education and on-the-job training in all modes of transportation, aviation maintenance, logistics and deployment doctrine and research.
Among those who almost left was John Rolfe, who had departed England with his wife and child in 1609, with some very promising seeds for a different strain of tobacco he hoped would prove more favorable to export from Virginia than had been the experience to date. He had lost his wife and child by this time, but still had the untried seeds. The turning point at Mulberry Island delivered both Lord Delaware and businessman-farmer John Rolfe, two very different men, back to Jamestown, where they and the others were to find new success.
Lord Delaware's skills and resources combined with Rolfe's new strain of tobacco to provide the colony with effective leadership structure as the new cash crop began financial stabilization by 1612. By 1614, Rolfe owned an interest in a tobacco plantation. That same year, he became the husband of Pocahontas. For the next 300 years, Mulberry Island remained lightly populated with farms, perhaps the most rural portion of Warwick County, which since a political consolidation in 1958 has been a part of the independent city of Newport News.
During the Peninsula Campaign of the American Civil War in 1862, Mulberry Island anchored the southern end of the Warwick Line, a line of Confederate defensive works across the Virginia Peninsula extending to Yorktown on the north at the York River. After the war, farming resumed for about another 50 years.
On March 7, 1918, the Army bought Mulberry Island and the surrounding land for $538,000 as part of the military build-up for World War I. Approximately 200 residents were relocated, many to the Jefferson Park area nearby in Warwick County. Camp Abraham Eustis was established as a coast artillery replacement center for Fort Monroe and a balloon observation school. It was named for Brevit Brigadier General Abraham Eustis, a 19th century leader who had been the first commanding officer of Fort Monroe, a defensive fortification at the mouth of Hampton Roads about east at Old Point Comfort in what is now the city of Hampton.
A few miles upstream along the James River, a satellite facility, Camp Wallace, was established in 1918 as the Upper Firing Range of for artillery training. Consisting of 30 barracks, six storehouses, and eight mess halls , it was located on on the edge of Grove, just west of the Carter's Grove Plantation property, south of U.S. Route 60, and east of the old Kingsmill Plantation in nearby James City County.
Camp Wallace included some rugged terrain and bluffs overlooking the river. It was the site of anti-aircraft training during World War II. Many years later, the Army's aerial tramway was first erected at Camp Wallace and later moved to Fort Eustis near the Reserve Fleet for further testing. The purpose of the tramway was to provide cargo movement from ship-to-shore, shore-to-ship, and overland. The tramway supplemented beach and pier operations, used unloading points deemed unusable due to inadequate or non-navigable waters, or to traverse land that was otherwise impassable.
In 1971, the U.S. Army agreed to a land swap with Anheuser-Busch in return for a larger parcel which is located directly across Skiffe's Creek from Fort Eustis. Along with land previously owned by Colonial Williamsburg, the former Camp Wallace land became part of a massive development. Nearby, the Busch Gardens Europe theme park opened in 1975, as well as a large brewery, and the Kingsmill Resort.
Fort Eustis was reopened as a military installation in August 1940 as the Coast Artillery Replacement Training Center. In 1946, Fort Eustis became home to the newly-formed Transportation School which moved there from New Orleans. Training in rail, marine, amphibious operations and other modes of transportation was consolidated at Fort Eustis.
Today Fort Eustis is one of 16 Training and Doctrine Command installations. As such it is the training ground for the majority of the transportation MOSs (with the exception of the 88M truck driver specialty located at Fort Leonard Wood, MO) and all of the helicopter maintenance technicians. It is the home of the Transportation Regiment, and is planned to receive the transfer of some activities currently conducted at Fort Monroe, which is scheduled for closure under BRAC.
A portion of the U.S. Navy's mothball fleet is anchored in the James River adjacent to Mulberry Island. Known as the Ghost Fleet, as these inactive ships have aged, many have become too old and deteriorated to be reactivated and some have become environmental hazards, as they still hold diesel fuel and other hazardous substances. Many are now being removed under contracts with scrapping companies.
On July 31st 1986, the Transportation Corps celebrated its 44th Anniversary. This was also the day the Transportation Corps was inducted into the U.S. Army Regimental System. The activation of the Regiment marked the redesignation of several Transportation Corps training commands. The redesignation provided a link with renowned transportation units of the past. The Training Brigade was reflagged the 8th Transportation Brigade, honoring the 8th Transportation Group in Vietnam. The 8th Transportation Group enjoyed an outstanding reputation in Vietnam for its support of numerous tactical operations and for the development of the "gun truck," a highly armored 5-ton truck usually sporting multiple M2 .50 caliber machine guns. The 2nd Battalion, Training Brigade, was reflagged as the 71st Transportation Battalion. The 2nd Battalion, 5th Training Brigade, Fort Dix, was reflagged as the 36th Transportation Battalion. The 5th Battalion, 4th Training Brigade, Fort Leonard Wood was reflagged as the 58th Transportation Battalion. These units were reflagged as part of the Army's parent regiment system.
The regimental crest is inscribed with the Corps motto—Spearhead of Logistics—to symbolize a soldier’s affiliation with the Transportation Corps. Upon completion of the Transportation Officer Basic Course, officers are automatically inducted into the Corps, Warrant Officers’ are inducted upon completion of the Warrant Officer Candidate Course and enlisted soldiers are inducted upon completion of Advanced Individual Training.
Major General Fred E. Elam, the first Regimental Commander, named General Frank S. Besson, Jr. as the first honorary Colonel of the Regiment (posthumously) in honor of his lifelong service to the Transportation Corps.