Fort Jackson was created in 1917 (as Camp Jackson) as the United States entered World War I. At the conclusion of World War I, Camp Jackson was shut down and the Camp was abandoned 25 April 1922 pursuant to General Orders No. 33, War Department, 27 July 1921. Camp Jackson was reactivated for World War II. At the conclusion of World War II, the post was to have been inactivated by 1950; however, the outbreak of the Korean War caused the Post to remain active and it remains an active duty post in the early 21st Century.
Fort Jackson is the largest and most active Initial Entry Training Center in the U.S. Army, training 34 percent of all soldiers and 69 percent of the women entering the Army each year. Providing the Army with new soldiers is the post's primary mission. Accomplishing this mission means training in excess of 45,000 basic training and advanced individual training soldiers annually. The training is provided by the 165th, 171st, and 193rd Infantry Brigades.
The post has other missions as well. While some military installations have experienced downsizing and closure in past years, Fort Jackson has added several new schools and training institutions since 1995 including the U.S. Army Soldier Support Institute, the U.S. Army Chaplains Center and School, and the Defense Academy for Credibility Assessment.
The fort encompasses more than 52,000 acres (210 km²) of land, including over 50 ranges and field training sites and 1000 buildings. Other expansion and improvement projects have been completed or are in progress. Within the last three years new projects included a Post Exchange complex, an Emergency Services Center and a Naval Reserve Center. A $4.5 million family water park opened in the summer of 2004 and a new barracks complex and central energy plant costing $59 million will open later this year.
Soldiers, civilians, retirees and family members make up the Fort Jackson community that continues to grow in numbers and facilities. An additional 14,000 soldiers attend courses at the Soldier Support Institute, Chaplain Center and School and Drill Sergeant School annually. Thirty-six hundred active duty soldiers and their 10,000 family members are assigned to the installation and make this area their home. Fort Jackson employs almost 4,400 civilians and provides services for more than 115,000 retirees and their family members. In addition, Fort Jackson receives almost 60 percent of all the female recruits of the United States Army.
Located in the heart of the midlands region of South Carolina, Fort Jackson was incorporated into the city of Columbia in October 1968 and is midway between New York and Miami. Columbia has direct access to three interstate highways, I-20, I-26 and I-77, and indirect access to two additional interstates within 100 miles (160 km), I-95 and I-85. Average temperatures in the region range from a high of 92 °F (33 °C) in July to a low of 34 °F (1 °C) in January. Annual rainfall averages around 48 inches (1200 mm).
The fort has a significant economic impact on the local area. Annual expenditures by Fort Jackson exceed $716.9 million for salaries, utilities, contracts and other services. In addition, over 100,000 family members visit the Midlands area each year to attend basic training graduation activities, using local hotels, restaurants and shopping areas.
In the film Renaissance Man, scenes from the fictional "Fort McClane" were filmed at Fort Jackson.