Fort McClellan, originally Camp McClellan, was a United States Army installation located adjacent to the city of Anniston, Alabama. While it was in operation, Fort McClellan was home for an average military population of about 10,000 people, including about 5,000 who were permanently assigned, and employed about 1,500 civilians.
The history of Fort McClellan dates back to the Spanish-American War
. Located in the Choccolocco Foothills
of the Appalachian Mountains
. The area provided a suitable area for artillery
The United States Department of War
formally established Camp McClellan on July 18
. The camp was named in honor of Major General George B. McClellan
of the United States Army
from 1861 to 1862, and Governor
of New Jersey
from 1878 to 1881. Camp McClellan was a mobilization camp used to quickly train men for World War I
. By October 1917, there were more than 27,000 men training at the camp with the 29th National Guard Division from New Jersey. The 29th was deployed in France in June 1918 and suffered almost 6,000 casualties in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive
After the war, Camp McClellan was redesignated Fort McClellan, a permanent post, on July 1, 1929. During World War II, the 27th Division from New York trained at the fort during October 1940. After Pearl Harbor, this was one of the first units to depart for combat. The Division fought in the Marshall Islands, the Gilbert Islands, Saipan, Guam and the Philippines, and was later on occupational duty in Japan. Nearly 500,000 men were trained at Fort McClellan during the war.
During the war, a 3,000 capacity Prison Internment Camp for prisoners of war was built during 1943 when Fort McClellan became the temporary home for many captured enemy soldiers. A cemetery on the post marks 26 German and 3 Italian prisoners of war who died during captivity.
After the war, the Infantry Replacement Training Center trained soldiers for occupation duty until November 1946, when the fort became a recruit training center. The Recruit Training Center was inactivated and the number of soldiers on post dwindled rapidly after the war. The installation was placed on inactive status on June 30, 1947. Only a small maintenance crew remained on the post. Plans were made during 1950 to again use the area for National Guard training.
To meet the requirement for the Vietnam War, an Advanced Individual Training Infantry Brigade was activated in 1966. With the mission change, the fort was renamed the U.S. Army School/Training Center and Fort McClellan. Due to continued force reductions in Vietnam, the brigade was deactivated in April 1970, after training more than 30,000 men.
Base Realignment and Closure
In 1995 the Base Realignment and Closure
(BRAC) Commission voted to permanently close Fort McClellan. The official closing ceremony ending Fort McClellan's illustrious past was held on 20 May, 1999. At the time of closure, Fort McClellan was home to the U.S. Army Chemical School, the U.S. Army Military Police School, the Training Brigade, and the Department of Defense Polygraph Institute. The Chemical School, Military Police School, and the Training Brigade relocated to Fort Leonard Wood
, Missouri, integrating with their Engineer School to form the U.S. Army Maneuver Support Center (MANSCEN). The DoD Polygraph Institute relocated to Fort Jackson, South Carolina.
Mountain Longleaf National Wildlife Refuge
In 2003, the Mountain Longleaf National Wildlife Refuge
was established on 9000 acres (36 km²) of undeveloped land at Fort McClellan.
Work is underway to restore the environment from the ecological problems introduced by the army's continued presence at the fort.
In 1951, the Chemical Corp
activated the replacement training center at Fort McClellan. In 1962, the name of the activity was changed from the Chemical Corps School to the U.S. Army Chemical Center and School, until it was disestablished in 1973. Another activity, the U.S. Army Combat Developments Command Chemical Biological-Radiological Agency, moved to Fort McClellan in 1962. It was later disestablished along with the Chemical School in 1973.
After reestablishment in December, 1979, the U.S. Army Chemical School relocated here from Aberdeen, Maryland, and joined the Military Police School and the Training Brigade to make Fort McClellan the only military installation in the United States with three major missions.
Military Police Corps
Official ceremonies were held July 11, 1975, marking the move of the U.S. Army Military Police School from Fort Gordon, Georgia. A major reorganization of the post began in the fall of 1976 and was completed on May 13, 1977, when the colors of the Women's Army Corps Center and School were retired during ceremonies on Marshall Parade Field.
Women's Army Corps
The Women's Army Corps School was founded at Fort McClellan on September 25, 1952. Approximately two years later, official ceremonies were conducted to establish the post as the first permanent home of the U.S. Women's Army Corps
Center. Fort McClellan remained its home until the Corps was disestablished and its flag retired in 1977. Participating in the final ceremony was Major General Mary E. Clarke
, the last director of the Women's Army Corps and destined to later become the Commanding General of Fort McClellan, the first female officer ever to command a major Army installation.
Anniston Army Depot