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9 Things You Didn’t Know About Fort Jackson, South Carolina

For the Army, victory starts at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.  The official motto of the …

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brig gen talks on camera
The Army & Air Force Exchange Service, NBC Universal and Golf Channel are teaming to provide free live streaming coverage May 7 of the World Long Drive’s Exchange Celebrating Service: Fort Jackson tour stop. The event includes a military division.

For the Army, victory starts at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. 

The official motto of the base is “Victory Starts Here.” 

And the moment recruits hop off the bus and head into training, they’ll probably feel less than victorious as they meet new drill instructors. But by the end, they’ll understand why the motto is what it is. 

Since 1917, this military installation has served as the training grounds for the U.S. Army to produce mission-ready Soldiers. With graduations nearly every week, this bustling training facility is focused on training recruits for victory. 

Getting ready to head to South Carolina for training? 

Here are nine things you should know about Fort Jackson, South Carolina:

1. It’s in the Heart of South Carolina

 

veterans day parade on fort jackson
Photo by Saskia Gabriel, Fort Jackson


Just as Fort Jackson, South Carolina is always bustling, so is the city in which it lies. Columbia is not only the state capitol but South Carolina’s second-largest city. Outside of the base gates, you’ll find a population of over 700,000 that stretches over two counties. 

 

2. Top-Notch Recruits Live Here

soldier at firing range on Fort Jackson
U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Gary A. Witte

It’s not often you hear silence at this training facility. As the Army’s main recruit center for Basic Combat Training, more than 60,000 trainees come through each year. That number makes up about 50% of the Army’s trained soldiers. 

3. Thirteen Units/Tenants Call Fort Jackson Home

soldier does high-step through horizontal ladder obstacles
U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ken Scar

You probably know a whole lot of training goes on daily at this military installation. Considering that 13 different units/tenants are permanently docked here, that should come as no surprise. From the 165th Infantry Brigade to the 282nd Army Band, this massive base is always bustling with activity. Sometimes, you may even get to smile during training exercises.

4. See History at Fort Jackson Museum

churchill visits troops at fort jackson
Photo courtesy of the Basic Combat Training Museum Archives

The Fort Jackson Museum Community (FJMC) is a community favorite and a must-see for service members and their families. Each year, around 25,000 visitors stop into the four different museums, a collection of historic artifacts dedicated to the backstory of Fort Jackson. While the museum community does require base access, anyone in training or stationed here may escort their family. Visitors will get to see everything from Korean War weapons to examples of uniforms from as far back as the Revolutionary War.

 

5. An On-Site Waterpark Keeps Families Cool

lazy river at fort jackson waterpark
Courtesy of MWR Fort Jackson

Yes, Fort Jackson even has its own seasonal water park for families to enjoy on base. When the summer months get muggy and hot, there’s nothing like cooling off in the 10,000 square-foot family pool. The park also has a snack bar, two water slides, a splash pad, lazy river, and kiddie pool. Splish-splash!

 

6. Tee Off at the Base Golf Club

golfer teeing off at Fort Jackson Golf Club
Courtesy of Army & Air Force Exchange Service HQ

The Fort Jackson Golf Club opened back in 1949 and offers a playground for golfers of all abilities. Every year, more than 72,000 rounds of golf are played on the two championship courses. Plus, PGA pro staff are on-site to offer lessons for players to perfect their swing. And, if you make it to the 17th tee, you’ll get a gorgeous view of the Columbia skyline.

 

7. Fort Jackson, South Carolina is Massive 

army bct training
Courtesy of U.S. Army Photo by Maj. Michelle Lunato

Just how big is Fort Jackson? With 52,000 acres to train its soldiers on, this base has plenty of room to train recruits and other Soldiers. Aside from fun leisure sites like the aforementioned golf courses and waterpark, it also has more than 100 ranges and field training sites. Oh, and it’s got about 1,160 buildings. If you’re not sure where you’re going, make sure you ask someone at the gate for clear directions. 

8. Two Schools Are On Base For Little Ones 

fort jackson schools in a parade
Courtesy of Fort Jackson Public Affairs Office

Have little ones who need to go to school? You won’t have to go far if you live on base at Fort Jackson. The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) has two elementary schools on post. Students in Pre-K and first grade will go to Pierce Terrace Elementary School. Second grade through sixth-grade students may attend Pinckney Elementary School. Students in middle and high school can attend off-post schools in Richland School District Two.

9. Visitors Can Stay On Base

fort jackson bct graduate receives embrace
Army photo by Ms. Saskia Gabriel

With six lodging options on Fort Jackson, newcomers and families have a place to rest their weary heads after travel. Options include Jack’s Inn, plus a variety of IHG Army Hotels on site. It’s important to note that smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hotel properties. 

Feeling Ready to Head to Fort Jackson, South Carolina?

father hugs army daughter at fort jackson
Army photo by Ms. Saskia Gabriel

Now that you’ve got an idea of what Fort Jackson is all about, you can fully enjoy your training experience. If you’re a family member, keep this information handy to share with your recruit! 

Want more details on what to expect at Fort Jackson? Here are a few more good reads:

If you’re planning to see your recruit graduate from BCT, be sure to book your travel early through a company that doesn’t charge change fees! BCT training is generally 10 weeks long. Once your recruit starts nearing the end of their training, be sure to ask what details they have on graduation. 

Above all, whether you’re a recruit or family member, enjoy your time at Fort Jackson! 

You can keep up with your recruit’s training status with the free Sandboxx app. Considering downloading it today! 

Feature image courtesy of U.S. Army Reserve photo by Sgt. David Lietz

 

Sandboxx
The editorial team at Sandboxx.