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All You Need to Know About Being Stationed at Fort Jackson Base

Heading to Fort Jackson base?  Before you pack up, it might ease your nerves to know more about the location you’ll be training at for...

fort jackson base

Heading to Fort Jackson base? 

Before you pack up, it might ease your nerves to know more about the location you’ll be training at for the next several weeks.

Or, in the case of advanced training, several months.

Soldiers who get sent to this base are usually heading into Basic Combat Training (BCT) or to complete some level of advanced training. Fort Jackson graduations are a huge deal around here, too, considering it’s the Army’s main training center for recruits.

Ready to discover more about this Army base located right in the heart of South Carolina?

We share all the nitty-gritty details of the historic Fort Jackson military installation below.

Fast Facts About Fort Jackson Base

welcome to fort jackson base

You might as well know some random facts about your new basic military training location. Aside from all the knowledge, you’ll receive during your training, it’s good to know you’re one of the thousands who gets to train at the largest and most active Initial Entry Training center in the country.

Here are a few facts about your new base:  

  • Located in Columbia, South Carolina 
  • The base’s motto is “Victory Starts Here”
  • It’s named after President Andrew Jackson
  • Half of the Army’s Soldiers do BCT here 
  • The installation has 52,000 acres of property
  • 12,000 Soldiers complete advanced training here
  • 3,500 active-duty Soldiers are stationed here

Fort Jackson Base History and Present Day Status

fort jackson history
Photo courtesy of the Basic Combat Training Museum Archives.

Originally established in 1917, Camp Jackson was a starting training point for the men of the 30th and 81st Infantry Divisions. Later, it became an encampment and training area for the South Carolina National Guard through 1940. 

The camp became a permanent Army garrison in 1940 and was then given its current-day name, Fort Jackson. In the early 70s, Fort Jackson was slated as a U.S. Army Training Center and continued to expand to what it is today.

Currently, it’s also an advanced training campus that includes the U.S. Army Soldier Support Institute, the Department of Defense Chaplain Center and School, and the Defense Academy for Credibility Assessment.

Services Around Fort Jackson 

While you’re in BCT, you won’t get much chance to explore the base. But if you’re here for advanced training and live nearby or on-base, you can access a ton of services and resources including: 

You may or may not use any or all of these services while on base, but it’s good to know what’s available in case you ever do! 

Need some ideas for things to do near Fort Jackson? We’ve compiled a list of local attractions and sites to see in this blog:  7 Things to do Near Fort Jackson After BCT Graduation

Getting Around Fort Jackson

Photo by Sgt. Tashera Pravato

Fort Jackson is huge. If it’s your first time here — especially if you’re checking in as a permanent party Soldier — you’ll want to know the basic rules and regulations of getting onto and around base. If you’re a visitor, you’ll also need to know where to check-in for a Fort Jackson graduation ceremony. Ask for details at the gate! 

Gate Hours of Operation 

GATE 1

  • Open Monday through Friday 5 a.m. to 6 p.m

GATE 2

  • Open to vehicles 24/7

GATE 4

  • Open Monday through Friday 5 a.m. to 6 p.m

GATE 5

  • Open Monday through Friday 5 a.m. to 10 a.m.
  • Open Monday through Friday 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Outbound only
  • Open Saturday & Sunday 5 a.m. to 6 p.m

VISITOR CONTROL CENTER: Open  5 a.m. to 8 p.m

Checking into Fort Jackson Base

When you arrive, you must check-in. This means regardless of rank, permanent party Soldiers should check-in with the Fort Jackson Welcome Center, located at the Fort Jackson Inn on 7550 Benning Road. 

This building is open 24/7 to assist new Soldiers arriving to base. Call 803-782-9802 with any questions about check-in.

During duty hours, all permanent party Soldiers must report in uniform to the Strom Thurmond building at 5450 Strom Thurmond Blvd, Room 200.

Stop in for a Fort Jackson Newcomer Orientation 

Photo by Staff Sgt. Matt Britton / U.S. Army Central

Whether you’re brand-new to Fort Jackson or returning for training, it’s good to get an update on what’s around or what may have changed. On the first Wednesday of every month, a Newcomers’ Orientation is held at the NCO Club on 5700 Lee Road. 

Starting time is 0900 hours. Doors open at 0830 hours. 

This is a great event for spouses and service members to attend together to learn more about the command and its services. Orientation lasts about 2 hours, so plan accordingly. Reach out to Army Community Service (ACS) with questions at 803-751-5256. 

Enjoy Your Time at Fort Jackson

fort jackson base change of command

Once you’re settled on post, enjoy your time on this historic base.

Even if you’re only around for BCT, be sure to explore the base after graduation. It’ll look a whole lot different when you’re not doing hardcore PT while being yelled at! And, if you’re stationed here with your family, take advantage of the community services and resources available.

With over 52,000 acres, including 1,160 buildings, there’s plenty to see and do around Fort Jackson. Try and explore as much of it as possible before you head to your next duty station since you never know if you’ll get a chance to come back to this historic site again. 
Curious about what the Fort Jackson BCT schedule looks like? Learn more here!

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