Fort Benning, GA Image 1
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    Fort Benning, GA History

    Fort Benning, the Home of the Infantry, was established as Camp Benning in 1918 on an old plantation site. The camp was named after Brigadier General Henry Benning, and assigned the mission of providing basic training for units during World War I, and briefly the training of tank units. In 1920 Congress funded the post as a permanent installation, with new construction, and the establishment of the School of Infantry. In 1922, the post was renamed Fort Benning, and throughout the 1920s and 1930s Benning was the location of a great many reforms and improvements that transformed the Infantry from a 19th military to a 20th century one. One officer after another left their stamp: General Wells emphasized training in realistic field environments; Lt. Col. George Marshall (later General Marshall, one of the greatest generals of World War II) pushed for excellence in training; Captain Dwight Eisenhower (Later Supreme Command Allied Forces in Europe) coached athletics programs pushing physical fitness and ability beyond basic infantry training.

    In World War II, Fort Benning was a primary infantry and airborne training center as well as an officer candidate school. By war's end Fort Benning had developed and refined new infantry and combined arms tactics based on combat experience.

    Fort Benning was also where the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, the first all-black unit of paratroopers, trained. At the time, the Army was segregated, with black soldiers generally placed in cleaning or serving positions. The 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion was the first of its kind, an all-black paratroop battalion, nicknamed the "Triple Nickles." They were used as smokejumpers, fighting forest fires ignited by Japanese balloon bombs on the West Coast, becoming their other nickname , the 555 "Smoke Jumpers." These fire balloons were 35 feet in diameter, and sent across the ocean with a bomb and drop timer. Once the balloons reached the American coastline, the bombs dropped and touched off fires in US timberland.

    In 1950 Fort Benning became the home of the Ranger School, which continues at Benning to this day. In 1963, the Eleventh Air Assault Division was formed to develop, test, and use the Army's new helicopter-based air assault tactics, which have continued to be central to airmobile infantry operations. For many years military dog training was conducted at Fort Benning, particularly scout dog with counter-ambush training.

    Fort Benning continues to be a central training post for officers, non-commissioned officers, airborne infantry, and basic Ranger school.