Fort Stewart is a census-designated place and
United States Army
United States Army post
U.S. state of Georgia, primarily in Liberty and Bryan counties,
but also extending into smaller portions of Evans, Long and Tattnall
counties. The population was 11,205 at the 2000 census. The nearby
principal city of Hinesville and
Fort Stewart together comprise the
Fort Stewart metropolitan statistical area which comprises
all of Liberty County. Fort Stewart's main residents are members of
the 3rd Infantry Division.
Fort Stewart Military Reservation includes approximately 280,000
acres (1,100 km2). This includes land that was formerly the town
of Clyde, Georgia.
3.1 Anti-Aircraft Artillery Center
3.2 POW camp
3.3 Post World War II
3.4 Korean War
3.5 Cuban Missile Crisis
3.6 Vietnam War
3.7 Hunter Army Airfield
3.8 Post-Vietnam era
4 See also
6 External links
Fort Stewart is located along the Canoochee River.
According to the United States
Census Bureau, the portion of the base
occupied by housing has a total area of 6.6 square miles
(17.1 km²), all of it land.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 4,924 people residing
in the base. The racial makeup of the base was 58.7% White, 23.2%
Black, 0.6% Native American, 1.6% Asian, 0.4% Pacific Islander, 0.1%
from some other race and 3.6% from two or more races. 11.8% were
Hispanic or Latino of any race.
As of the census of 2000, there were 11,205 people, 1,849
households, and 1,791 families residing in the base. The population
density was 1,697.1 people per square mile (655.5/km²). There were
1,936 housing units at an average density of 293.2 per square mile
(113.3/km²). The racial makeup of the base was 50.00% White, 36.75%
African American, 0.72% Native American, 1.91% Asian, 0.41% Pacific
Islander, 6.75% from other races, and 3.45% from two or more races.
Hispanic or Latino of any race were 12.12% of the population.
There were 1,849 households out of which 81.7% had children under the
age of 18 living with them, 88.0% were married couples living
together, 7.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and
3.1% were non-families. 2.9% of all households were made up of
individuals and 0.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age
or older. The average household size was 3.65 and the average family
size was 3.68.
The age distribution is: 27.3% under the age of 18, 39.9% from 18 to
24, 31.6% from 25 to 44, 1.1% from 45 to 64, and 0.1% who were 65
years of age or older. The median age was 22 years. For every 100
females there were 197.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over,
there were 251.8 males. All these statistics are consistent with Fort
Stewart's military status.
The median income for a base household is $30,441, and the median
income for a family was $29,507. Males had a median income of $18,514
versus $17,250 for females. The per capita income for the base was
$11,594. About 9.7% of families and 11.0% of the population were below
the poverty line, including 13.0% of those under age 18 and none of
those age 65 or over.
Fort Stewart is named for Daniel Stewart (Brigadier General), a
Revolutionary War hero and political leader from Liberty County,
Georgia. It is the largest Army installation east of the
Mississippi River, covering 280,000 acres (1,100 km2), which
include parts of Liberty, Long, Bryan, Evans and Tattnall Counties.
The reservation is about 39 miles (63 km) across from east to
west, and 19 miles (31 km) from north to south. During World War
II, the camp had billeting space for 2,705 officers, and 37,267
enlisted men. It is close to the East Coast, and two deep water ports:
Savannah, Georgia (42 mi), and Charleston, South Carolina
(142 mi). Tank, field artillery, helicopter gunnery, and small
arms ranges operate simultaneously throughout the year with little
time lost to bad weather.
Anti-Aircraft Artillery Center
In June 1940, Congress authorized funding for the purchase of property
in coastal Georgia for the purpose of building an anti-aircraft
artillery training center. It was to be located just outside
Hinesville, Georgia, some 40 miles (64 km) southwest of Savannah.
On 1 July 1940 the first 5,000 acres (20 km²) were bought and
subsequent purchases followed. Eventually the reservation would
include over 280,000 acres (1100 km²) and stretch over five
counties. The large expanse of property was required for the firing
ranges and impact areas which an anti-aircraft artillery training
center would need for live-fire training.
In November 1940, the Anti-Aircraft Artillery Training Center was
officially designated as Camp Stewart, in honor of General Daniel
Stewart, a native of Liberty County, who had fought with Francis
Marion during the American Revolution, and who became one of the
county’s military heroes. An announcement of the new post’s name
was made in January 1941.
During the early months, training was done on wooden mock-ups, since
real anti-aircraft guns were in short supply. Live-firing exercises
were conducted on the beaches of St. Augustine and Amelia Island,
Florida, since the necessary ranges and impact areas had not been
completed at Camp Stewart. This live-fire training over the ocean
continued until September 1941, while at Camp Stewart practice firing
and searchlight training progressed.
In fall of 1941, the
Carolina Maneuvers were held, and all the
anti-aircraft units from Camp Stewart participated. As these maneuvers
drew to a close, a feeling of restless anticipation pervaded the ranks
of the National Guard soldiers who were looking toward their impending
release from active duty, after completion of their year of training.
However, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7 ended these
dreams. Now the U.S. was in the war, and Camp Stewart set about
accomplishing the mission it was intended for.
Savannah's First Bryan Baptist Church had a special service for
soldiers from the Savannah Air Base and Camp Stewart December 21,
1941. Reverend Terrill wrote a letter to Asa H. Gordon, director of
the Colored SSSS, extending the invitation to the soldiers. Church
members took at least one soldier home from the service for Sunday
dinner. Reverend Terrill, at the special service for soldiers,
preached on "The Negro's Place in National Defence." Thelma Lee
Stevens gave the welcome address. Scout Westley W. Law was master of
ceremonies (source: page 71, Dr. Charles J. Elmore, "First Bryan
1788–2001 The Oldest Continuous Black Baptist Church in America.")
The National Guard units departed and new units came in for training.
Facilities were expanded and improved. Anti-aircraft artillery
training was upgraded and soon a detachment of Women Airforce Service
Pilots (WASP’s) arrived at the air facility on post, Liberty Field,
to fly planes to tow targets for the live-fire exercises. Eventually
radio-controlled airplane targets came into use as a more effective
and safer means of live-fire practice.
As the war progressed, Camp Stewart’s training programs continued
expanding to keep pace with the needs placed upon it. Units were
shipped out promptly upon completion of their training, and new units
received in their place. The camp provided well-trained soldiers for
duty in the European, the Mediterranean, the North African, and the
By late 1943, Camp Stewart assumed a new responsibility as one of many
holding areas designated in this country for German and Italian
prisoners of war (POWs), who had fallen into Allied hands during
fighting in North Africa. These men were held in two separate POW
facilities on post, and they were used as a labor force for base
operations, construction projects, and for area farming.
Beside its initial purposes as an anti-aircraft artillery training
center, Camp Stewart also served as a Cooks' and Bakers' School, and
as a staging area for a number of Army postal units. By spring 1944,
the camp was bulging at its seams as more than 55,000 soldiers
occupied the facility during the build-up for the D-Day invasion.
However, almost overnight, the post was virtually empty as these units
shipped out for England. With the D-Day invasion and Allied control of
the air over Europe, the need for anti-aircraft units diminished, and
in response the anti-aircraft training at Camp Stewart was phased out.
By Jan. 1945 only the POW camp was still functioning.
Post World War II
With the end of the war, Camp Stewart came to life briefly as a
separation center for redeployed soldiers, but on 30 September 1945,
the post was inactivated. Only two officers, 10 enlisted men, and 50
civilian employees maintained the facilities, and the Georgia National
Guard only did training during summer months.
With the outbreak of hostilities in Korea in June 1950, the U.S. once
again found itself with the need to update training and to prepare new
soldiers to meet the crisis in Korea. Camp Stewart was reopened on 9
August 1950, its facilities repaired, and National Guard troops
brought in for training. On 28 December 1950, Camp Stewart was
redesignated as the 3rd Army Anti-Aircraft Artillery Training Center.
Intensive training of soldiers destined for service in Korea began.
Since control of the air in Korea wasn’t seriously challenged by the
Communist forces, in late 1953 Camp Stewart’s role changed from
solely anti-aircraft training to include armor and tank firing as
Korean War eventually cooled down, it was recognized that the
U.S. would be required to maintain a ready and able military force to
deal with any potential threat to itself and its allies. Camp Stewart
would have a role to play in that mission. The decision was made that
the post would no longer be viewed as a temporary installation. On 21
March 1956, it was redesignated as Fort Stewart. Its role would
continue to evolve in response to specific needs and world events.
Fort Stewart was redesignated as an Armor and Artillery
Firing Center, since its old anti-aircraft ranges and impact areas
were better suited for this purpose in the new age of missiles. By
1961, there was a feeling that
Fort Stewart may have served its
usefulness, and there was movement afoot to deactivate the post again.
However, the age of missiles brought with it new threats and a new
mission for Fort Stewart.
Cuban Missile Crisis
As a result of the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962, the 1st
Armored Division was ordered to
Fort Stewart for staging, and in the
short span of two weeks the population of the fort rose from 3,500
personnel to over 30,000.
The country prepared for the worst, but in the end a compromise was
reached, and the crisis passed. Shortly after, word was received at
Fort Stewart that a VIP would be visiting the post and that the post
conference room wasn’t worthy of a person of this stature. Thus,
preparations were rapidly made to convert this conference room into a
more suitable one. The command group at
Fort Stewart quickly discerned
that this VIP would be none other than Commander in Chief, President
John F. Kennedy. He arrived at Hunter Field on 26 Nov. 1962 and flew
to Donovan Parade Field at Fort Stewart, where he reviewed the entire
1st Armored Division. From there he was taken to the new conference
room where he was briefed on armed forces readiness to respond to the
Cuban Missile Crisis, and then he visited troops in nearby training
After the Cuban Missile Crisis had passed, the Cold War situation kept
Fort Stewart in an active training role. During the late 1960s,
another developing situation would bring about yet another change in
Fort Stewart’s mission. With tensions growing in the divided country
of Vietnam, the U.S. found itself becoming increasingly involved in
The Vietnamese terrain and the type of war being fought there demanded
an increased aviation capability through the use of helicopters and
light, fixed-wing aircraft. This brought about a need for more
aviators. In response to this need, an element of the U.S. Army
Aviation School at Fort Rucker, Alabama, was transferred to Fort
Stewart in 1966. Helicopter pilot training and helicopter gunnery
courses became Fort Stewart’s new mission. In an ironic twist, now
instead of training soldiers to shoot down aircraft,
Fort Stewart was
training soldiers to fly them.
Hunter Army Airfield
When the U.S. Air Force closed its base at Hunter Field in Savannah in
1967, the Army promptly assumed control and in conjunction with the
flight training being conducted at Fort Stewart, the U.S. Army Flight
Training Center came into being. The helicopter pilot training was
rapidly accelerated and pilots were trained and soon sent to duty all
over the world, with a large percentage seeing active duty in Vietnam.
The Army established the first dedicated attack helicopter training
school at Hunter in July 1967. The Attack Helicopter Training
Department (AHTD) trained Army, Marine and a few foreign officers
(principally Spanish Navy)in the AH-1G Cobra attack helicopter.
Hunter Army Airfield, covers about 5,400 acres (22 km2) and is
also the home of the U.S. Coast Guard Station, Savannah – the
largest helicopter unit in the Coast Guard. It provides Savannah and
the Southeast United States with round-the-clock search-and-rescue
coverage of its coastal areas.
In 1969 President Nixon planned to reduce American involvement in
Vietnam by training the Vietnamese military to take over the war. In
conjunction with this, helicopter flight training for Vietnamese
pilots began at the Training Center in 1970 and continued until 1972.
Gradually America’s involvement in Vietnam dwindled and by mid-1972
the flight training aspect of Fort Stewart’s mission was terminated,
and both Hunter Field and
Fort Stewart reverted to garrison status.
The following year Hunter Field was closed entirely and Fort Stewart
sat idle, with the exception of the National Guard training which
continued to be conducted at the installation.
George W. Bush
George W. Bush inspects the troops at
Fort Stewart on
February 12, 2001.
On 1 July 1974, the soon-to-be reactivated 1st Battalion, 75th
Infantry Regiment (Ranger), parachuted into Fort Stewart. The
Battalion was formally reactivated the following month. It was the
first Army Ranger battalion activated since the Second World War.
Hunter Army Airfield
Hunter Army Airfield was reopened to support the training and
activities of the Rangers.
In October 1974, Headquarters, 24th Infantry Division was activated at
Fort Stewart. This historic unit, which had seen active and arduous
service in the Pacific during WW II and in the Korean War, and served
as an element of NATO forces defending western Europe, had been
inactive since 1970. The "Victory" Division, as it was known, was
going to make
Fort Stewart its home. It was perhaps fitting that the
"V" shaped layout of the main post itself represented the "V" for the
Victory Division. The 24th Infantry Division would make Fort Stewart
uniquely its own.
With the reactivation of the 24th Infantry Division, the post entered
a new phase in its history. Facilities were upgraded, and new
permanent structures replaced many of the old World War II-era wooden
buildings from the days of Camp Stewart. On 1 October 1980, the 24th
Infantry Division was designated a mechanized infantry division, and
assigned as the heavy division of the XVIII Airborne Corps, the core
element of the newly organized Rapid Deployment Force. This
designation was the fruition of that potential first realized by those
who served at the post during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
The 24th Infantry Division began intensive training over the expanse
of piney woods and lowlands of the post, and conducted live-fire
exercises on many of the old Camp Stewart anti-aircraft ranges.
Additional deployment training and exercises took Division units from
Georgia's woodlands to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin,
California, as well as to other areas of the world such as Egypt and
Turkey. The Division was regularly seen in REFORGER exercises in
Germany and BRIGHT STAR in Egypt. Its training was continuous. The
mission of the Rapid Deployment Force was to be prepared to deploy to
practically any point on the globe at a moment’s notice, to deal
with whatever threat might be discerned.
In August 1990, Iraq invaded and overran neighboring Kuwait, and
threatened to do the same to Saudi Arabia. The Port of Savannah worked
around the clock to load and ship the Division’s heavy equipment,
while aircraft shuttles from Hunter Field flew the Division’s
personnel to Saudi Arabia. Within a month, the entire Division had
been reassembled in Saudi Arabia to face the possible invasion of that
country by Iraqi forces.
Fort Stewart saw a growing influx of National
Guard and Reserve units who were being mobilized to support the
operations in Saudi Arabia and to assume the tasks at the post which
had formerly been accomplished by 24th Infantry Division personnel. In
Fort Stewart appeared to be almost a ghost town, as never
before had the entire Division been deployed from the post at one
time. Within eight months, the crisis at the Persian Gulf had
concluded, and the 24th Infantry Division triumphantly returned to its
home in coastal Georgia.
The post-Cold War drawdown of forces in Europe resulted in many
storied units coming home to the US. On 25 April 1996, "ownership" of
Fort Stewart passed as the 24th Infantry Division was inactivated and
the 3rd Infantry Division was reactivated. Thus began a new chapter in
the history of Fort Stewart.
Fort Stewart also is a leading mobilization station for Army units
preparing for tours in
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Operation Iraqi Freedom as well as two-week
National Guard annual training.
Georgia World War II Army Airfields
^ "American FactFinder". United States
Census Bureau. Archived from
the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
^ Krakow, Kenneth K. (1975). Georgia Place-Names: Their History and
Origins (PDF). Macon, GA: Winship Press. p. 33.
Fort Stewart Website
Municipalities and communities of Bryan County, Georgia, United States
County seat: Pembroke
Municipalities and communities of Liberty County, Georgia, United
County seat: Hinesville
Current military installations of Georgia
Air Force Base
Air Reserve Base