Fort Bragg

Founded on September 4, 1918 on the outskirts of Fayetteville, Camp Bragg was one of three military training camps established in North Carolina to provide training for soldiers during World War I. The initial development of the camp concluded on February 1, 1919, and it was the sole camp among the three to sustain its operations post the war.

Camp Bragg, originally an artillery training ground for World War I troops, was named after Confederate General Braxton Bragg. After the war, personnel from Camp McClellan, Alabama were transferred to Camp Bragg. However, demobilization efforts led the U.S. War Department to decrease the size of Camp Bragg. In 1921, Camp Bragg was on the verge of closure, but thanks to the advocacy of General Albert J. Bowley, it remained open. Bowley played a crucial role in convincing the U.S. War Department and civic organizations in Fayetteville of the necessity of Camp Bragg. As a result, the U.S. War Department rescinded the abandonment order on September 16, 1921. Camp Bragg held a unique status as the only military reservation in the United States with sufficient space to test the newest long-range artillery weapons. Consequently, the Army’s Field Artillery board was relocated to Bragg. Finally, on September 30, 1922, Camp Bragg was officially transformed into Fort Bragg, cementing its role as a permanent military base.

The military citizen training for Corps, as well as the ground training for Corps Reserve Officers and Corps Reserve Officers National, took place at Fort Bragg. Additionally, Fort Bragg became the headquarters for the National Reserve Officer Training Corps and the Civilian Conservation Corps. A new highway was also constructed to connect Fort Bragg to the outside world, fostering friendly relations with nearby residents. The diverse environmental features of Fort Bragg, such as forests, streams, swamps, mud, heavy sand, and deep terrain, were thoroughly tested for the effectiveness and efficiency of artillery weapons. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, Fort Bragg served as an important location for artillery field testing.

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“Home of the Airborne,” Fort Bragg became known as the base where the 82nd Airborne Division was permanently stationed at the end of the war. The 2nd Armored Division, as well as the 100th and 9th infantry divisions, were also housed at Fort Bragg and continued training soldiers in all capacities. Fort Bragg had a presence of all five airborne divisions – the 17th, 13th, 11th, 101st, and 82nd divisions – by the end of World War II. In late 1942, the Airborne Divisions and the 101st division were moved to Fort Bragg. Major General Lee was given command of the 101st Airborne Division and was promoted to Brigadier General in August. Fort Bragg was commanded by North Carolinian General Brigadier Lee, who established the Airborne Command at Fort Bragg in March 1942 and added paved runways. With the onset of World War II in the 1940s, Fort Bragg underwent further renovations and updates for modern warfare training.

During the 1990s, Fort Bragg soldiers played a crucial role in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Soldiers from Fort Bragg took part in U.S. Military actions in various locations, such as the Caribbean, Grenada, Vietnam, and the Dominican Republic, during the Cold War. The headquarters of the Army’s Psychological Warfare Center (now known as U.S. Army Special Operations Command) was established at Fort Bragg in 1952, attracting Special Forces Soldiers. Furthermore, Fort Bragg experienced further growth in the 1950s.

Bragg also serves as one of the main military bases that support military Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, and New Dawn. These acts of humanitarian aid extended into the 2000s, with soldiers providing assistance during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the earthquake in Haiti in 2010. Soldiers from Fort Bragg played a significant part in various humanitarian and peacekeeping endeavors, such as Operations Allied Force/Joint Guardian/Rapid Guardian in Albania/Kosovo, Operation Joint Endeavor in Bosnia, Operation Safe Haven and Safe Passage for Cuban refugees, Operation Restore Democracy in Haiti, relief efforts after Hurricane Andrew, and other participatory initiatives, as military conflicts decreased.

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The “Home of Special Operations” and “Airborne” is currently one of the largest military complexes in the world, and Fort Bragg is its location. After the closure and realignment of the Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC) in Georgia, Fort Macpherson, the command center for the U.S. Army Reserve and the U.S. Army Forces Command, relocated and Fort Bragg became their new home in 2011.

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