The Ft. Stewart Military Reservation, along with Hunter Army Airfield, is located in coastal Georgia along the beautiful Canoochee River. It encompasses about 280,000 acres that reach into five different counties: Bryan, Liberty, Long, Evans, and Tattnall, with the nearest town being Hinesville. Ft. Stewart is home to the 3rd Infantry Division, and over 9,800 soldiers, military, family members, and Army civilians reside on post.
The History of Ft. Stewart
Even before the creation of the Ft. Stewart that we know and love today, this area was used as a military fortification. The British used it as a buffer between their colonies to the north and their Spanish enemies in Florida. Rangers and the militia used fortifications in the area until about 1770. More and more people came to settle in the area, but it did not become a true military outpost until the Federal government needed to create an anti-aircraft training camp.
In 1940, the Camp Stewart Military Reservation was established. Eventually, the government would buy the 280,000 acres that the post still has today to accommodate the space needed for artillery training and firing ranges.
When the United States entered WWII, Camp Stewart stepped up and began training a large number of soldiers. During the war, there was billeting space for 2,705 officers and 37,267 enlisted. The training programs and options at the base continued to grow, which meant Camp Stewart was able to send well-trained personnel to the war effort.
Toward the end of 1943, Ft. Stewart also made room to create holding areas for German and Italian prisoners of war. Two facilities were created for the prisoners, who were then used as forced labor to help with farming, construction, and base operations.
After WWII, things slowed down substantially at Camp Stewart. Only a handful of officers and enlisted men were kept at the base to keep it semi-operational.To be exact, there were only two officers, 10 enlisted personnel, and 50 civilian employees at that time.
However, when the Korean War broke out, the base was opened up once again. This time, it was given its new designation as the 3rd Army Anti-aircraft Artillery Training Center. In 1956, the camp was designated as Ft. Stewart, making it a permanent installation. It provided vital support during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, and most conflicts and wars since.
In 1967, the U.S. Air Force closed its base at Hunter Field in Savannah. The Army began to conduct flight training at Ft. Stewart, soon developing the U.S. Army Flight Training Center, the Attack Helicopter Training Department, and Hunter Army Airfield.
On April 25, 1996, the 24th Infantry Division was inactivated, and the 3rd Infantry Division was reactivated. Having the 3rd Infantry at Ft. Stewart has provided a level of pride for those who make it their home and who have trained there themselves.
How Did Fort Stewart Get Its Name?
Fort Stewart is named after Brigadier General Daniel Stewart. He was born in Liberty County, Georgia in 1761. At just 15 years old, he joined the Georgia Militia and served during the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. From 1785 to 1787, he served as a state representative. Afterwards, he was the sheriff of Liberty County from 1795 to 1797. Stewart went on to serve three terms as a state senator between 1802 and 1811. Due to his dedicated service to the country, Ft. Stewart was named in his honor.
Units Located at Ft. Stewart
Today, there are many different units that are active at Ft. Stewart and proudly serve our country:
- 1-3 Brigade Troops Battalion
- 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry
- 1st Battalion, 76 Airfield Artillery
- 226th Quartermaster Company
- 26th Brigade Support Battalion
- 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry
- 3rd Squadron, 7th US Cavalry
- 632nd Maintenance Company
- 87th Corps Support Battalion
- Special Troops Battalion
- 135th Quartermaster Company
- 1st Battalion, 41st Field Artillery
- 1st Battalion, 9th Field Artillery
- 240th Forward Support Troop
- 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment
- 3rd Brigade Support Battalion
- 4-3 Brigade Troops Battalion
- 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry
- 92nd Chemical
- 15th ASOS
- 1st Battalion, 64th Armor
- 2-3 Brigade Troops Battalion
- 24th Ordinance
- 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment
- 3rd Finance Company
- 5th Squadron, 7th US Cavalry
- 703rd Brigade Support Battalion
- 92nd Engineer Battalion
Additionally, there are also a number of private organizations located at Ft. Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield. Among them are the Bits & Bridle Equestrian Club, Boy Scouts (Troops 566, 444, and 454), Girl Scouts, Marne Skeet & Trap Club, Sergeant Audie Murphy Club, the Red Cross, and Hunter Thrift Shop, to name just a few.
Proud Home of the 3rd Infantry Division
The 3rd Infantry Division has a storied history in the United States military. Members of “The Rock of the Marne” have served with honor and distinction since the first World War, bringing home many Medals of Honor, Distinguished Service Crosses, and other honors. During WWII, the 3rd Infantry Division landed with General Patton on the North African coast to fight against the Axis powers. They were a part of the invasion of Sicily and fought their way through France and into Germany to ensure the end of the Nazi threat.
Most Notable Member of Ft. Stewart and the 3rd Infantry Division
Without a doubt, one of the most famous people trained at Ft. Steward and deployed with the 3rd Infantry Division is Audie Murphy. He is one of the most decorated combat soldiers from the second World War. He received every military combat award for valor in the U.S. Army. In addition, he received heroism honors and awards from Belgium and France.
Murphy is about as close to a real-life Captain America as you can get. He was initially rejected by the military because he was both underweight and underage. His sister later falsified his birth year, which allowed him to join, undergoing initial training at Camp Wolters and then Ft. Meade. Eventually, he was assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division. One of his most impressive actions during WWII was when he held off a company of Nazi soldiers all on his one for a full hour in France. He then led a successful counterattack while he was wounded and had no ammunition. He even played himself in a film called To Hell and Back, which was produced after the war. Anyone with a connection to the 3rd Infantry Division should be proud!
There is a lot to love and to learn for those who are currently serving at Ft. Stewart and those who have served there in the past.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.