Fort Carson is located in El Paso Country, Colorado Springs. The sprawling Army base is one of the major landmarks is the second most populous area of Colorado. The base and its support staff make up a large portion of the Colorado Springs population as well, and have helped shape the face of the city. After Fort Lewis in Washington State, Fort Carson is second most requested duty station in the United States Army.
Camp Carson was established soon after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Construction was undertaken at a feverish pace, and in less than two months the headquarters building was completed. The name Camp Carson was taken in honor of US Army frontier scout General Christopher “Kit” Carson. As US involvement in World War deepened, Camp Carson became a hotbed of activity. Armor battalions, a Greek infantry company, Italian Ordinance troops, mule packers and cooks all trained at the mountain post. An internment center was operated at the camp, starting in 1943. The camp housed nearly 9,000 Italian and German prisoners of war for several years. Axis prisoners of war performed logging work in the area and helped out with farming and processing of local crops like corn and tomatoes.
Camp Carson was a regular training area for the pack mule teams used in early field artillery units. From 1942 to 1956 the mule teams trained for winter warfare in the nearby mountains and practice transporting heavy and awkward equipment through narrow mountain passes. The normal route was high in the mountains near Leadville, over Ute Pass and into Camp Hale where further training would continue.
At the end of World War II, the permanent personnel at Camp Carson dwindled to less than 600. The start of the Korean War marked and massive increase in camps population, starting in 1950. In 1954 the camp’s name was changed to Fort Carson, marking its spot as a permanent Army fixture.
Mechanized units began making their way to Fort Carson in the early 1960s’, and the area of the base was expanded to accommodate training space for these new units. An aviation facility, Butts Army Airfield, was finished in 1966, giving Fort Carson the ability to train Army aircraft as well. As American involvement in Vietnam increased, the population of Fort Carson continued to grow.
Fort Carson is a very large post and provides many opportunities for recreation and leisure activities. The Family, Morale, Recreation and Welfare offices maintain a golf course, two swimming pools and four fitness facilities on the base. There are year round sports teams and outdoor excursions like hunting, fishing, climbing and skiing. Turkey Creek Ranch, south of the base, offers several low cost and free recreational activities to the base as well.
Fort Carson maintains over 3,000 housing units on the post and the on base housing units at Fort Carson are some of the most up to date in the Army. The City of Colorado Springs provides almost unlimited housing options for Army families, with many options available less than a mile from the main gate. Smaller cities like Fountain, Manitou Springs, Black Forest, Monument and Peyton are well within commuting distance for soldiers as well. The city offers a wide range of neighborhoods, schools and amenities.
Local Points of Interest
Colorado Springs offers countless options for outdoor activities and sightseeing. The city has a constant stream of festivals, concerts, historical sites and attractions. Pikes Peak is one of the most well known landmarks in the area. The 14,115 foot peak can be climbed, driven up or summited via a cog railway. On a clear day, visitors to the summit can see into several surrounding states and get a feel for the inspiration that Katherine Lee Bates had to write “America The Beautiful”.
Another beloved Colorado Springs attraction is the Garden Of The Gods. This natural wonder is several square miles of red rock formations that form a breathtaking scenery. The park can be explored for free by car, hiking trails, guided tours and horseback.
Fort Carson is home to a large number of active duty units. Major units of the mountain post include the 71st Ordnance Group (EOD), 10th Combat Support Hospital, 4th Infantry Division, 4th Engineer Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group, 43rd Sustainment Brigade, 13th Air Support Operations Squadron, U.S. Air Force and the 759th Military Police Battalion.