Fort Gillem is part of the wide category of small and satellite bases. It is run by the US Army and located in Forest Park. Its “mother” base is Fort McPherson. This means there are particular facilities that the inhabitants of Fort Gillem do not have access to, unless they go to Fort McPherson. At the same time, the small base is supposed to support Fort McPherson, regardless of its actions. It includes a few units of the Criminal Investigation Command and houses over 400 active military troops, more than 1600 reserve soldiers and about 1600 civilians, whether they are employed there or just part of the families. It spreads over almost 1500 acres and was named in the honor of Alvan Cullom Gillem Jr., who started his impressive career as a simple private at Fort McPherson. His popularity and heroic actions marked him as one of the most important superiors in World War I. Gillem Jr. ended his career in 1950, as one of the 3-rd Army generals.
The base was initially known as Atlanta Army Depot. Decades later, its name was changed to Atlanta General Depot due to a few improvements and upgrades. The fort is now close to the Clayton County. Both of these communities – a civilian human community and a military one – managed to work and evolved side by side for decades. They almost depended one from another. Over the history, Fort Gillem didn’t play any major roles. However, a few people know that it supported all the American wars of the 19-th century, such as World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Berlin Airlift, the Cuban problems or the Vietnam War. Dozens of thousands of individuals went through the training bases and sessions taking place at this base. At the same time, since its objective was simple – storing military equipment, plenty of tools and advanced machinery went through this base before being sent to problematic areas in the world.
Before 1973, the base used to be a solitary installation. In June, 1973, it was renamed to what it is today and set up as a complementary base for Fort McPherson. During the same month, the control was transferred to the Forces Command. Its life was limited though. In 2005, it was set up for closure. Only the president or the congress may change this decision. These days, the base is not closed, but inactive. The authorities are unable to close it due to the hazardous substances under it.
Fort Gillem currently hosts the Air Force Exchange Service, the 3D Military Police and the Criminal Investigation Support. The base also hosts a few tenant groups, such as a recruiting division, an ordinance group and a command responsible for the equipment.
The housing opportunities at Fort Gillem are limited. Processing an application usually takes a year. Those who cannot find a spot are also encouraged to check out Fort McPherson and the off site privatized system in the surrounding communities.