Fort Bragg is a large Army base located in the North Caroline counties of Hoke and Cumberland, just west of Fayetteville. As a result of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) Fort Bragg was slated to absorb Army units and assets from several other locations.
In 2011, the already massive base absorbed the Forces Command (FORSCOM) and US Army Reserve Command (USARC) from Fort McPherson in Georgia, increasing the base’s population by 25,000. This addition made Fort Bragg the single largest US Army installation and command in the United States capable of providing sustained combat and support forces for response anywhere in the world.
Fort Bragg is known throughout the Army as the training ground for well-known units such as the US Army Special Operations, Airborne Corps and the US Army Golden Knights Parachute Team. Notable landmarks in the area near Fort Bragg are The Climbing Place in Fayetteville, Cape Fear Botanical Gardens and Myrtle Beach South Carolina.
Established as an Army artillery training ground in 1918, Camp Bragg was intended to be a training school for artillery soldiers heading to World War I front lines in Europe. Camp Bragg derived its namesake in honor of the Civil War Confederate General Braxton Bragg. Camp Bragg was renamed to Fort Bragg in 1922 as its size and role in the US Army expanded.
Despite its massive size now, Fort Bragg has narrowly skirted closure several times over the last century. The permanent stationing of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg kept the base at full capacity, when it was considered for deactivation in early 1950. In late 1951 the XVIII Airborne Corps found a home at Fort Bragg along with newly established US Army Physiological Warfare Center. Following the end of the Korean War Fort Bragg continued to expand, by the onset of hostilities in Vietnam, Fort Bragg was one of the largest bases in the Army.
Throughout the Vietnam War over 200,000 draftees and volunteers into the Army received basic training at Fort Bragg. US involvement in Central America during the 1980s’ saw Fort Bragg units deployed to Panama, Grenada and Honduras. Airborne Units from the base we’re deployed to the Middle East in the 1990s’ in support of operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
These same units have been in a consistent deployment cycle for the last decade in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. The addition of Force Command and US Army Reserve Command have meant that an even greater number of Fort Bragg units are now deployed to the far corners of the world.
The mission and primary objective of Fort Bragg is to provide consistent combat and support forces in accordance with America’s Contingency Corps. This tasks the base as being a strategic crisis response force capable of worldwide deployment at any time. Fort Bragg units are to be kept in a constant state of readiness, able to deploy by land, sea and air, and fight immediately upon arrival. Major units of Fort Bragg include the 82nd Airborne, XVIII Airborne Corps, FORSCOM, USARC, 18th Aviation Brigade, 4th Medical Command and the US Army Special Operations Command.
Fort Bragg is home to several tenant units including US Army Medical Command, John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, Womack Army Medical Center and the US Army Special Operations Recruiting Command.
Base Area and Population
Fort Bragg currently spans 251 square miles, including training areas, live fire ranges, airfields and housing areas. The current population stands at just over 140,000, made up of 77,000 active duty and reserve soldiers and 63,000 dependents and family members.
Fort Bragg currently maintains 5,528 housing units for active duty personnel, consisting of single, two, three and four bedroom dwellings. More housing is scheduled to be constructed to accommodate the influx of soldiers to Fort Bragg as a result of the absorption of FORSCOM and USARC. Picerne Military Housing, a private company, works in conjunction with the base housing office and the local community to provide on post housing and lodging in the community if on base housing is at capacity.
Education and Schooling
Fort Bragg maintains an internal district of eight schools. High School students are required to attend school in Cumberland County, however transportation is available for all students. Within the base younger students have six elementary schools, one middle school and one junior high.
Fort Bragg has two large commissaries and two large PX’s. Additionally, there are two smaller shopping centers with banks, dry cleaning, fast food options and dine in restaurants. Throughout the base are gas stations, convenience stores, auto repair shops a movie theater and an inline skating rink. Medical care is available from two clinics that serve active duty and retired personnel and Womack Army Medical Center in addition to two dental clinics.
Family and Soldier Morale Welfare and Recreation centers provide soldiers and their families with a bowling alley, golf courses, a library, several movie theaters, multiple gyms, pools and tennis courts, horseback riding, camping, fishing and areas for hunting. Religious services are held at 12 chapel’s that serve a wide range of denominations. Finally, Fort Bragg maintains two Army Museums, proceeds from which go to serve retired military personnel.
Fort Bragg is not open to the general public. Access to the base is restricted to active duty and reserve personnel and Department of Defense employees. There are a handful of historical buildings, however that are open to the public.
All visitors over the age of 16 are required to furnish a government issued photo ID, which will be surrendered upon entry in exchange for a visitors pass. Any visitors planning on driving on Fort Bragg will be required to provide current insurance registration.
Though certain areas are open to the public, it is recommended that prospective visitors call ahead to ensure operations are under normal conditions that day.