Fort Sill, OK merged with artillery units from Fort Bliss, TX in 2011 as an outcome of the 2005 BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure Commission), retaining the name and increasing their population by 10,000. Home to the Field Artillery Training Command, Fort Sill is located in Comanche County, Southwest Oklahoma, adjacent to the city of Lawton and 90 miles Southwest of Oklahoma City. All soldiers in Field Artillery receive skills training at Fort Sill. US Marines and international students from allied nations are also trained there. Nearby geographical destinations include Quartz Mountain Resort and Conference Center near Lone Wolf, Chisholm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan, and Indian City USA in Anadarko.
Military first came to Comanche County in 1834. In 1851 Captain Randolph Marcy first suggested building a fort. Following the Civil War, Colonel Benjamin Grierson and the Buffalo Soldiers constructed the old post site named Camp Wichita in 1868. In 1869 permanent buildings were erected and the name changed to Fort Sill. It is the namesake of Brigadier General Joshua Sill, a West Point graduate killed at the battle of Stones River, TN in 1862. Fort Sill maintains the holding cell and grave of Chief Geronimo, the famous Chiricahua Apache warrior.
Throughout the 20th Century Fort Sill expanded and by 1930 became the permanent home of Field Artillery, including Army missile and atomic warhead training. The soldiers fired a live atomic round at Frenchman’s Flat, NV in 1953; the only time live atomic artillery was ever tested. By the early 21st Century Fort Sill’s reservation included Henry Post Army Air Field and Reynolds Army Community Hospital.
Soldiers from Fort Sill have supported all major military engagements at home and around the world from the 1860s through to today’s Afghanistan operations.
As the artillery training center for the US Army and Marines they train day and night to put “steel on target.” Fort Sill’s approach to training and preparedness makes it one of the best Army training posts and the largest field artillery complex in the free world. The two major commands are FORSCOM (Forces Command) and TRADOC (Training and Doctrine Command).
Tenant organizations at Fort Sill include MEDDAC (Medical Command), Regional DFAS (Defense Finance and Accounting Service), and the Regional American Red Cross 90th Military Police Detachment.
Area and Population
Fort Sill occupies 146 square miles. Current population is 53,000, composed of 20,000 military and civilian personnel, and 33,000 military family members.
Fort Sill has 1415 family quarters of single, duplex, and four-plex housing, with more quarters scheduled for construction to accommodate the new soldiers from Fort Bliss. Family Services works with local communities to help families find living arrangements when the on-base housing is full.
There are no schools located on Fort Sill. School age children must register and attend schools in the local communities. Transportation to and from schools is provided.
There is one large commissary and one large PX (Post Exchange) that sells national brand merchandise. There is one shopping mall and two shoppette areas plus banking facilities, fast food and dine-in eateries, gasoline and auto repair, movie theatres and more. There are seven medical clinics, plus Reynolds Army Hospital Medical Center for military, family members and retirees. There are three dental clinics for active duty personnel. There is a Religious Support Operations Center that assists all denominations. Army Community Services assistances with any special needs. Family and Soldier Morale, Welfare and Recreational centers includes bowling lanes, a library, movie theater, golf course, gym, tennis court, swimming pools, outdoor activities, camping and fishing. Fort Sill maintains an Army Museum and provides support to thousands of military retirees.
Fort Sill is not an open base, but several of their historical buildings, the museum, and outdoor recreational areas are open to the public. When visiting Fort Sill everyone over the age of 16 must provide a picture ID and register their vehicle to be able to drive on the installation. Non-defense personnel will turn over their driver’s license or picture ID and receive a visitor’s pass when entering and it will be returned when visitors leave. It is advisable to call ahead when planning to visit Fort Sill as there may be extenuating circumstances that will have the post closed to visitors.