Fort Lee is an eight square mile United States Army Base located just west of Petersburg, Virginia. The post is named for famed Confederate General Robert E. Lee, commander of Confederate forces during the US Civil War. Originally designated as Camp Lee, the base is still a functioning Army post today. It is the home to a wide range of Army agencies including the US Army Transportation School, US Defense Commissary Agency, Army Logistics University, United States Army Combined Arms Support Command (CASCOM), US Army Ordnance School, United States Army Quartermaster School and the Sustainment Center of Excellence.
The base is also the location of two Army museums, the US Quartermaster Museum and the US Army Women’s Museum. There plans for a US Army Ordinance Museum as well. Fort Lee is also home to the US Forces Command, which oversees petroleum and water assets, and the 49th Quartermaster Group.
Fort Lee was established as an Army camp in 1917 immediately after the United States entered World War I. Camp Lee was constructed as a state mobilization camp, but quickly turned into a divisional training camp. Within 60 days of construction, 14,000 soldiers, recruits and volunteers were at Camp Lee. Construction was quickly completed, and by the time of completion the camp was equipped to support 60,000 soldiers. Following World War I, the Commonwealth of Virginia took control of Camp Lee from the US War Department and turned much of the area into a game preserve. A few parcels of the camp were incorporated into the National Military Park of Petersburg and continued to play host to Army soldiers.
Camp Lee continued as a nature preserve until it became clear the United States would be involved in World War II. Realizing the need for another base, the US War Department reconstructed Camp Lee. In 1941, the Army moved the Quartermaster Replacement Training Center (QMRTC) to Camp Lee. At the height of World War II 35,000 soldiers called Camp Lee home. Camp Lee served as the main center for Quartermaster basic and advanced training for the entirety of World War II in addition to hosting a Medical Replacement Training Center until it was moved to Camp Pickett. Quartermaster Replacement Training was redesigned as an Army Services Forces Training Center, but it still continued to take part in Quartermaster training.
After German and Japanese surrender, the Army made the decision to keep camp Lee open as an active training facility for US Army Quartermasters. In 1950 the base as renamed to Fort Lee, to mark its official designation as a permanent Army installation. A Women’s Army Corps training center was established at the base and all soldiers in the Quartermaster Corps serving in the Korean War were trained at Fort Lee. At the close of the Korean War, Fort Lee had completely transformed from a base of temporary structures to a full scale permanent Army base.
Quartermaster training at Fort Lee was so comprehensive that it was able to cover all facets of the curriculum. Courses taught at other Army locations were able to be integrated into the Fort Lee Quartermaster Training Center and the base was able to become an all-encompassing center for the training and supervision of Quartermaster Corps troops.
In the early 1960s’ Fort Lee saw a round of major changes. Fort Lee was upgraded to a Class 1 military installation and command of the Quartermaster School shifted to the Continental Army Command Service School System and the Second Army. Fort Lee was also recommended to become the site of the Corps Historian and Quartermaster Corps. In 1966 the Second Army was disbanded, and a few years later the base moved back to control of the US Army Training and Doctrine Command.
Present Day Fort Lee
Modern day Fort Lee is a census designated area falling in Virginia County of Price George. The base is home to 7,600 active duty Army personnel and population is counted separately from the nearby urban areas. In addition to active duty Army soldiers, the base is home to over 1,200 families. The base is home station for the US Army Quartermaster Corps, Kenner Army Health Clinic and the Army Quartermaster Museum.
Kenner Army Health Clinic
Kenner Army Health Clinic was opened in 1941 as an 871 bed community hospital and named after General Albert W. Kenner, a US Army Surgeon in World War I and II. In 1942 Kenner Army Community Hospital was expanded to accommodate 2,000 beds and remained that size for five years. In 1947 the facility was downsized to 1,100 beds and the downgraded again in 1950 to 200 beds. After a series of changes, the Kenner Army Health Clinic was revamped to handle the medical and dental needs of the 30,000 military and civilian personnel that call Fort Lee home.
US Army Quartermaster Museum
The US Army Quartermaster Museum is tasked with preserving and displaying the history of the US Army Quartermaster Corps. As the oldest logistics group in the United States, the Quartermaster Corps has been in function since the Revolutionary War. The US Quartermasters Corps has for over 200 years ensured that US forces are supplied with ammunition, food, water and other supplies in every battlefield, regardless of location. The museum displays artifacts and equipment dating back to the creation the US Quartermasters Corps in 1775, prior to the start of actual battles in the Revolutionary War.
Fort Lee is on the US Army’s most important historical resources. The sheer amount of history on display at the base is a testament to the logistical greatness of the United States Army, and it continues to build on that history today.