Fort McNair, Washington DC is a US Army operated military facility located in a small peninsula at the intersection of two rivers – Anacostia and Potomac. It is among the oldest army bases on the US territory, with over 200 years of history.
The first camp was built in 1791. Its purpose was simple – representing a powerful defense point close to the capital. It was part of the Washington DC expansion project and used to spread over 28 acres only. The first major troops and military equipments were brought here three years later, in 1794. During the war with the British forces, the fort was seriously affected. It didn’t have enough power to resist the invasion, therefore the soldiers abandoned it with as much ammunition as they could carry. Hoping the British soldiers would leave, they hid the remaining ammunition in a wall. In an attempt to destroy the remains of the fort, most British forces were killed in a huge explosion. Those who survived proceeded with the operation. However, this unhappy happening didn’t represent the end of the fort. It was rebuilt right after the war ended.
During the 19-th century, the fort was expanded as the authorities decided to build a prison and a hospital. It hosted the first woman killed under federal laws for the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. The hospital was extremely useful during the Civil War. It was closed in 1881 though. Many of the buildings today were build over 100 years ago, including a second hospital or the Army War College.
The post was renamed after World War II ended in the memory of Lesley J. McNair, one of the ground divisions commanders. He was killed in 1944, in France, while on Operation Cobra. The accident is famous in the history since it was nothing but a friendly fire.
These days, Fort McNair hosts the National Defense University, as well as the Military District of Washington headquarters. Other than that, the vice chief of the staff is also hosted in the fort. Over the years, the objective didn’t change too much. Although it is also used for basic training operations, the fort is mostly used for defense and the popular military university.
The National Defense University is the most important unit at this base. Although it was recently founded in 1976, the two buildings that form it – the Armed Forces College and the National War College – were built decades ago. At the same time, the Inter American Defense College is responsible for training some of the superiors and officers in the US Army. Finally, the Center of Military History was recently relocated to Fort McNair Washington DC in 1998, after being hosted in Washington DC. The fort also includes a few tenant units.
When deployed or relocating to Fort McNair, you need to check your options early. Get in touch with both on site and off site agencies in order to find the best deal for your needs. The students are hosted inside the fort.