Fort McClellan Training Center
The History of Fort McClellan
Fort McClellan has a proud and fascinating history
which dates back to the Spanish-American War. The seeds of military life were
fostered during the First World War and raised to maturity during World War II.
The Choccolocco foothills, part of the Appalachian Mountain chain, surrounds
the post. A spur ridge of the Choccolocco foothills crosses the main post from
north to south. The ridge first attracted military interest during the
Spanish-American War, when the mountains were discovered to form an excellent
background for artillery firing.
The War Department formally established Camp McClellan on July 18, 1917. The
camp was named in honor of Major General George B. McClellan, General-in-Chief
of the U.S. Army from 1861 to 1862. Camp McClellan was a mobilization camp used
to quickly train men for WWI.
Camp McClellan was re-designated Fort McClellan, a permanent post, on July 1,
1929. New construction began immediately and the post grew rapidly.
Fort McClellan featured a Prison Internment Camp for
prisoners of war was built during 1943 when Fort McClellan became the temporary
home for many captured enemy soldiers, was home of the Infantry Replacement
Training Center, the Chemical Corps, the Women's Army Corps Center, the U.S.
Army Combat Developments Command Chemical Biological-Radiological Agency, the
U.S. Army School/Training Center and the U.S. Army Military Police School, the
Training Brigade, and the Department of Defense Polygraph Institute.
In 1995 the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC)
Commission voted to permanently close Fort McClellan. The official closing
ceremony ending Fort McClellan's illustrious past was held on 20 May, 1999.
The Alabama National Guard picked up where the Active
Component left off by assuming a 300-acre area which includes barracks and
administrative buildings. The Alabama National Guard assumed command of Pelham
Range which consists of 23,000 acres to continue as a Training Center. History
shows that Fort McClellan was first organized for the National Guard which has
had a continued presence here for 100 years.
In fact, during post-war years when the Fort was placed on inactive
status and funding was decreased, the National Guard played an important role
in keeping the fort "alive."
So, Fort McClellan and the National Guard have each used the military
property for 100 years. The training center continues to make Fort McClellan
militarily "relevant" the same as it was in 1917.
Fort McClellan: 100 Years of the Military Showplace of
the South and home of the Alabama National Guard Training Center!