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Fort Polk Louisiana Army Base

Fort Polk History World War To War On Terror

EXERCISE RATTLESNAKE: What Makes The US Army’s Fort Polk So Crucial?

This Louisiana Army base saw an influx of troops training for fighting in Southeast Asia during the Korean conflict of the 1950s, and again during the 1960-1970s for the war in Vietnam.

Today, Fort Polk is the Armys Joint Readiness Training Center. Army units from across the country will rotate through the Louisiana base for training prior to deployment. The advanced training allows soldiers to prepare for situations they may face when dealing with insurgents and terrorists.

Rd Brigade Combat Team 10th Mountain Division

The 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 36th Infantry Division was officially activated at Fort Polk in February 2014 as 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, utilizing the assets of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, which was inactivated. As part of the Army’s transformation initiative, this organization was designed to create a highly mobile, lethal, and flexible combat unit to support the rapid buildup of combat power wherever needed across the globe. The structure of the brigade is modular and provides for organic infantry, cavalry, field artillery, maintenance, logistic and support capabilities. While stilled flagged as 4th Brigade, it deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from 2006 to 2007 then again for Operation Iraqi Freedom from December 2007 to January 2009. The brigade deployed to Afghanistan in fall 2010 and returned to the U.S. in fall 2011. From 2016 to 2019, the “Patriot Brigade,” as they are known, became part of the 36th Infantry Division as part of the Army’s Associated Unit Pilot. The “Patriot Brigade” was the only Regular Army unit assigned to the 36th ID but returned to the 10th Mountain Division when the Army’s Associated Unit Pilot ended.

Organization Timeline And Major Events

  • Constituted 14 March 1941 in the Army of the United States as the 504th Parachute Infantry Battalion, consisting of HHC and Companies A, B & C.
  • Activated 5 October 1941 at Fort Benning, Georgia
  • Reorganized and redesignated 24 February 1942 as the 2d Battalion, 503d Parachute Infantry Regiment, consisting of HHC and Companies D, E, and F. Battalion deployed detached from the Regiment to England.
  • 2/503 PIR arrived in England, and reorganized and redesignated 2 November 1942 as the 2d Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, consisting of HHC and Companies D, E, and F. Remainder of 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment proceeded to Pacific Theater and separate Lineage with new 2nd Battalion.
  • 1-509th Infantry activated 21 May 1988 at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas
  • 1-509th Infantry inactivated 31 May 1993 at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, and withdrawn from the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command.
  • C-509th Infantry inactivated same date at Fort Rucker, Alabama, and withdrawn from the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command
  • 1/509th Infantry activated 15 January 1994 at Fort Polk, Louisiana.
  • A CO and B CO 1-509th Infantry deployed in June 2004 in support of OIF to Baghdad, Iraq. The two airborne infantry companies were attached to 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division. A CO was attached to 2-14 IN and B CO was attached to 4-31 IN. Both companies returned from combat in March 2005.
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    Th Combat Support Hospital

    The 115th Combat Support Hospital traces its origin to Evacuation Hospital #15, originally organized at Fort Riley, Kansas on 21 March 1918. At the onset of hostilities during World War I, the unit sailed aboard the “S.S. Mataika,” departing the United States on 22 August 1918, and arriving in France 3 September 1918. Evacuation Hospital #15 earned a battle streamer for its participation in the Meuse-Argonne Forest offensive from 26 September 1918 through 11 November 1918. The hospital, having served honorably and proud during World War I, returned to the United States aboard the “S.S. America” and was demobilized at Camp Lewis, Washington on 28 June 1919. Evacuation Hospital #15 was reconstituted as the 15th Evacuation Hospital in 1936, after having been organized as an inactive unit of the Regular Army on 1 October 1933.

    115th Combat Support Hospital is a deployable medical unit that provides medical specialities to the battlefield. Medical specialties provided by the 115th Combat Support Hospital include: general surgery, orthopaedics, podiatry, and physical therapy. Additional support for clinical operations is provided through a pharmacy, X-ray services, clinical laboratories, anaesthesia, and operative services. The 115th Combat Support Hospital is also staffed to provide medical command management and administrative support through an organic medical headquarters.

    Fort Johnson: Recommended New Name For Fort Polk


    NEW ORLEANS – The panel tasked with finding new names for U.S. military bases that continue to honor the Confederacy has come up with its recommendation for nine Army installations around the country. They include Fort Polk in Louisiana, which the Congressional Naming Commission recommended renamed the Vernon Parish base for World War I legend Sgt. William Henry Johnson.

    Johnson, a native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, was widely heralded for his valor during battle in France. As a Black man, he was shunned from fighting alongside white Americans but was part of an expeditionary force with other Allied fighters. Shipping out months ahead of most U.S. soldiers, Johnson and other Black Americans wore French uniforms into battle.

    According to information from the Department of Defense, Johnson was one of two forward sentries in the Argonne Forest on the night of May 14, 1918. When Germans attacked his position, Johnson exhausted his supply of grenades and ammunition to hold off the enemy.

    Even though Johnson was wounded and armed only with a bolo knife, he stopped two Germans from taking away the other injured sentry for interrogation. Records indicate he engaged 12 enemy soldiers and killed four, despite sustaining 21 separate wounds in the fight.

    France honored Johnson much sooner after his exploits in action, making him the first American to receive its Croix de Guerre.

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    Atlanta Campaign And Death

    Polk brought more than 20,000 men with him to Georgia. Because of his elevated rank, he became the army’s second in command under Johnston. By using successive flanking maneuvers, Sherman forced Johnston to withdraw his army from strong defensive positions to protect the Confederate line of communication. This forced Johnston ever closer to the critically important city of Atlanta.

    On June 14, 1864, Polk was scouting enemy positions near , with his staff when he was killed in action by a Federal 3-inch shell at Pine Mountain. The artillery fire was initiated when Sherman spotted a cluster of Confederate generals Polk, William J. Hardee, and Johnston, with their staffs in an exposed area. He pointed them out to Maj. Gen. Oliver Otis Howard, commander of the IV Corps, and ordered him to fire upon them. Battery I of the 1st Ohio Light Artillery, commanded by Capt. Hubert Dilger, obeyed the order within minutes. The first round from the battery came close and a second came even closer, causing the men to disperse. The third shell struck Polk’s left arm, went through his chest, and exited hitting his right arm, then exploded against a tree it nearly cut Polk in two.

    Thomas L. Connelly, Autumn of Glory

    Nd Armored Cavalry Regiment

    2nd ACR

    The 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment arrived at Fort Polk in 1993 as the armored cavalry regiment of the XVIII Airborne Corps. Elements of the regiment deployed to Haiti in 1995 in support of Operation Uphold Democracy and to Bosnia in 1996 in support of Operation Joint Endeavor. The 2nd ACR deployed to Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan and Djibouti in 2002 to in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, and then deployed in Iraq in 2003 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom .The Army announced on 14 May 2004, that the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment would be transformed into an Infantry-based Stryker Brigade and move to Fort Lewis, WA. The transfer of the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment from Fort Polk to Fort Lewis was completed in 2006. The 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment were later moved to Vilseck, Germany.

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    Th Brigade Combat Team 10th Mountain Division

    Soldiers of the 4th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, run communications equipment from a bunker in the Daymirdad District Center, Wardak Province, Afghanistan.

    The 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division was officially activated at Fort Polk on January 19, 2005. As part of the U.S. Army’s transformation initiative, this organization was designed to create a highly mobile, lethal, and flexible combat unit to support the rapid build-up of combat power wherever needed across the globe. The structure of the brigade is modular and provides for organic infantry, cavalry, field artillery, maintenance, logistic and support capabilities. The brigade was deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from 2006 to 2007 then again for Operation Iraqi Freedom from December 2007 to January 2009. The brigade deployed to Afghanistan in fall 2010 and returned to the U.S. in fall 2011.

    Since the brigades activation, they built an organization consisting of over three thousand five hundred soldiers, developed their leaders, fielded dozens of new systems, and deployed whenever called upon to conduct any mission.

    Fort Polk La Housing And Relocation Information

    TIGER LAND (Fort Polk, Louisiana.)

    Housing InformationBasic Allowance For Housing is provided by the military to help active service members with housing costs, and can be used for either on- or off-post housing.

    The Housing Services Office will be your first point of contact when you receive moving orders, and provides services that will help you with referrals, relocation assistance, guidance for entering a lease agreement and tenant-landlord disputes.

    • Fort Polk HSO can be reached at 537-5000 / 5060.

    Fort Polk On Post Housing

    • Fort Polk on-post housing is privatized and available to both families, and Single or Unaccompanied Soldiers through Corvias Military Living 537-5060. Unaccompanied Housing offers 1-2 bedroom units with all utilities paid. Family units consist of 3 neighborhoods with 2-5 bedroom single family and townhouse style homes. Amenities may include: carport, dishwasher, family room and seasonal lawn care. The community features swimming pool, community center and more.

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    Barksdale Air Force Base

    In Use: 1933- Present

    Overall Mission: Barksdale Air Force Base has a rich history that is filled with bombing, combat, reconnaissance, and navigation.

    Today, the base is home to Bomb Wings, both Active Duty and Reserve/National Gaurd, and they have units serving on base and overseas.

    Units Stationed:

    Early Life And Education

    Leonidas Polk was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, to Colonel William and Sarah Polk. William was a Revolutionary War veteran and prosperous planter. He was of Scottish And Anglo-Huguenot ancestry. Capitalizing on his position as chief surveyor of the central district of Tennessee, he was able to acquire about 100,000 acres of land.

    Polk briefly attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before entering the United States Military Academy at West Point. During his senior year, he left the Scottish Calvinist church and joined the Episcopal Church and was baptized in the Academy Chapel by Chaplain Charles P. McIlvaine, who later became the Episcopal Bishop of Ohio. Polk had an impressive academic record, excelling in rhetoric and moral philosophy. He graduated eighth of 38 cadets on July 1, 1827, and was appointed a brevetsecond lieutenant in the artillery.

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    Parks Rivers And Lakes

    9. Alligator Lake Recreation Park, RV Park, and Rental Center

    430 Alligator LoopFort Polk, LA 71459Phone: 1 531-5350

    This park provides multiple camping locations with pavilions, grills, water hose connections, electricity, playgrounds, restrooms, and sports areas. The rental center provides canoes, paddle boats, sports equipment, scuba gear, inflatable party games, and bounce houses. Check the MWR Website here for all available rentals and reservations.


    10. Toledo Bend Army Recreation Park

    1310 Army Recreation RoadFlorien, LA 71429Phone: 1 718-9088

    45 miles Northwest of Fort Polk, this is the 5th largest man-made reservoir in the country. You can rent cabins that sleep up to 5 people, boats, go camping, fishing, and enjoy the beach. Check the MWR Website for a complete list of rentals and services.


    Spillway RdLeesville, LA 71446

    Enjoy camping and fishing in Vernon Lake park. Check out a short video with all the area has to offer here.


    12. Toro Bayou and the Sabine River

    Another remote attraction that rewards visitors with beautiful scenery and a pristine river perfect for canoeing or kayaking. RV and tent camping are both available.

    13. Kisatchie National Forest

    This national forest encompasses much of central and western Louisiana. This park features endangered species of birds and some of the best camping areas and trails for horseback riding and off-road cyclists.

    A Visit To The Museum

    Fort Polk, LA Main Gate

    The military museum is located on the grounds of Fort Polk and is open Tuesday-Saturday from 9am-4pm. The museum is open to the public, but you will need to stop at the visitor center to get a pass before passing through the bases security gate. The visitor center is located to the right of the main entrance.

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    Fort Polk Joint Readiness Training Center

    $61 million: Construction of a new Joint Operations Center. The Joint Operations Center is the command station for all of the training activities conducted at Fort Polk and the Joint Readiness Training Center. This funding builds upon the $55 million secured last year for the project to ensure soldiers have the most realistic training experience possible to be prepared for combat.

    $41 million: Construction of a new Child Development Center. Fort Polk operates three outdated child development centers that are crowded and require constant maintenance. This project will build a new facility to serve more than 300 children ages 6 months to 5 years.

    $35.36 million: Construction of information system facility. This project will upgrade mechanical and data-sharing systems at Fort Polk to support other upgrades that will enhance the training experience to ensure Fort Polk and the Joint Readiness Training Center remain the premier combat training center of the U.S. Army.

    Louisiana Maneuvers At Fort Polk

    Louisianas Fort Polk was at the center of preparations by the U.S. Army to modernize its fighting forces and strategies for the battlefields of World War Two. A half million troops converged on the forests of central Louisiana in 1940-1941 for the Louisiana Maneuvers.

    A life-sized soldier on horseback greets visitors as they enter the military museum at Fort Polk, Louisiana. The museum traces the history of this major U. S. Army training center from its early days in the Louisiana Maneuvers at the start of World War Two. The Army used the Maneuvers to update its fighting force and develop doctrine and battlefield strategies for the war in Europe. The Maneuvers allowed the Army to replace horse-mounted cavalry and horse-drawn artillery carriages with a mechanized infantry. The Louisiana war games were the largest-ever training exercise by the U.S. military.

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    Virtual Key Contract Training

    This course trains Key Contacts on their role and responsibilities as well as how to handle crisis phone calls. Suggested training for all SFRG Leaders and Key Contacts/POC’s. Open to anyone wanting to learn more about the SFRG Communication structure. The course includes tips and techniques for executing the role as well as practical exercises and scenarios.

    Barksdale Fort Polk Score Wins In Defense Bill Military Covid Vaccine Mandate Dropped


    Congress has included almost $300 million for specific Louisiana military capital projects from Barksdale Air Force Base to Fort Polk to New Orleans in the annual defense bill that also included an amendment to drop the military’s COVID vaccine mandate under the objection of President Biden’s administration.

    The House passed the record $858 billion defense spending bill Thursday. It will return to the Senate, where final passage is expected quickly before landing on Biden’s desk for his signature.

    Among the projects being funded in Louisiana are a new nuclear weapons facility at Barksdale and a new Joint Operations Center at Fort Polk.

    “This bill is a tremendous success for Louisiana and the country at large,” said Republican Congressman Mike Johnson, the only member of the Louisiana delegation on the Armed Services Committee, in an interview with USA Today Network. “It really addressed virtually all of our major priorities for Barksdale, Fort Polk and beyond.”

    Johnson was also among those praising the amendment dropping the COVID vaccine requirement, contending it has had “a devastating effect on recruiting and readiness. I’m overjoyed by the repeal of the vaccine mandate,” he said.

    Following are funding highlights for Louisiana military bases and programs:

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    Panel Recommends New Names For Fort Polk Other Army Bases

    WASHINGTON An independent commission is recommending new names for nine Army posts that commemorated Confederate officers.

    Among their recommendations: Fort Polk, in Louisiana, would be renamed Fort Johnson, after Sgt. William Henry Johnson, a Black Medal of Honor recipient who served in the Army in World War I.

    Fort Bragg in North Carolina would become Fort Liberty and Fort Gordon in Georgia would become Fort Eisenhower.

    The recommendations are the latest step in a broader effort by the military to confront racial injustice, most recently in the aftermath of the May 2020 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

    The list recommends naming bases for the first time after women and Black soldiers.

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    Copyright 2022 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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    Rewriting Its Own Story

    Fort Polk is one of ten U.S. Military bases that will be getting a name change. The Louisiana base was named after Confederate General Leonidas Polk. Congress directed the Pentagon to remove all names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia that honor or commemorate the Confederate States of America. That process could take up to three years to complete.

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