SPECIAL REPORT: Fort Benning celebrates 100 years - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

SPECIAL REPORT: Fort Benning celebrates 100 years

(Source: WTVM File) (Source: WTVM File)
(Source: Chuck Leonard/WTVM) (Source: Chuck Leonard/WTVM)
(Source: WTVM File) (Source: WTVM File)
(Source: Chuck Leonard/WTVM) (Source: Chuck Leonard/WTVM)
(Source: Rico Mitchell/WTVM) (Source: Rico Mitchell/WTVM)

FORT BENNING, GA (WTVM) – Fort Benning hits the century mark next year and we are taking a look back at how the base got started.

Fort Benning was created near the end of World War I. Two-million American troops were fighting in Europe and more were needed.

So, in October 1918, Camp Benning was established along what is now Macon Road in Columbus. Its mission, to train the next contingent of U.S. infantry soldiers.

The post quickly outgrew the Macon Road location and moved to its current site south of Columbus.

A number of high-profile commanders have passed through the gates of Benning, but none bigger than the Commander-in-Chief. Camp Benning would become Fort Benning, and more big names would arrive. Or should we say future big names.

Dwight Eisenhower was an executive officer with the 24th Infantry Regiment. He also coached the football and baseball teams. George Marshall led the Infantry School in the late 20s and early 30s. One of the officers under his command was Omar Bradley. All three would become five-star generals.

Fort Benning played a major role in World War II. In addition to training thousands of soldiers in the basics of combat, the post began teaching troops how to jump out of airplanes.

The paratroopers, as they were called, would jump behind enemy lines on D-Day, offering vital intelligence and engaging the enemy at every turn.

Another unit that distinguished itself was the Army Rangers. Their mission was to scale the cliffs above Normandy and knock out the big guns aimed at the landing beaches. They did it, becoming the first group to accomplish its mission on D-Day.

As it did during the Second World War, Fort Benning specialized in training troops for the Korean War, and later Vietnam. But a new type of training was introduced in that conflict.

The 11th Air Assault Division was formed at Fort Benning in 1965. Its mission, flying troops in and out of combat zones via helicopters. It proved successful but came at a heavy price. The military as a whole lost nearly 5,000 choppers during the war, and would have lost more troops if not for the Medevac helicopters were used to take wounded soldiers from combat zones to field hospitals, a strategy which saved lives.

Fast forward to 2005 when big changes were underway. Tanks from the Armor School at Fort Knox, Kentucky arrived, as the Army made the decision to combine infantry and armor together on one post. It prompted a name change, as Fort Benning became known as the Maneuver Center of Excellence.

In 2015, it got an excellent rating from women's groups, when two female soldiers completed Ranger training on post. The first ever.

Since then, other women have also graduated from Basic Infantry Training,

Fort Benning has come a long way in 100 years, and as it begins the second century, we say congratulations.

Fort Benning leaders have been busy planning events and activities as part of the celebration.

Copyright 2017 WTVM. All rights reserved. | For more news, download the WTVM app here.

  • LocalMore>>

  • Winners drawn in Heart Raffle at Mercedes-Benz fundraiser

    Winners drawn in Heart Raffle at Mercedes-Benz fundraiser

    Sunday, January 21 2018 3:10 PM EST2018-01-21 20:10:26 GMT
    (Source: Tony Sloan/WTVM)(Source: Tony Sloan/WTVM)
    COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – It's a lucky day for two people in the Columbus area who won the 2018 Heart Raffle. It's the 15th year of the event and representatives of Mercedes Benz says that this year's raffle is its biggest yet. "To date, we've raised over six-hundred thousand for the Heart Association. It's the fifteenth year we've done this and the most successful year. We sold 2,515 tickets which is all that we have to offer," says Mercedes of Columbus GM Richard Joyner...More >>
    COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – It's a lucky day for two people in the Columbus area who won the 2018 Heart Raffle. It's the 15th year of the event and representatives of Mercedes Benz says that this year's raffle is its biggest yet. "To date, we've raised over six-hundred thousand for the Heart Association. It's the fifteenth year we've done this and the most successful year. We sold 2,515 tickets which is all that we have to offer," says Mercedes of Columbus GM Richard Joyner...More >>
  • More flu cases confirmed, doctors still recommend getting vaccinated

    More flu cases confirmed, doctors still recommend getting vaccinated

    Saturday, January 20 2018 4:32 PM EST2018-01-20 21:32:31 GMT
    (Source: WTVM)(Source: WTVM)
    COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – Dr. Joseph Conklin with Columbus Regional Health said he's already seen his fair share of patients coming into his office, saying they have flu-like symptoms. "We're seeing a fair amount this year," he said. "Maybe a little more compared to last year." Numbers across the country only support his observation. The Centers for Disease Control reported 14,401 confirmed flu cases during the week of January 13, bringing the season's tot...More >>
    COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – Dr. Joseph Conklin with Columbus Regional Health said he's already seen his fair share of patients coming into his office, saying they have flu-like symptoms. "We're seeing a fair amount this year," he said. "Maybe a little more compared to last year." Numbers across the country only support his observation. The Centers for Disease Control reported 14,401 confirmed flu cases during the week of January 13, bringing the season's tot...More >>
  • Funeral for Dollar General shooting victim held Saturday

    Funeral for Dollar General shooting victim held Saturday

    Saturday, January 20 2018 3:54 PM EST2018-01-20 20:54:46 GMT
    (Source: Family)(Source: Family)

    COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The funeral for the shooting victim who was involved in a road rage incident was held Saturday afternoon. Lorenzo Freeman was killed after a road rage incident involving two other men at a Dollar General in Fort Mitchell. The funeral was held Saturday at 1 p.m. in Ozark, AL.  Copyright 2018 WTVM. All rights reserved. | For more news, download the WTVM app here.

    More >>

    COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The funeral for the shooting victim who was involved in a road rage incident was held Saturday afternoon. Lorenzo Freeman was killed after a road rage incident involving two other men at a Dollar General in Fort Mitchell. The funeral was held Saturday at 1 p.m. in Ozark, AL.  Copyright 2018 WTVM. All rights reserved. | For more news, download the WTVM app here.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly