Fort Jackson Army Base Guide
Named after President Andrew Jackson, Fort Jackson, South Carolina, is one of four locations of Army Basic Combat Training.
According to the Department of Defense, Fort Jackson is the Army’s largest Initial Entry Training Center in the U.S. Army, responsible for more than half of all new Army recruits yearly. This installation is located near Columbia, South Carolina, on an impressive 50 thousand acres.
Fort Jackson is named after South Carolina native and 7th President of the United States, Andrew Jackson. This installation was NOT named after the Confederate soldier “Stonewall” Jackson.
Like many Army bases, Fort Jackson is comparatively old; it opened in 1917 as an Army Camp and infantry training site. Camp Jackson became Fort Jackson in 1940.
After the defeat of Nazi Germany at the end of World War Two, Fort Jackson was used for various training purposes instead of being converted (like many other Army bases were for a time) into a “demob” site for service members transitioning out of the Army.
Since 1995, Fort Jackson has become home to the Defense Academy for Credibility Assessment, the U.S. Army Soldier Support Institute, and the Department of Defense Chaplain School.
Those operations work alongside the Army’s Basic Combat Training operations at the fort. Today the installation is said to be the largest Basic Training site of its kind in the Army.
Columbia is the state capital of South Carolina and one of the state’s largest cities. Fort Jackson is large enough to reside in two counties at once; Lexington County and Richland County, South Carolina.
The city is just under 140 miles, has an infamous reputation for summer heat, and is home to what was once considered the largest earthen dam in the world.
This part of the country is known for its military bases; Shaw Air Force Base is about 40 miles away; just over an hour’s drive from the Fort, you’ll find Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, and about two hours away Joint Base Charleston has plenty to offer in terms of services and amenities.
Mission and Units
Basic Combat Training is one of the primary missions here, but it’s not the sole focus. Other training happens at:
- U.S. Army Soldier Support Institute
- Department of Defense Chaplain Center
- Defense Academy for Credibility Assessment
Fort Jackson also supports:
- 120th AG Battalion
- 157th Infantry Brigade
- 165th Infantry Brigade
- 171st Infantry Brigade
- 193rd Infantry Brigade
DoD statistics about the Fort include:
- More than 3,500 active duty Soldiers work at Fort Jackson
- 12,000 family members live in or near the Fort
- Fort Jackson employs more than 3000 civilians
- Fort Jackson provides services for more than 46,000 retirees
In-Processing and Check-In
The following is intended for those not part of the Basic Training environment. All entering Fort Jackson as part of Basic Combat Training will be given instructions by their Training Instructors; no other options are available.
For “permanent party” military assigned to the base traveling there on PCS orders, soldiers must be in uniform and are directed to report to 5450 Strom Thurmond Boulevard during regular duty hours Monday through Friday.
Those arriving after duty hours must contact their gaining unit to check-in. Soldiers reporting to the base with permissive TDY house hunting options are advised to visit the Army Housing Office before entering into binding agreements to rent or buy housing.
Fort Jackson is served by three Child Development Centers, providing child care for children aged six weeks to five years. Due to high demand, waiting lists may apply. One Fort Jackson Child Development Center has previously advertised 24-hour operations but this facility has a small capacity, and demand may be high.
Additional childcare options on post include the Fort Jackson Family Child Care (FCC) network, a group of on-post private homes offering regulated and monitored child care.
FCC care is not always available on Fort Jackson; it has been offered in the past but you’ll need to check with the Child Development Center to learn what options may be available when you PCS to the area.
When PCSing to Fort Jackson, you should contact Army Housing Service Office at 4514 Stuart Street. This office can help you with both on-post and off-post housing options. Waiting lists for on-base housing apply due to high demand.
On-base housing is privatized and administered by Balfour Beaty Communities. Some 850 family homes in eight neighborhoods are offered to “all ranks, retirees, and civilians.” It’s best to contact the Housing Office before entering any legally binding agreement for housing, whether for rent or purchase.
PCS and TDY Lodging
IHG Army Hotel Fort Jackson. IHG Hotels offers TDY and PCS temporary lodging but due to high demand, you must book in advance by calling 877-711-8326. It is not safe to assume there are pet-friendly lodging options on post; ask when you book about on-base options but also local kennels or other alternatives if a pet-friendly lodging option is not available.
Related: BAH Calculator
Charlotte International Airport is just under 100 miles away; the Columbus Metropolitan Airport is closer but smaller. Only 20 miles from Fort Jackson, you can get the usual ride shares, taxis, shuttles, etc.
If you are traveling on PCS orders, discuss your arrival logistics with your sponsor for best results. Rush hour can complicate trips from the airport to the base depending on where you land, tourist season, weather issues, etc.
Vehicle Registration And Driver’s License
If you drive on Fort Jackson, you are subject to search, ID checks, and on-post driving requirements.
All privately owned vehicles operating on post must have current paperwork, drivers must have a current military ID and current driver’s licenses, and motorcycle riders must pass a safety course if they are under 25.
You and your vehicle must comply with South Carolina requirements, including safety equipment, state-required insurance coverage, and cell phone use while driving.
There are two DoDEA elementary schools on post:
- Grades pre-K-2 – Pierce Terrace Elementary
- Grades 3-6 – Pinckney Elementary
Dent Middle School serves those who live on base; living off post, you have options including:
- Richland School District 1
- Richland District 2
Call the Fort Jackson School Support Services office (803-751-6150) for information on transfer requirements, shot records, immunizations, vaccinations, and start times.
According to DoD sources, new students arriving at Fort Jackson should be registered as soon as possible. Pre-kindergartners must be four years old; kindergartners must be five; first graders must be six on or before Sept 1 of the new school year.
Colleges and Universities
There are several colleges and universities in the Columbia, South Carolina area, including:
- Webster University
- Midlands Technical College
- University of South Carolina at Columbia
Contact the Fort Jackson Army Learning Center to learn more about these options and other continuing education possibilities at 803-751-5341.
Related: Military Tuition Assistance Guide
9810 Lee Road
Fort Jackson, SC 29207
Important Fort Jackson Contacts
- Barracks/Single Service Member Housing (803) 751-1636
- Base Operator (803) 751-7511
- Dental Clinics (803) 751-6213
- Emergency 911
- Finance Office (803) 751-4565
- Hospital/Medical Treatment Facility (877) 273-5584
- Housing Services Office (803) 751-7566
- ID/CAC Card Processing (803) 751-7731
- Information and Referral (803) 751-4862
- Law Enforcement (803) 751-3114
- Legal Services and JAG (803) 751-4287
- Medical Appointments (877) 273-5584
- Personnel Support Office (803) 751-7673
About the author
Editor-in-Chief Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.