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Camp Lewis c.
1917


Fort Lewis is a census-designated place (CDP) and United States Army post in Pierce Countymarker and Thurston County, Washingtonmarker, United States. The territory of Fort Lewis is not conterminous with the CDP, and is in fact much larger. As of the 2000 census, the CDP, which includes the most densely populated part of the base, had a total population of 19,089. The principal Fort Lewis maneuver units are U.S. I Corps, 3rd Brigade, 4th Brigade and 5th Brigade 2nd Infantry Division; all of which are constituted as Stryker brigades. It is also home to 17th Fires Brigade, 62nd Medical Brigade, the 593rd Sustainment Brigade, the 555th Engineer Brigade, the 42nd Military Police Brigade, 11th Signal Brigade, the I Corps NCO Academy, Headquarters, Western Region Cadet Command, the 1st Personnel Support Group, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), 2d Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, and Headquarters, 5th Army (West).

Fort Lewis has more than 25,000 soldiers and civilian workers. The post supports 120,000(+) retirees and more than 29,000 family members living both on and off post. Fort Lewis proper contains 86,000 acres (350 km²); the Yakima Training Center covers 324,000 acres (1,310 km²).

Part of Forces Command, Fort Lewis is the home of I Corps and has been since 1981. It is one of 15 US power projection platforms. The Corps' primary focus is Pacific Rim. As a result, I Corps has a close, ongoing relationship with Pacific Command.

During the summer months (June, July, August), Ft. Lewis hosts the Leader Development and Assessment Course, a capstone program for the U.S. Army's ROTC program.

History

Fort Lewis, named after Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark expedition, is one of the largest and most modern military reservations in the United States. Consisting of 87,000 acres (350 km²) of prairie land cut from the glacier-flattened Nisqually Plain, it is the premier military installation in the northwest and is the most requested duty station in the army.Fort Lewis began as Camp Lewis in 1917 when the citizens of Pierce County voted by an eight to one margin to bond themselves for $2 million to buy 68,721 acres (278 km²) of land. They donated the land to the federal government for military use. The only stipulation was that the tract be used as a permanent army post. Captain David L. Stone and his staff arrived at the camp site May 26, 1917, and a few days later the initial construction began. The entire camp was ready for occupancy a month ahead of schedule. In 90 days, Stone had supervised the construction of a "city" of 757 buildings and 422 other structures, all lighted and heated for 60,000 men. The first recruits moved into their new barracks on September 5, 1917, exactly two months after the post building plan had been handed to the contractors.

When they implemented auction of the new cantonment, workmen subscribed $4,000 to build the main gate - which is still standing. The arch was built of fieldstone and squared logs resembling the old blockhouses which stood in the northwest as forts. Some 60,000 men, including the 91st Division, moved into the hastily constructed cantonment to train for World War I. Recruited largely from the northwest, the 91st was considered "Washington's Own." In 1917, Pierce County, through the process of condemnation proceedings (eminent domain), took of the Nisqually Indian Reservation (14 km²) for the Fort Lewis Military Reserve.

The following two years saw tremendous activity at Camp Lewis as men mobilized and trained for war service. Thousands of the nation's youth learned to know Camp Lewis and the state of Washington. With the conclusion of the war, activities at Lewis ground to a standstill. Camp Lewis passed from the hands of Pierce County and became the property of the federal government when the deed for 62,432 acres (253 km²) was recorded in the county auditor's office in Tacoma.

Brigadier General David L. Stone, who had supervised the original construction of Fort Lewis as a captain, returned as its commanding general in 1936, serving until 1937. The project of constructing an army airfield, which later became McChord Air Force Basemarker, directly north of the Fort Lewis installation, received approval as a WPA project in January 1938, and $61,730 was allocated for construction. The allocation provided for clearing, grading, and leveling a runway long by wide.

At the conclusion of World War II, the northwest staging area of Fort Lewis became a separation center and discharged its first soldiers in November 1945. With the departure of the 4th Infantry Division for Vietnam in 1966, Fort Lewis once again became a personnel transfer and training center. In 1972, the 9th Infantry was reactivated.

The Fort Lewis Military Museummarker was established in 1972 to preserve and document the post's history.

Related facilities

Soldiers receive medical care through Madigan Army Medical Centermarker. Located in the South Puget Sound area, Fort Lewis is adjacent to McChord Air Force Basemarker, home of a C-17 transport fleet. Fort Lewis has abundant high-quality, close-in training areas, including 115 live fire ranges. Additional training space is available at the Yakima Training Center in eastern Washington, including maneuver areas and additional live fire ranges.

The Fort Lewis Regional Correction Facility was recently remodeled and was renamed the Northwest Joint Regional Correctional Facility (NWJRCF) recently opened at Fort Lewis. The facility houses minimum and medium security prisoners from all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Geography

Fort Lewis is located at (47.114369, -122.564587).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 15.9 square miles (41.2 km²), of which, 15.3 square miles (39.6 km²) of it is land and 0.6 square miles (1.6 km²) of it is water. The total area is 3.78% water. The military base is, as previously stated, much larger than the CDP defined by the Census Bureau.

Fort Lewis' terrain is primarily a mixture of dense woods and open prairie land, with Scotch Broom and undulating rocky terrain common. Poison-oak, ivy, and sumac are found in the training areas. Canada Thistle grows thickly in some areas. All trees are to be left standing; post policy prohibits cutting or trimming them.

The temperatures during summer vary from the mid 40s at night to the high 80s during the day, occasionally peaking over . Humidity varies from day to day and frequent precipitation occurs overnight. Although July and August are usually "dry" months, it is not unusual for moderate rainfall to occur.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there are 19,089 people, 3,476 households, and 3,399 families residing on the base. The population density is 1,248.5 people per square mile (482.0/km²). There are 3,560 housing units at an average density of 232.8/sq mi (89.9/km²). The racial makeup of the base is 60.44% White, 20.34% African American, 1.36% Native American, 3.41% Asian, 1.79% Pacific Islander, 6.23% from other races, and 6.44% from two or more races. 13.13% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 3,476 households out of which 85.8% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 89.3% are married couples living together, 6.6% have a female householder with no husband present, and 2.2% are non-families. 2.0% of all households are made up of individuals and 0.0% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 3.75 and the average family size is 3.78.

The age distribution is 32.1% under the age of 18, 28.0% from 18 to 24, 37.5% from 25 to 44, 2.0% from 45 to 64, and 0.4% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 22 years. For every 100 females there are 168.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 212.5 males. All these statistics are typical for military bases.

The median income for a household on the base is $32,384, and the median income for a family is $32,251. Males have a median income of $20,878 versus $20,086 for females. The per capita income for the base is $12,865. 8.2% of the population and 7.1% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 10.7% of those under the age of 18 and 0.0% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

See also



References

  1. Map of Fort Lewis CDP vs. Fort Lewis Military Reservation U.S. Census Bureau
  2. The United States Army
  3. Northwest Guardian


External links



Further reading

  • Alan Archambault Fort Lewis, Arcadia Publishing, 2002 ISBN 0-7385-2051-9



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