Fort Benning is one of the largest army bases situated near Columbus, US. The base extends from Muscogee and Chattahoochee counties in Georgia, to Russell County, Alabama.
The base supports more than 130,000 members of the military and their families. It is spread over 181,626 acres (73,501ha) of land. It is used for providing basic training for the US Army Infantry units.
History and orginal purpose of Fort Benning
The base was built in October 1918 and named after army General Brigadier Henry L. Benning. It was first used by the Infantry School for training soldiers participating in the First World War.
It was closed for some time after the completion of the war. It was expanded with more than 3,970 offices during the Second World War. The second Armored Division was also formed at the base in 1940. The base became home for 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion during the war.
The base has three drop towers, each 76m-high. The towers are used for training the paratroopers at the base.
The 4th Infantry Division of the US Army were trained at the base during 1950-1951 and were deployed in Germany for five years.
The base was also used as a training Scout dog school for the US Army during the Vietnam War.
The School of the Americas based at Fort Gulick (Panama) was relocated to the base in 1984, after the Panama Canal Treaty. It was further renamed as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.
The Base Realignment and Closure Committee (BRAC) 2005 decided to create the Maneuver Center of Excellence (MCOE), a complete training installation, at Fort Benning. The cost of the project was approximately $3.5bn.
The project involved establishing an MCOE by relocating the Armor Center and School from Ft. Knox, consolidating seven local reserve units into an Armed Forces Reserve Center and relocation of equipment from Ft. Gillem and Drill Sergeant School as well as Ft. Jackson.
The MCOE project was initiated in late-2008 and completed in September 2011. The construction contract was awarded to McCarty Corp.
Construction of the large US Army base
A new fitness centre was opened at Fort Benning in July 2011. It was constructed at a cost of $1.8m. It involved the construction of a 6,000ft² fitness centre equipped with 11 flat-screen TVs, 20 computers and internet service. It also has a theatre room and pool tables.
In September 2009, Turner Construction was awarded the $333.4m design-build contract to construct a 745,000ft² new hospital building at Fort Benning. The building was originally expected to be completed by mid-2013, but delayed due to bid protests and legal action between the Savannah District of the US Army Corps and Turner Construction.
The dispute was resolved in July 2010 and Turner Construction broke ground for the construction of the hospital in May 2011. The building was opened in November 2014.
The project was completed at a cost of $403m, of which $278m was funded by the US Defense Health Program (DHP) and $125m by Army BRAC funds.
In August 2009, Carothers Construction was awarded with a $32.5m design-build contract for the construction of an 185,500ft² vehicle maintenance instruction facility (VMIF) at the base.
Garrison and technology at Fort Benning
The garrison of Fort Benning includes the US Army Armor School, Infantry School, Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, 75th Ranger Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division and 13th CSSB.
It also includes the US Army Maneuver Center of Excellence, which consists of Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), Forces Command (FORSCOM) and Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).
Raytheon provided the US Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment (AEWE) based at Fort Benning with first hybrid cellular capability that can be used for soldier networks.
In November 2011, FlexEnergy installed Flex Powerstation FP250 at the base. The FP250 is designed to capture methane from a landfill site and convert it into electricity at the base. The cost of the project was $1m.
In the same month, Cubic Applications was awarded a $458m contract for an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (ID/IQ) contract for mission support services to MOCE based at Fort Benning.
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