Fort Rucker is a US Army post located in the Wiregrass area of Dale County, Alabama. It is situated 80km south of Montgomery. It was built in 1942.
The base is the world’s largest helicopter training installation and is the aviation training centre for the US Army. It has served as a training base for US Air Force helicopter pilots since 1971 and was selected as the army’s aviation training school in 1973.
Fort Rucker has a population of 13,885. In 2006 the US Army started a housing programme at the base. As part of the initial development period of the programme, Picerne Military Housing is building 547 homes and renovating 929 in three neighbourhoods.
Brasfield & Gorrie General Contractors is rebuilding a high school in the neighbourhood of Enterprise, which was destroyed by a tornado in 2007.
The US Department of Defense is considering relocating and consolidating the Aviation Logistics School at Fort Eustis with the Aviation Center and school at Fort Rucker.
Fort Rucker was built during World War II by the US War Department. Prior to the official opening in May 1942, the post was known as Ozark Triangular Division Camp.
The post served as a training base for four divisions of the US Army in World War II and for one service division during the Korean War. It also served as a training base for helicopter pilots during the Vietnam War.
The first training held at the post was for the troops of the 81st Infantry Division. During World War II, troops of the 35th, the 98th and the 66th divisions were trained at the post. Various tank, infantry replacement and Women’s Army Corps units were also trained there.
The post was closed in 1946 after the end of World War II. It was reopened in August 1950 during the Korean War and was active until 1954. It was later expanded and converted into a helicopter training base.
Design and construction
Fort Rucker post is spread over 63,100 acres. The post has three entrance gates from three communities, which include Enterprise in the west, Daleville in the south and Ozark in the east.
An airfield was built at the vase in the early 1940s. Originally known as Ozark Army Airfield, it was renamed as Cairns Army Airfield in January 1959.
The United States Army Aviation Center of Excellence (USAACE) is the primary facility at Fort Rucker. The Aviation Center of Excellence designation was obtained in 2008. The post serves as the headquarters of the US Army Aviation. The US Department of Army established the USAACE at Fort Rucker in February 1955.
The USAACE includes the 1st and 110th Aviation Brigades and the US Army Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center of Excellence (UAS CoE). The 1st Aviation Brigade comprises two battalions. The 110th Aviation Brigade has five battalions. The two brigades provide aviation training to the army. Pilot training is provided by USAF 23rd Flying Training Squadron. The post also contains the United States Army Aviation Logistics School, Capability Development and Integration Directorate.
Other tenants at the post include Air Traffic Services Command, Army Corps of Engineers, 23rd Flying Squadron, Air Force Material Command, Air Traffic Services Command, Aeromedical Research Laboratory, Combat Readiness Center, Aviation Technical Test Center and Aviation Learning Center.
The Garrison Command of Fort Rucker manages the entire post through different directorates. The garrison includes the US Army Aviation Museum, which has a collection of more than 160 aircraft for display. The museum was opened in 1956. The Soldiers Service Center, built in 2003, provides military and civilian personnel services at the post.
Fort Rucker has a military airport named Cairns Army Airfield and three heliports: Knox, Hanchey and Lowe.
The Cairns Army Airfield has two runways. The airfield was built in the 1940s and was used by the United States Army Air Forces Third Air Force during World War II. It was then known as Ozark Army Field and became inactive after the war ended. Fort Rucker acquired the field in 1952 and renamed it Cairns Army Airfield in 1959.
Located south of Ozark, the Hanchey Army Heliport has a single asphalt surfaced runway. Situated 4.8km west of Fort Rucker city, the Lowe Army Heliport has four runways, all of which are asphalt surfaced. The Knox Army Heliport has six helipads, all of which are asphalt surfaced and measure 1,800x50ft.
A variety of manned and unmanned aircraft are used by the armed forces at Fort Rucker garrison. Manned aircraft operated at the post include AH-64 Apache Longbow, UH-60 Black Hawk, CH-47 Chinook, OH-58D Kiowa Warrior, C-12 Huron and TH-67 Creek. The unmanned aircraft at the post include RQ-11A/B Raven, RQ-7A/B Shadow 200 and RQ-5A / MQ-5A/B Hunter and IGNAT/IGNAT-ER.