Fort Lee: Then & Now
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Fort Lee: Then & Now
OVER THE YEARS
THEN & NOW
The Progress-Index Fort Lee Then & Now was created by the staff of The Progress-Index. This publication may not be reproduced, in full or part, without the express written consent of The Progress-Index. Copyright 2012 Times-Shamrock Communications, all rights reserved. www.progress-index.com Phone (804) 732-3456, Fax (804) 861-9452 Publisher - Cindy Morgan Editor - Brian J. Couturier Advertising Director - David Cole Pre-press Manager - Travis Wolfrey Staff Writer - F.M. Wiggins Photographer - Patrick Kane Graphic Artists - Marc Calindas • Jennifer Rouse Account Executives - Dana Snow • Wendy Bond Ann Wells • David Pegram
Fort Lee: Then & Now
Fort Lee: Then & Now
U.S. Army Photo Fort Lee Main Gate, 1959.
Fort Lee has a long history and the past few years has created even more history for the Army base as it transforms into something new. Construction of Camp Lee began in June 1917 on what had been farmland. Within just three months there were 1,500 buildings on post with a network of 15 miles of roads. The training camp was built in a horseshoe shape that was about two miles from tip to tip. Soon after members of the 80th “Blue Ridge” Division were on site training. The post returned to the military for the buildup to World War II. In October 1941, the Quartermaster School moved from Philadelphia to Camp Lee to begin training officers and noncommissioned officers in the art of military supply and service. Since that time Fort Lee has remained the home of Quartermaster training. During the war, more than 300,000 soldiers trained at Fort Lee.
Since then, Fort Lee has always been associated with training - and now more than ever the Army base is a training post. In 2005 some of the biggest changes ever to come to the post were announced with the Base Realignment and Closure Act that consolidated logistics training at Fort Lee. Among the moves were the Army Ordnance Center and School from Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Md., and most of the Army Transportation Center and School from Fort Eustis, Va. Now, the 49th Quartermaster Group at Fort Lee is moving tons of equipment to other Army posts in preparation for its inactivation. The 49th, Fort Lee’s only mission-deployable unit, is being inactivated as part of the Army’s downsizing and restructuring. The unit includes the 111th Quartermaster Company and the 54th Quartermaster Company - the Army’s only two active duty mortuary affairs units. Those units will be transferred. With the inactivation of the 49th Quartermaster Group, Fort Lee will primarily be a training Army base.
Progress-Index Photo A gun salute is rendered at the ceremony to welcome the new Chief of Transportation at Williams Stadium at Fort Lee. Fort Lee: Then & Now
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Fort Lee: Then & Now
Nearly 100 years ago, in order to prepare soldiers for World War I, the Army turned what was largely vacant land into Camp Lee. Now, the installation is at the dawn of a new era after completing a $1.2 billion expansion that nearly doubled the footprint of the post with 4.7 million square feet of new building space. “It started as Camp Lee, it was just one of 32 camps that was built to train soldiers for World War I,” said Phil Shindler with the Army Quartermaster Museum on post. Construction of Camp Lee began in June 1917 on what had been farmland. Within just three months there were 1,500 buildings on post with a network of 15 miles of roads. The training camp was built in a horseshoe shape that was about two miles from tip to tip. Soon after, members of the 80th “Blue Ridge” Division were on site training. By November of the following year, “the great war” had ended and more than 60,000 soldiers had trained on the installation. Following the war, Camp Lee served as an outprocessing center for soldiers until the early 1920s. “After the war the land was turned into a game preserve,” Shindler said. The buildings constructed as part of the effort were demolished. Little remains of that time on Fort Lee, but training trenches are preserved in certain areas of the post not open to visitors. Another structure, that was on the land before the construction of the post — the Davis House — was also left standing and remains on post to this day. In October 1940, the land was once again returned to military service in the buildup to World War II. “There would be 300,000 soldiers trained on Fort
Lee during World War II,” said Shindler. Even before the first barracks were constructed, raw recruits for the Quartermaster Replacement Training Center moved into tents in the heart of Camp Lee to begin training. In October 1941 (two months before Pearl Harbor) the Quartermaster School moved from Philadelphia to Camp Lee to begin training officers and noncommissioned officers in the art of military supply and service. Since that time Fort Lee has remained the home of Quartermaster training. Also during the war, the camp served as a German Prisoner of War Camp. In total, about 1,000 German Prisoners of War would be interred at Fort Lee. Today there is no evidence where the prison camp stood. Most of the structures built for World War II were meant to be temporary structures, though a few still exist on post and are still being used. One of the first
U.S. Army Photo Mock-up of C-47 Plane. On Armistice Day 1942 the Quartermaster School christened its latest training aid – a mock C-47 cargo plane, with a 5,000-pound load capacity. Students observed proper methods of load distribution and how to lash such items as 55-gallon gasoline drums, ammo, tires, crates, and bales. Fort Lee: Then & Now
Fort Lee: Then & Now
U.S. Army Photo The 13th Quartermaster Training Regiment demonstrates the principles of urban warfare at Camp Lee during WWII. After the demonstration, the “ghost” of each man who “died” told student observers the mistake he had made.
permanent structures was built just after the war in 1948, the post theater. In April 1950, Camp Lee was granted permanent status as it became Fort Lee. The post also picked up another training school when riggers — soldiers that pack parachutes — moved from Fort Benning, Ga. to Fort Lee. It wasn’t long after that when the post became a hub of activity again as the Korean War began in June of the same year. Following the Korean War in 1953 throughout the 1960s the post worked on modernization and most of the temporary World War II structures were replaced by more permanent brick and mortar buildings, according to the post’s website. The rapid logistics buildup in Vietnam after 1965 signaled an urgent need for many more Quartermaster soldiers and Fort Lee responded by going into overdrive, maintaining three shifts and round-the-clock training for a period of time. As Vietnam wound down in the early- to mid-1970s, the Army went through a period of reorganization, also introduced new doctrine, weapons and equipment, and unveiled new training and leader development techniques. The installation has never stopped adapting as new tenant organizations have moved on post, grown or otherwise changed. In 2005, some of the biggest changes ever to
come to the post were announced with the approval of the Base Realignment and Closure Act law by then President George W. Bush. BRAC led to the relocation of organizations to Fort Lee — including the Army Ordnance Center and School from Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Md., and most of the Army Transportation Center and School from Fort Eustis, Va., - as well as the evolution of the Army Logistics Management College to the Army Logistics University. Over the course of four years, from the first groundbreaking in 2007 to the official conclusion of BRAC related growth on post in September 2011 with the last ribbon cutting event, approximately $1.2 billion was spent on 56 new buildings, four building renovations and 38 total contracts. “Successfully accomplishing BRAC by last year’s September deadline — under budget — was a tremendous undertaking,” said Fort Lee Garrison Commander Col. Rodney Edge. “And our task to transform Fort Lee into the Home of Army Logistics was made far easier thanks to the outstanding vision, support and commitment of our many partners in the local community. Working together, we’ve shaped Fort Lee into a world-class installation that not only sets a high standard for military training, but also offers a deeply supportive community for the service members and families who call this post ‘home.’”
U.S. Army Photo Camp Lee–Berlin–Tokyo Railroad Line, 1944. It never actually delivered the military vehicles and ammunition needed to “blow the Axis powers all to Hades,” but the simulated train line gave Quartermaster School students a practical idea of how supplies were to be moved by rail. Fort Lee: Then & Now
Fort Lee: Then & Now
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Fort Lee: Then & Now
In just under six years, 56 buildings were constructed on Fort Lee. Another four were renovated and millions of dollars in infrastructure has been created. The end result: the largest growth of the post in more than 60 years, $1.2 billion in investment and a new Fort Lee where roughly a third of all soldiers in the military will be trained. September 2011 marked the end of an era on Fort Lee as the post marked the completion of Base Realignment And Closure related growth. The installation marked the occasion with two extraordinarily large scissors snipping ribbons officially opening and naming nearly a dozen structures on post. Maj. Gen. James Hodge, who at the time as the post and Combined Arms Support Command and Sustainment Center of Excellence Commanding General, said that the completion of BRAC growth on post represented the largest period of growth for the post since it was known as Camp Lee during the buildup for World War II. “Successfully accomplishing BRAC by last year’s September deadline – under budget – was a
Progress-Index Photo A C-130 fuselage for training is moved towards a hangar bay on Fort Lee grounds for Air Force Loadmaster training.
Progress-Index Photo Staff Sgt. Swanson goes over proper hand signals to drivers with a group of transportation management coordinator students.
tremendous undertaking. And our task to transform Fort Lee into the Home of Army Logistics was made far easier thanks to the outstanding vision, support and commitment of our many partners in the local community,” said Garrison Commander, Col. Rodney Edge. “Working together, we’ve shaped Fort Lee into a world-class installation that not only sets a high standard for military training, but also offers a deeply supportive community for the service members and families who call this post ‘home.’” “All of these changes will serve the Army and the nation for decades to come,” Hodge said at the September 2011 ribbon cuttings. The transformation turned what was at one time a training area on post and a large stand of pine trees into what is today the ordnance campus where thousands of soldiers will be trained each year to repair and maintain the equipment in the Army, properly handle ammunition and keep other soldiers safe Fort Lee: Then & Now
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Fort Lee: Then & Now
Progress-Index Photo A group of transportation management coordinator students prepare to work inside the massive fuselage of a C-17 Globemaster.
through the proper disposal of Improvised Explosive Devices. The growth of the post also turned Fort Lee into a “purple” post. All branches of the armed forces — Navy, Air Force, Marines and Army — now train on Fort Lee. With that have come numerous changes including a
dorm for sailors and airmen, a dining facility built for the sailors and airmen, the Air Force Transportation Management School which included two huge special deliveries — a C-130 cargo aircraft and a C-17 fuselage. The plane and the fuselage are used as training aids not just for airmen, but soldiers learning vital transportation skills as well. The schoolhouse where soldiers have learned to cook for several years was expanded to allow sailors and airmen to learn those skills as well. Marines have trained side-by-side with the soldiers already training there for years. Other large equipment used for training aids made its way out to River Road and the Downer Range Complex — where ordnance soldiers learn how to recover vehicles with the Army’s M88 recovery vehicle. Ordnance soldiers also learn how to repair vehicles including the Army’s main battle tank, the M1 Abrams, by using real tanks on the ordnance campus.
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Fort Lee: Then & Now
Since 1941 Fort Lee has officially been the home of Quartermaster soldiers for the Army. It’s where they’re trained on everything from how to treat the remains of comrades for 92M Mortuary Affairs Specialists to how to get supplies to the front lines with 92A Automated Logistics Specialists and how to help keep soldiers and their laundry clean with 92S Shower and Laundry Specialists. Staff Sgt. Robert Tucker has been in the Army for 18 1/2 years and an instructor for 92A Advanced Individual Training soldiers for the past year. “We teach soldiers how to do supply maintenance,” said Tucker, who added that the job is similar to warehouse type operations for large corporate distribution centers. Only instead of stores, the soldiers are shipping items including food, fuel and ammunition. Instead of consumers, the people using the goods are fellow
Progress-Index Photo Pfc. Jason Harville and Pfc. Karen Cabret are at Fort Lee training to become automated logistics specialists, a part of the Quartermaster Corps.
soldiers on the front lines. “It’s a very important job,” Tucker said. “Without logistics the infantry can’t do its job. The Army can’t fight without the bullets or the food or the fuel.” Tucker said that the job has changed since he went through AIT and became a 92A. “There were a lot more manuals then, things had to be done manually,” he said. “Now it’s a lot more computerized.” Tucker said he wouldn’t go as far as to describe the job as easy, but said he would say it is a lot different and there’s much more automation. For Pfc. Karen Cabret, five weeks into the 10-week training session, she said that the experience has been very positive, with a little bit of a challenge. “It’s a different pace than basic training was, and it’s a lot less physically demanding, but it’s very mentally challenging,” Cabret said. Pfc. Jason Harville said that there’s been lots of information that the course has covered and as a topic he’s never studied before, it’s all completely new. But the two soldiers are determined to make the most of the training and have high goals for their Army careers. Harville wants to one day be the Sergeant Major of the Army. “I know I can build the foundation that I need here to become a better soldier, civilian, father, husband and just a better person all around,” Harville said. Cabret said she too believes that the service will help her become a better person and it will allow her to “serve the country that’s given me so much.” Cabret said that one of her goals in the Army is to one day become a warrant officer. Fort Lee: Then & Now
Fort Lee: Then & Now
Whether it’s getting equipment to its destination on time and packed properly or maintaining that equipment once it has arrived where it’s needed — the soldier that does the job from now on has been trained at Fort Lee.
Progress-Index Photo Sgt. 1st Class Mark Cresse, noncommissioned officer in charge, shows a set of railroad cars and track used by students. Transportation Corps soldiers training at Fort Lee have access to facilities including two plane fuselages and the rail line.
As part of the transformation of Fort Lee two new schools — the Army Transportation Center and School and the Army Ordnance Center and School — relocated most of their training to Fort Lee. That training includes the 88N — Transportation Management Coordinator — military occupational specialty. Sgt. 1st Class Mark Cresse, instructor and the noncommissioned officer in charge with the Deployment and Deployment Systems Department, said that the
88N course allows soldiers to learn the processes required for Airfield Departure and Arrival Control Group operations. “Making sure that the equipment is ready to deploy,” Cresse said. That work includes making sure that the correct paperwork is prepared for equipment or a shipment, checking how much equipment weighs and determining its center of balance. “If a load isn’t balanced it could cause the plane to experience problems in flight,” said Pvt. Amber White, one of the students training to become an 88N. “The Air Force won’t ship it until it’s right.” Pvt. Yamira Labrador, also training to become an 88N, said that one of the most interesting aspects of the training to this point for her has been working to determine the center of balance for a vehicle. “First you have to find out the weight,” said Labrador. While Cresse said that all military vehicles have a data plate indicating how much the vehicle should weigh, frequently vehicles are also loaded with gear if a unit is deploying. In addition to training soldiers on how to calculate the weight of loaded vehicles, Cresse said soldiers learn how to pack and load a pallet, how to drive vehicles onto railcars properly and the proper techniques for joint inspection of cargo. “This is much better than what we had at Fort Eustis,” Cresse said of part of the training environment at the multi-modal facility — an actual C-17 fuselage. “At Fort Eustis we had a wooden mock-up. It’s really important that we’re able to train the soldiers on what’s in the field.” In addition to the C-17 at the multi-modal site where soldiers train side-by-side with Airmen, there is Fort Lee: Then & Now
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Fort Lee: Then & Now
a C-130. The C-130, unlike the C-17, was a functional aircraft that flew into the Dinwiddie County airport, was partially disassembled and then reassembled on location at Fort Lee. “We want them to become self sufficient,” said Cresse. Across post at the Army Ordnance Center and School soldiers learn everything from how to repair critical Army equipment to how to safely dispose of Improvised Explosive Devices. For the soldiers training in the 91J — Quartermaster Chemical Equipment Repair — and 91C — Utilities Equipment, Air Conditioning and Heater Repair — the demand for those soldiers has increased as the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and on terrorism have gone on over the past decade. “We work mostly on the water purification system,” said Spc. Natalie O’Hara, seven weeks into 91J Quartermaster Chemical Equipment Repair MOS training. “You realize how important it is what you’re doing because the soldiers need water.” Pvt. 1st Class Bridget Burleson, training as a 91C said that she had no idea what to expect when she began her training and didn’t have much familiarity with mechanical systems. “But they explain everything in steps and we’ve progressed from smaller to larger pieces of equipment.”
Progress-Index Photo Pfc. Smith, a transportation management coordinator student, works on a chain and hook inside a C-17 Globemaster fuselage. Transportation Corps soldiers training at Fort Lee have access to facilities including two plane fuselages and a set of railcars.
Staff Sgt. James Eggeman, a 91J instructor said that students are taught the foundations of how to repair equipment. “We only teach them on about 10 percent of the equipment in the Army,” Eggeman said of the 13week course. “If we taught them on all the equipment, it would probably take a year.” Eggeman said that would also depend on the equipment staying the same — but the Army is constantly updating equipment. He said that he recently was able to see a new Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Unit. “We have the prototypes and are learning on those,” he said, but the units in the field already have the unit with some changes. Sgt. 1st Class Rick Jones said that he’s been impressed with the new facilities available on Fort Lee for training. “It’s the nicest facility I’ve seen in 18 years,” Jones added. Jones said that with the 91C training soldiers learn about several critical systems and how to repair them including vehicle fire suppression systems, which he said use halon. “Halon puts out a fire by sucking all the oxygen out of the area,” he said. That fact alone makes halon a dangerous product to work with. But, it also provides soldiers with the benefit of earning a lifetime Environmental Protection Agency civilian certification for learning how to safely handle the material. “That certification is required to graduate the training.” Eggeman added that there’s a further benefit to the training of 91Js and 91Cs. “Once soldiers reach the Staff Sargeant level if they’re a 91J, they get trained to become a 91C,” he said. The opposite is also true. “If they come a Juliet, they become a Charlie,” Jones added using the military phonetic alphabet for the MOS classification. “We get to see a lot of our old students too.” Jones said that the two MOSs are relatively small, but perform very important jobs within the Army. “Our jobs became top of the list after the war broke out,” Jones said explaining the need for well trained soldiers in maintenance in an area where sand can quickly accumulate in equipment causing problems. Fort Lee: Then & Now