Military Life Resources Base Guides

The complete guide to Fort Leonard Wood

Jessica Evans Avatar
Fort Leonard Wood soldiers
Pfcs. Nathan Waters, left, and Matthew Williams apply camouflage face paint in preparation for the breaching demonstration put on for friends and family during a graduation ceremony held May 18, 2018, on Fort Leonard Wood's Gammon Field. (DVIDS)

Are you a fan of the Ozarks or maybe you’ve just seen the show and you’re itching to get to the Show Me State. Well, Fort Leonard Wood isn’t going to be quite like that, but that doesn’t mean your time in rural Missouri won’t be amazing! If you’re wondering about Fort Leonard Wood Missouri weather or if you have questions about basic training, this guide will help you understand what to expect when you PCS to your next duty station. 

Fort Leonard Wood is located in rural Missouri, so there’s not a ton to do, but there is a certain charm to the region. This Army post covers more than 61,000 acres, so it’s massive! It’s also home to the 1st Engineer Brigade, the 3rd Chemical Brigade, and the 14th Military Police Brigade – among others. Speaking of police officers, here are 6 things MPs do besides give you tickets. There’s a lot of history to uncover at Leonard Wood. In fact, it housed POWs during WWII. 

Fort Leonard Wood Location

Fort Leonard Wood is located in the south-central Missouri Ozarks, about 92 miles northeast of Springfield, Missouri, and 140 miles southwest of St. Louis, Missouri.

Plaque at Fort Leonard Wood
Following the unveiling of the plaque that was dedicated at the Sergeant Sean R. Grilley Range 21, members of the Military Police Corps Regiment, Grilley’s unit and family stood for a photo.


Fort Leonard Wood can be reached by car using the following routes.

Heading in from the north? Take US-63 S to MO-17 S 

Driving from the south? Take I-55N and US-63 N to I-44 W 

Making the trek from the east? Take I-64 W to I-44 W 

Coming from the west? Take I-40 E to I-44 E 


Flying to the closest airports: Waynesville-St. Robert Regional Airport

Waynesville-St. Robert Regional Airport (9.1 miles): Small airport with 1-2 round trip flights to and from Chicago daily on United Express, operated by SkyWest Airlines.

Driving: Driving to Fort Leonard Wood gives you the most freedom! Fort Leonard Wood is centrally located in rural Missouri, so it’s a trek but it’s worth it. 

Motorcycles at Fort Leonard Wood
Motorcycle riders, including many veterans, pay their respects to Pfc. Matthew England and his family by providing an escort from the regional airfield on Fort Leonard Wood to Waynesville Memorial Chapel. England, age 22, of Gainesville, Mo., was a soldier in the U.S. Army serving in support of Operation New Dawn in Iraq. A memorial service is set for 3 p.m. June 19 at the First Christian Church in Gainesville, Mo. (Army photo/Michael Curtis)

Contacts at Fort Leonard Wood

Base Operator: (573) 596-0131

Chaplain: (573) 596-2127

Chaplain (After Hours): (573) 563-6126

Civilian Personnel Office: (573) 596-0927

Dental Clinic: (573) 596-0364

Deployment and Mobilization: (573) 596-0212

Duty Personnel: (573) 596-0488

EFMP – Family Support: (573) 596-0212

Emergency Operations Center: (573) 563-4045

Equal Opportunity Office: (573) 596-2610

Health Promotion Clinic: 

Housing Office: (573) 329-3105

ID/CAC Card Processing: (573) 596-0744

Information and Referral Services: (573) 596-0212

Inspector General: (573) 596-0637

Legal Assistance: (573) 596-0629

Lodging Reservations: (573) 596-0999

Medical Appointments: (866) 299-4234

Outdoor Adventure Center: (573) 596-4223

Personnel Support Office: (573) 596-2700

Public Affairs Office: (573) 563-4145

Safety Office: (573) 596-0116

School Liaison Officer: (573) 596-0357

Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office: (573) 596-0600

Veterinary Treatment Facility: (573) 596-0094

Welcome/Visitors Center: (573) 596-0590

Drill sergeants at Fort Leonard Wood
Drill sergeants in the newly activated 2nd Battalion, 48th Infantry Regiment, welcome their first company of Soldiers to Fort Leonard Wood as part of the End Strength Increase in 2017.

Mission and Units 

The Maneuver Support Center of Excellence develops competent leaders and warriors of character and drives change in total Army Engineer, CBRN, Military Police, and Protection capabilities to enable mission success across domains and the range of military operations.

Units and Tenants at Fort Leonard Wood are varied. As a matter of fact, they include the Army Engineer School, the CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear) School, and the Military Police School. Of course, there’s also the 102nd Training Division, the MSCoE NonCommissioned Officer’s Academy, and the 43rd AG Reception Battalion. Let’s not forget the 399th Army Band, the 5th Engineer Battalion, the 58th Transportation Battalion, and the Homeland Defense Civil Support Office. The U.S. Air Force, the Marine Corps, and the Navy all have detachments at Fort Leonard Wood.

Once trainees arrive at Fort Leonard Wood, their first stop is the 43rd Adjutant General Reception Battalion in Grant Hall. As well as being issued uniforms, trainees will receive immunizations and medical exams, and fill out essential paperwork.

History of Fort Leonard Wood
Thirteen soldiers with the Noncommissioned Officers Academy dress in period uniforms to help the Fort Leonard Wood community pay tribute to the Army’s history through the symbolic placement of 187 battle streamers during a streamer ceremony June 14 on the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence Plaza. The ceremony was held in combination with the Army’s 238th birthday.

Fort Leonard Wood History

During the winter of 1940, America was preparing for her likely entry into World War II. Throughout the Ozarks, word quickly spread that the Army would build a training center in Pulaski County, Missouri.

The original idea for the fort was to train infantry, but engineer training soon became part of the mission. During World War II, Fort Leonard Wood housed Axis prisoners of war. Later, the fort would benefit from Base Realignment and Closure Commission decisions – in 1984, a large portion of U.S. Army Engineer School operations were consolidated there. Then, in 1999, Fort McClellan, Alabama, was closed. Leonard Wood inherited the U.S. Army Chemical Corps and Military Police Corps missions. It was re-designated as the U.S. Army Maneuver Support Center.

More than 80,000 military personnel and civilians train at the 63,000-acre installation each year. However, training is not limited to the Army. Air Force, Coast Guard, Navy, and Marine Corps service members also train at Fort Wood. Military graduations are held on the base multiple times a week throughout the year.

History of Fort Leonard Wood
For the entirety of the installation’s existence, chaplains have provided counsel and support on Fort Leonard Wood. In March 1965, Maj. Gen. L. E. Seeman, Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, discussed plans for the Lenten Season and Passover holidays with (left to right) Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Eudmond Bettinger, Chaplain (Col.) Walter McLeod and Chaplain (1st Lt.) Arthur Baseman. (U.S. Army archive photo by Spc. 4 Joyce Oldham)

Things to Do Around Fort Leonard Wood


Hampton Inn St. Robert/Fort Leonard Wood (3.1 miles)

Fort Wood Hotels (2.8 miles)

Best Western Montis Inn (5.1 miles)


Callie’s Finger Foods (1.9 miles) – Chicago-specific cuisine

Glassico Sushi (2.6 miles) – sushi, poke bowls, ramen

Mama Mia Authentic Mediterranean (3 miles) – Mediterranean, gyros, Greek meatballs, Greek salad

Golf at Fort Leonard Wood
Soldiers from the 55th MAC, 5th Engineer Battalion, Sgt. Karl Fillingame, Spc. Kris Carter, Sgt. Quasaan Siplin, Pvt. William Graves, Spc. Courtney Fielder, Pvt. Robert Levering, and Pvt. Cody Cline, swing away at the driving range during the 4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade Dauntless Days golf tournament.


Laughlin Park (5.8 miles) is a peaceful and scenic park with fishing access, an NPS Trail of Tears Memorial and concrete walking trail, and a boardwalk above the underwater cave.

The Old Stagecoach Stop Museum (5.5 miles) is the perfect Saturday experience for your family. Volunteers dress in period costumes and share stories of the historic building, which began as a log cabin and later served as a stagecoach stop, inn, and apartments. (Open on Saturdays April – September or by appointment.)

1903 Route 66 Courthouse Museum (5.5 miles) is open by appointment only but is a great stop for learning more about the Trail of Tears, the Civil War, WWI, WWII, and other Missouri history.

Housing at Fort Leonard Wood

Balfour Beatty Communities manages the privatized housing at Ft. Leonard Wood. Service members and families can choose from seven distinct communities. Each offers vibrant amenities and modern spaces. Visit the Balfour Beatty page for more information.

Unaccompanied housing is available for single/unaccompanied service members, ranked E5 and below. Call the Military Housing Office for more information, including estimates on wait times.

Off-post rentals and purchases are also available. The MHO can help you decide if this is a viable option for you and your family. 

Schools Near Fort Leonard Wood 

There are four elementary schools on Ft. Leonard Wood. They all feed from the Waynesville School District. Mil-kids will also benefit from an additional two elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school. Call the School Liaison Officer for more information on enrollment procedures. 

Fort Leonard Wood soldier singing
Sgt. Christine Permenter, member of the 399th Army Band, sings “God Bless America” during the 7th inning stretch at Game 4 of the 2013 World Series, Oct. 27, 2013.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the weather like in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri?

The weather in Missouri fluctuates a lot – locals say, “The saying in Missouri is, ‘Just wait 5 minutes, and it will change!’” You can expect about 45 percent humidity in the winter and 85 percent humidity in the summer. There are generally a few weeks at the end of July/beginning of August where the temperature reaches the upper 90s and 100s, and you can expect snow in the winter!

How far is Fort Leonard Wood from Kansas City, Missouri?

Fort Leonard Wood is about 218 miles southeast of Kansas City, Missouri.

Where should I live near Fort Leonard Wood?

Saint Robert, Missouri, is the closest town to Fort Leonard and the best place to live if you are interested in living off-post.

How long is basic training at Fort Leonard Wood?

Basic training at Fort Leonard Wood is ten weeks. Basic combat training centers around three phases – Hammer, Anvil, and Forge. Speaking of basic training, here are 7 universally important things you should know before BCT.