Fort Benning Georgia is home to a robust military community. In fact, more than 120,000 active duty military, family, Reserves, retired military, and employees call it home. As you might know, it’s also known as the Army Maneuver Center of Excellence. Here you’ll find basic training units, Officer Candidate School units, and the Airborne and Ranger schools. You’re probably going to see Ft. Benning at least once if you’re a Ranger, armor, infantry, or MI Soldier. Ft. Benning is unique because it has the ability to deploy forces ready for combat by air, rail and highway. That makes it one of the most versatile military bases in the world. Ft. Benning is one of several installations that will soon receive a new name.
More than half of all new Soldiers will train at Ft. Benning. It’s the sixth-largest CONUS installation and has the third-greatest troop density. Put another way, nearly 80,000 Soldiers train here every year. As far as Ft. Benning weather goes, it is Georgia so your assumptions about the climate are probably pretty accurate. All jokes aside,
Ft. Benning Location
Columbus, Georgia is about 100 miles southwest of Atlanta. So being stationed at Ft. Benning means you’ll be within reach of a lot of vibrant cities. Post is located in an area called the “Tri-Community” that includes Ft. Benning and Columbus Georgia and Phenix City, Alabama.
If you’re traveling from Hartsfield International Airport, first get onto I-85 South toward Montgomery. Then take exit 21 to merge onto I-85 South towards Columbus. Continue to follow I-85 and you’ll dead-end into post.
From the Savannah International Airport, get on I-95 South toward Savannah. Then take exit 99B to merge onto I-16 West toward Macon. Merge onto I-75 toward Valdosta. Next, take exit 149 onto GA-49 toward Byron, Fort Valley. Turn right onto GA-49 Conn and continue to GA Highway 96. You’ll want to keep right to merge onto GA-85 South towards Columbus. Follow signs for I-185 S and Ft. Benning.
Flying into Ft. Benning is easy, thanks in part to the several airports that are within driving distance. You can easily reach the installation via the Hartsfield International Airport, the Savannah International Airport, or the Montgomery Alabama Regional Airport.
A shuttle bus operates Monday through Saturday throughout post.
Gates and Hours
Ft. Benning has ten access points. Several are 24/7.
8th Division Rd Gate 24/7
Benning Blvd Gate Monday – Sunday 0600-1800
Buena Vista Gate Closed
Custer Rd / Rt 27 Gate Monday – Friday 0500-1700
Eddy Bridge (Lawson) Gate 24/7
Hwy 27 SB & Marne Rd Gate Closed
I-185 Gate - Main Gate 24/7 (Truck Gate closed)
North Custer Rd Gate Closed
Truck Stop, 8th Division Rd Truck Stop Gate Monday – Sunday 0600-1400
Contacts at Ft. Benning
1st Division Child Development Center (706) 689-8698
AAFES Main Exchange (706) 685-3257
ACS- Employment Readiness Program (706) 545-2836
AER (Army Emergency Relief) (706) 626-0189
American Red Cross (706) 545-5194
Army Community Services (706) 545-0403
Audie Murphy Fitness Center (706) 545-1940
Auto Skills Center (706) 545-2337
Barber Shop (706) 687-2436
Beauty Shop (706) 687-2743
BOSS (706) 604-7675
Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System East Campus (334) 727-0550
Chaplain (706) 545-2288
Child, Youth & School Services (706) 545-4626
Citizenship and Immigration Liaison Services (706) 545-0403
Civilian Personnel Office (706) 545-3374
Commissary (706) 544-3965
Directorate of Human Resources (Military) (706) 545-4002
EDIS (Educational & Developmental Intervention Services) (706) 545-3835
EFMP Family Support (706) 545-5521
Family Center (706) 545-7517
FAP (Family Advocacy Program) (706) 545-4013
Financial Readiness Program (706) 545-7517
Fort Benning Veterinary Clinic (706) 545-4444
Health Benefits Advisory (706) 544-3461
Hospital Appointment Line (706) 408-2273
Housing Office (706) 545-3921
ID Card Section (706) 545-9085
Information & Referral (706) 545-7517
Inspector General (706) 545-9076
Installation Replacement Center (706) 545-4630
Legal Assistance Office/JAG (706) 545-3281
Library, Sayers Memorial (706) 545-4911
Martin Army Community Hospital (888) 293-2148
Middle School and Teen Program (706) 545-3070
Military Police Desk (706) 545-5222
MWR (706) 545-3328
New Parent Support/First Steps Program (706) 544-2020
Outdoor Recreation (706) 545-7978
Post Staff Duty NCO (706) 545-2218
Retirement Services (706) 545-2715
School Age Services (706) 545-2079
Single Soldier Housing / Barracks (706) 545-5814
Smith Fitness Center (706) 545-4388
Temporary Lodging/Billeting (706) 689-0067
Tickets & Travel Office (706) 626-7644
Transportation Installation Motor Pool (706) 544-4516
VA Facilities – Columbus Clinic (334) 727-0550
Vet Clinic Appointment Line (706) 545-4444
Victim Advocate Services (706) 545-4013
WIC/Woman, Infants and Children’s Program (706) 682-8455
Mission and Units
Ft. Benning’s mission is to provide trained and combat-ready Soldiers and leaders while developing the doctrine and capabilities of the Maneuver Force.
Major units at Ft. Benning include the 194th Armored Brigade, the 316th Cavalry Brigade, and the 198th Infantry Brigade. Several tenants are at post as well, including the 199th Infantry Brigade, the 11th Engineer Battalion, and the 316th Cavalry Brigade.
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Ft. Benning History
Like lots of DoD installations, Ft. Benning has been around since WWI. It’s named for Confederate Gen. Henry Benning, who lived in nearby Columbus, GA. In 1918, the Infantry School moved to Benning from Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. Since then, Ft. Benning has been the premier training for infantry. It also serves as a training center for Officer Candidate School, Airborne, Air Mobility, Rangers, Armor, and Cavalry Soldiers.
Check out a complete review of the post’s history here.
Things to Do Around Ft. Benning
Because of its location, the Ft. Benning MWR does a lot to bring a sense of community to the installation.
Keep in mind that if you’re coming for a graduation, hotels will book up quickly! Reserve your room in advance.
Baymont Inn and Suites (706) 576-5303
Best Western Plus - North Columbus (706) 507-1111
Candlewood Suites Columbus Northeast (706) 940-0900
Columbus Marriott (706) 324-1800
Fairfield Inn and Suites Columbus (706) 317-3600
Obviously, you’ll want to drink your fill of sweet tea while you’re calling Georgia home. Pretty much every major city in Georgia has a thriving food scene, featuring twists on old classics and new fare too. You won’t have to drive far to experience an innovative comfort food re-imagined. Aside from peaches and pecans, don’t skimp on fried chicken, shrimp and grits, or the barbecue. When it’s time to have something sweet to eat, reach for cornbread cake. Be sure to drizzle on the honey, just like a local!
If you’re looking to head out into the world, remember that the Florida gulf shores are only about a few hours’ drive from post! You can easily reach the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains on a weekend, too.
The local area has much to offer new Army families calling Benning home. There’s easy access to parks and trails along with modern conveniences like bix box shopping and farmer’s market.
Ft. Benning Housing
First things first, call the Housing Office to let them know you’re on your way! This will give you a good idea about housing wait times and the current conditions at post. This is one of the busiest installations in the Army so housing wait times can be very long. Plan ahead to avoid surprises.
Single Soldier Housing and Barracks is required for Soldiers E5 and below.
Clark Communities owns and manages all post housing.
On-post housing is offered to 30% of its permanent personnel. That’s about 4,000 homes on post in ten neighborhoods. Some communities are open to all ranks. However, some homes within communities might be reserved for specific ranks.
Because housing is limited, living in a local community might be your best option. Speak with the Housing Office for recommendations on where to live. Nearby Columbus, Georgia and Phenix City, Alabama are both excellent choices.
Schools Near Ft. Benning
Mil-kids who live at Ft. Benning can go to school on or off post. On-post schools are run by DoDEA. Off-post, mil-kids will attend either Columbus schools or Phenix City, depending on where you live. Speak with the School Liaison Officer for the most current information.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Fort Benning the hardest basic training?
Ft. Benning is definitely difficult, especially if you’re attending BCT in the summer months when Georgia heat is at its worst.
How much does it cost to live at Fort Benning?
Cost of living at Ft. Benning is 7.5% lower than the national average.
Is Fort Benning only for infantry?
It used to be, but not anymore. In addition to OCS, Ft. Benning trains Rangers, Armor, and Airborne Soldiers.
How long is Army basic training?
Basic Combat Training in the Army lasts nine weeks.