Wondering about Fort Polk weather? Spoiler – it’s hot. Like really, really hot. But, once you get past that oppressive heat, there’s a surprising amount of things to love about Polk. If you’re heading to Vernon Parish as your next duty assignment, be prepared to settle into Louisiana and all that it offers. Polk was once home to the 1st Armored Division during the 1950s and served as a basic training installation during the Vietnam War. It also hosted the 5th ID, the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiments, and the 162 Infantry Brigade. These days, it’s a Joint Readiness Training Center, and home to the 10th Mountain Division.
Polk is one of the many DoD installations that will be renamed.
Fort Polk Location
Fort Polk is located in Vernon Parish, about ten miles east of Leesville, Louisiana, and thirty miles north of DeRidder in Beauregard Parish, Louisiana.
Fort Polk can be reached by car using the following routes.
Heading in from the north? Take I-25 S to I-70 E, then take I-44 E to US-287 S, then take I-49 S to LA-117 Sk.
Driving from New Orleans? Take I-10 W to LA-10 W.
Making the trek from the east? Take I-81 S to MS-28 W, then take LA-28 W.
Coming from the west? Take I-10 E to TX-12 E, then take LA-109 N, LA-27 N, and US-171 N.
Flying to the closest airports: Alexandria International Airport
Alexandria International Airport (53.5 miles) is the closest airport and is served by American Airlines and Delta Air Lines. There is a Fort Polk Welcome Desk adjacent to baggage claim.
Driving to Fort Polk may take a while, but its rural location means you’ll likely want a vehicle with you so you can drive to nearby towns to get whatever you can’t get on post (or get to and from Fort Polk if you don’t live on post).
Contacts at Fort Polk
Army Substance Abuse Program Prevention: (337) 531-2031
Automated Telephone Directory: (337) 531-2911
Base Exchange: (337) 537-1001
Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital Appointment Line: (337) 531-3011
Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital Emergency: (337) 531-3368
Chaplain: (337) 531-4916
Chesser Dental Clinic: (337) 531-4854
Commissary: (337) 531-2747 | (337) 531-6132
DEERS: (337) 531-1891
Domestic Abuse Hotline: (337) 531-4619
EFMP – Family Support: (337) 531-1941
Employment Readiness Program: (337) 531-6922
Equal Employment Opportunity: (337) 531-1799
Family Readiness Center: (337) 531-9426
Garrison Commander’s Office: (337) 531-1606
Housing Office: (337) 537-5060
ID Cards: (337) 531-1430
Information and Referral Services: (337) 531-1941
Inspector General: (337) 531-2100 | (337) 531-7878
Legal Assistance: (337) 531-2580
On-Call Chaplain: (337) 208-2868
Personnel Support Office: (337) 531-7258
Pharmacy Refill Line: (337) 531-3784
Public Affairs Office: (337) 531-1344 | (337) 531-1392
Reception Center: (337) 531-7258
Relocation Assistance Program: (337) 531-6941
School Support Services: (337) 531-6673
Sexual Assault Hotline: (337) 531-1848
Social Work Services: (337) 531-3272
Shira Dental Clinic: (337) 531-2121
Temporary Lodging: (337) 531-9000
Transportation/Household Goods: (337) 531-7098
Welcome Center: (800) 241-1071
Mission and Units
Ft. Polk’s mission is to enable FORSCOM units to increase readiness. That means that the installation trains Brigade Combat Teams and Security Force Assistance Brigades (SFAB) to conduct large-scale operations.
Fort Polk is home to the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC). The JRTC focuses on improving unit readiness. It’s one of the Army’s three “Dirt” Combat Training Centers designed to train infantry brigade task forces.
Polk is also home to the 1st Battalion, the 10th Mountain Division and the 115th Combat Support Hospital. The Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital, located on the installation, includes the Wellness and Readiness Center, the Department of Behavioral Health, and the United States Army Air Ambulance Detachment.
The Louisiana Army National Guard has a maintenance facility on Fort Polk.
Fort Polk History
Like lots of DoD installations, Polk got its start during WWII. First it served as a base for the Louisiana Maneuvers. Then it housed German POWs. Park of Polk is covered in dense jungle-like vegetation, so much of the post is called Tigerland. It’s used to help Soldiers acclimate to the Louisiana heat, humidity, and precipitation in preparation for Vietnam.
Archeologists and history buffs will appreciate all that Polk has to offer. It’s part of a region of cultural resources, historic houses, structures, and other archeological sites.
Things to Do Around Fort Polk
Hampton Inn Leesville/Ft. Polk (6.1 miles)
Comfort Suites (6.4 miles)
Holiday Inn Express Leesville-Ft. Polk, an IHG Hotel (6.1 miles)
If you’ve never experienced gumbo, boudin, or beignets, then prepare yourself for a culinary treat! First, start with a beignet – it’s a square shaped piece of fried dough, topped with powdered sugar. If you’re a fan, be sure to check out the Beignet Festival held each year in New Orleans. If sweets aren’t your thing, then you might like a po’boy – a sub-style sandwich made with French bread, or a muffaletta – a round-shaped sandwich stuffed with all kinds of salami and ham. Then, if you’re still hungry, make some room for a King Cake. That’s a round cinnamon-filled cake made from braided dough and covered in icing. The food scene around Ft. Polk gives you access to these Louisiana staples and more.
Vernon Parish (9.7 miles) is rich in Wild West history. From outlaws named “Leather Britches Smith” to Native tribes, this network of scenic roads and trails takes about a day to drive.
Leesville Main Street Cultural District (8.1 miles) features beautiful old houses and buildings and many local restaurants along 5th Street. 3rd Street Market is great for local goods, produce, and pop-up street festivals such as the Main Street Gumbo cook-off and the Louisiana State Soapbox Derby Championship are a neat way to experience the local community.
Wolf Rock Cave (7.6 miles) is a hiker or climber’s delight. The cave is located in a remote part of Kisatchie National Forest, best accessed by a four-wheel-drive vehicle or by a long hike, but those who make the trek will be rewarded with beautiful views and a magnificent cave that has been used by Native Americans and outdoorsmen for many years.
Housing at Ft. Polk
Call the Military Housing Office as soon as you receive orders. Ft. Polk offers quarters on post for single service members E-5 and below. All Soldiers are required to report to Warriors Keep upon arrival. Unaccompanied service members and geo-baching service members are eligible to live in privatized housing.
Corvias manages privatized housing on post. Find out more about Corvias housing options here.
Schools Near Ft. Polk
Mil-kids who call Ft. Polk home have their choice of schools, depending on where you live. There are six elementary schools in the district and middle and high schools in both Vernon and Beauregard Parishes. Private schools are also an option in the area. Speak with the School Liaison for more information, including enrollment requirements.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Fort Polk famous for?
Fort Polk was built after the Louisiana Maneuvers, a series of Army exercises designed to evaluate US training and logistics, in 1941. From 1962 until 1976, Fort Polk served as the Army’s largest infantry training center due to Tigerland, the area on base with jungle-like conditions that, along with Louisiana’s humidity, mimicked the conditions in Vietnam.
Do they do basic training at Fort Polk?
No, the training done at Fort Polk through the Joint Readiness Training Center is for Brigade Combat Teams and Security Force Assistance Brigades.
What are some things to do in Fort Polk?
Fort Polk has several recreational facilities, including a shooting range, a golf course, a mini-golf course, and a Go-Kart Center. There are also batting cages, a splash park, and a bowling center on post. Both Fort Polk and the surrounding area have several trails and camping areas. There are two pools on post.
What is it like being stationed at Fort Polk?
Fort Polk has a “hometown” feel with a very tight-knit community. Fort Polk is in beautiful, rural Louisiana. The biggest adjustment you’ll make is dealing with the humid Louisiana heat.