If you’re heading to Fort Jackson South Carolina, you’re probably embarking on your new Army career. Lots of recruits do their Basic Combat Training at Jackson, and plenty of Soldiers continue on for their AIT here, too. In fact, it’s one of the major Army training hubs in the country. Jackson trains nearly half of all recruits who enter the force each year! The post was named for Andrew Jackson, an Army general and the seventh president of America. Jackson boasts more than 52,000 acres and 1,160 buildings. While you’re in BCT, you might not get a chance to explore much of the installation, but take your family for a walk during Family Day and see just how massive it is! Read on to find out everything you need to know about your new (temporary) home.
Fort Jackson Location
Ft. Jackson is located in Columbia, South Carolina. It is 90 miles south of Charlotte, North Carolina, and 119 miles northwest of Charleston, South Carolina.
Fort Jackson can be reached by car using the following routes.
Heading in from the north? Take I-95 S to I-20 W, then take I-77 S and follow signs.
Driving from Florida? Take I-95 N to I-26 W, then follow signs.
Coming in from Charleston? Take I-26 W to Columbia, SC, and follow signs.
Making the trek from the west? Take I-80 E, then I-29 S to I-70 E, and I-40 E to I-26 E, then follow signs.
Flying to the closest airports: Columbia Metropolitan Airport, Charlotte Douglas International Airport
Columbia Metropolitan Airport (18.3 miles) is served by American, Delta, and United Airlines.
Charlotte Douglas International Airport (92.2 miles) is the closest international airport and is served by all major airlines.
Driving to Fort Jackson is ideal, since having a car will mean being able to visit nearby cities. However, buckle in for a long trek. Columbia, South Carolina is about 90 miles from the East Coast.
Contacts at Fort Jackson
Army Community Service: (803) 751-5256
Base Exchange: (803) 787-1950
Behavioral Health: (803) 751-2513
Better Opportunity for Single Soldiers (BOSS): (803) 751-1148
Caldwell Dental Clinic: (803) 751-7025 | (803) 751-5170
Chaplain: (803) 751-1559 | (803) 751-3121
Children & Youth Services: (803) 751-4824
Civilian Personnel Office: (803) 751-3219
Commissary: (803) 751-5789
Employee Assistance Program: (803) 751-4785 | (803) 751-7938
Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO): (803) 751-4935
Equal Opportunity 24/7 Hotline (EO): (803) 563-1316
Family Advocacy Program (FAP): (803) 751-6325
Fort Jackson Family Homes: (803) 738-8275
Household Goods/Transportation Office: (803) 751-7694 | (803) 751-5137
Housing Division: (803) 751-9343
ID Card Section: (803) 751-6024
Information and Referral Program: (803) 751-5256
Inspector General: (803) 751-5580 | (803) 751-3247
Legal Assistance: (803) 751-4287
Moncrief Army Health Clinic Appointments: (803) 751-2273
Outdoor Recreation: (803) 751-3484
Public Affairs Office: (803) 751-1742
SAFE Hotline: (803) 751-7233
School Liaison Office: (803) 751-6150
Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC):
Victim Advocacy Hotline: (803) 751-9057
Welcome Center: (803) 782-9802
Mission and Units
Since Ft. Jackson is a main training center for Basic Combat Training, it’s no surprise that its mission is to train and develop recruits into Soldiers.
In addition to BCT training, the post is home to the 165th Infantry Brigade, the 193rd Infantry Brigade, and the Drill Sergeant Academy. , the Soldier Support Institute, the 81st Readiness Division, the U.S. Army Institute for Religious Leadership, the Leader Training Brigade, and the Logistics Readiness Center.
The U.S. Army Drill Sergeant Academy (USADSA) is an accredited Institute of Excellence that trains qualified NCOs in the instruction of warrior tasks and battle drills, drill and ceremonies, physical readiness training, and other IET tasks to Basic Combat and AIT Soldiers.
BCT recruits, here’s seven things you should avoid hearing from your Drill Sergeant during boot camp.
Fort Jackson History
Named for President Andrew Jackson, Ft. Jackson got its start in 1917. That’s when service members of the 30th and 81st Infantry Divisions started training there. During the interwar years, it was a training area for the South Carolina National Guard. Then, in 1940, it became a permanent Army post.
During the Korean War, the 8th and 31st Infantry Divisions trained here.
Later, in 1973, Jackson was officially appointed as a training center.
Since then, it’s grown considerably. Now, it trains nearly 50% of all Soldiers and almost 60% of all women who join the Army each year.
Speaking of former President Jackson, ever wonder which president was our best military leader?
Things to Do Around Fort Jackson
Extended Stay America - Columbia - Fort Jackson (1.4 miles)
Americas Best Value Inn Fort Jackson (4.5 miles)
Hampton Inn & Suites Columbia/Southeast-Fort Jackson (5.2 miles)
If you’re thinking about fried chicken or biscuits and gravy, you’re not too far off what you’ll expect to find in Jackson. Of course, there’s plenty of other delicious culinary delights, too. Obviously, you’ll want to try the barbecue - don’t forget a side of hush puppies and slaw to go with that BBQ! If you’re feeling adventurous, you should seek out livermush. Okay, the name is terrible, but the dish might just surprise you. By law, it’s required to contain at least thirty percent pig liver. It’s definitely one of those regional delicacies, for sure. When it’s time to wash down that livermush, make sure you try Cheerwine. It’s a low-sugar carbonated beverage made with cherries and there’s even an annual Cheerwine Festival in Salisbury.
The Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden (8.9 miles) has lots of flora and fauna as well as a waterfall area, rose gardens, and birdhouses.
The Columbia Museum of Art (6.1 miles) has exhibitions that cycle through every few months, along with art classes and tours for adults and plenty of programs for kids.
The EdVenture Children’s Museum (7.6 miles) has exhibits on aerospace, news production, veterinary science, cooking, a maker space, and much more for the whole family.
Housing at Ft. Jackson
Mil-families PCSing to Jackson for AIT have a lot of housing options!
Of course, if you’re heading to Jackson for BCT, you’ll get to experience the barracks. Some AIT Soldiers, depending on your rank, will also need to stay on post at the Freddie Stowers Complex.
But for everyone else, DoD housing at Jackson is owned and operated by Balfour Beatty Communities. This private company offers two to four bedroom homes and single family units in several neighborhoods. The community even boasts 27 playgrounds and there’s a gym on-site. Call the Military Housing Office for more information.
Schools Near Ft. Jackson
Mil-kids who call Jackson home have the choice of five different school districts. That means there are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to your child’s educational needs. Call the School Liaison Office for the most up-to-date information, including enrollment requirements.
Frequently Asked Questions
How big is Fort Jackson?
Fort Jackson is 53,000 acres.
What is the closest airport to Fort Jackson, South Carolina?
The closest airport is Columbia Metropolitan Airport, which is about 18 miles away.
What happened at Fort Jackson?
Fort Jackson was responsible for 50-80% of all Basic Combat Training for the US Army.
Who is Fort Jackson named after?
Fort Jackson is named for President Andrew Jackson, who is a South Carolina native.