The complete post guide to Fort Jackson - We Are The Mighty
MIGHTY HISTORY

The complete post guide to Fort Jackson

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.

helicopters at Fort Jackson
Black Hawk Helicopters prepare to land on Hilton Field, June 19, 2014. The exercise was apart of the graduation ceremony and the kick-off ceremony to begin Victory week activities on Fort Jackson. (U.S. Army photo by Andrew R. McIntyre/Released)

Directions

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.

Transportation

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.

training at Fort Jackson
Col. Bryan P. Hernandez, Commander, 165th Infantry Brigade and Command Sergeant Major Thomas L. Jones Jr., 165th Infantry Brigade salute Fort Jackson senior staff after finishing the 3 mile post-wide run June 19, 2014. (from left to right) Post Command Sergeant Major William D. Hain, Fort Jackson Commanding General, Brigadier General Bradley A. Becker and Chief of Staff Colonel Daniel G. Beatty. Victory Week is a post-wide event held to bring camaraderie, unit cohesion and teamwork between the Fort Jackson Soldiers and civilians. (U.S. Army photo by Andrew R. McIntyre/Released)

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

Fort Jackson course
U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers with the 108th Training Command high-step through horizontal ladder obstacles on a team-building confidence course at Fort Jackson, S.C., during the last day of a field training exercise, April 12, 2015. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ken Scar)

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

Fort Jackson history
General Marshall (left), Prime Minister Winston Churchill (center), and U.S. Secretary of War Henry Stimson meet at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, June 24, 1942. (Photo courtesy of the Basic Combat Training Museum Archives.)

Things to Do Around Fort Jackson

Hotels

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)

Food Scene

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.  

Activities

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.

Fort Jackson housing
Residents of Fort Jackson housing will receive the 2020 Resident Satisfaction Survey from CEL Associates, Inc., an independent third-party to evaluate the infrastructure, services, and overall experience of Family housing. Completion of the survey will, “inform and reinforce ongoing discussions.

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. 

soldiers at Fort Jackson
Trainees if Company E, 1st Battalion, 61st Infantry Regiment, scream as their combatives representative wins her match and moves on to the final round on April 5, 2022. During the final tournament before graduation, the trainees were treated to guest Colby Covington, Ultimate Fighting Championship welter weight champion, who trained with the trainees that morning and offered advice to the competitors during the competition.

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.

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