PHOTO CAPTION: t Jackson Deputy Commander Col. Stephen Yackley, left, and Post Command Sgt. Major Kevin Benson cut the installation's birthday cake at the start of last Friday's celebration.
July 24, 2013
By Wallace McBride
Fort Jackson Leader
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Fort Jackson celebrated its 96th birthday last week with a look back at the post's humble beginnings.
"It's great to see all those smiling faces out there today as we get ready to celebrate this great anniversary of Fort Jackson," Col. Stephen Yackley, Fort Jackson deputy commander, told the audience last Friday at the Solomon Center.
Most of those in attendance for the post's birthday party were children of Soldiers, who were treated to a candy buffet and other assorted activities during the event.
But first, they took a trip back in time with Yackley, who told them of the history of Fort Jackson.
"Ninety six years ago, Camp Jackson was established here on the outskirts of Columbia," he told the audience. "The citizens of Columbia had donated almost 12,000 acres of land that formed the basis for the present-day Fort Jackson, which is now over 52,000 acres in size."
Since then, the relationship between Fort Jackson and the civilian community has grown to create "the most military friendly community in the U.S. Army," he said.
"Today, as we celebrate this 96th anniversary of the establishment of Fort Jackson, we look around and see a much-changed post," Yackley said. "We have new barracks replacing the rows and rows of wooden barracks that lined Tank Hill; we have new houses for our Soldiers and their families; and we have improved ranges and training areas to better prepare our Soldiers. What is still the same is that Fort Jackson is the preeminent training center for the Army and all of the Department of Defense, and our mission of transforming America's sons and daughters into highly trained professional Soldiers who are prepared to answer our nation's call, wherever they are needed around the world."