FORT PICKETT, Va. –
Lt. Col. Preston Scott, Fort Pickett garrison commander, cut a cake July 5, 2017, to celebrate Fort Pickett’s 75th birthday. Originally named Camp Pickett, it was officially dedicated July 3, 1942, with 46,000 acres and the mission of training troops after the United States’ entry into World War II.
“Sometimes we take for granted as we go through our daily churn, but it is a pretty rich history of what Fort Pickett has done,” Scott said. “I like to think that the National Guard continues to manage things pretty well to cover the needs for training today.”
He pointed out that a recent training rotation at Fort Pickett brought more than 5,000 personnel to the post, but during the war build-up there were more than 60,000 personnel training and supporting the troops at Camp Pickett.
Scott explained that the area was selected for as a major training site for WWII based on the existing railroad network that allowed for transporting people and supplies easily across the state. The area also provided a variety of terrain that could help Soldiers prepare for tank, dismounted and airborne operations.
By the end of 1942, Camp Pickett was home to eight combat divisions, and there were 1,000 barracks for enlisted troops, 70 officer’s quarters and another 400 various buildings including 12 chapels, a post hospital, six firehouses, warehouses, headquarters and administrative facilities.
The Virginia National Guard assumed control of Fort Pickett in 1997, and it is now one of the premier military and public safety training destinations on the East Coast.
Today Fort Pickett is comprised of approximately 41,000 acres and is operated by the Virginia National Guard. It features a combination of open and wooded terrain maneuver areas and 21 ranges capable of supporting almost any weapons system in the U. S. Army inventory. In addition, the installation has a rail spur and C-17 capable airfield as well as barracks to support more than 5,000 personnel and morale, welfare and recreation facilities including a gym, post exchange and leisure center.