Fort Jackson is the largest training base in the Army. Every year more than 35,000 trainees and Advanced Individual Training students train at the base. Fort Jackson trains about 50% of Basic Combat soldiers each year.
Fort Jackson is located directly adjacent to the city of Columba, SC. Columbia is the capital of SC and offers great amenities like world class dining, shopping, and entertainment. Directly off of Fort Jackson are many shopping centers where recruits can get everything they need.
Fort Jackson is one of the oldest military bases in the Army. It was founded I 1917 as Camp Jackson. The function of Fort Jackson has always been to train new soldiers and make sure that the Army has plenty of well-trained fighters that are ready to pursue advanced training and help the Army stay mission ready.
Arriving At Fort Jackson
Gate 2 is the main gate at Fort Jackson. It is easy to get to by local highways and while traffic can sometimes be heavy it is very accessible. Fort Jackson does not use the Automated Installation Entry that many other bases use. In order to get on base you need to show your CAC card, dependent ID, or a driver’s license to the guards at the gate.
Columbia has a full service airport but soldiers can also fly into nearby Charlotte, NC and take a cab to Fort Jackson. A cab ride or uber to Fort Jackson from the Columbia airport costs around $35.
New trainees arriving at Fort Jackson will be housed in one of the many barracks facilities on post. The barracks are a bit old but do have some amenities.
For families arriving at Fort Jackson Balfour Beatty management offers very nice on post housing for rent. Many of the older houses have been torn down and replaced with large new townhouses that have open floor plans and other modern amenities.
But, since the base is directly on the edge of a large city there are plenty of great apartments and houses for rent close to post as well. The Sandhills and Lake Carolina areas are very popular areas for military families that want to purchase new homes in the area.
Most weeks of the year there are graduation ceremonies for trainees that families are welcome to attend. Family day is Wednesday and the graduation ceremony is on Thursday. That means that traffic to and from the base can be very heavy on Wednesdays and Thursday.
Families coming to Fort Jackson for graduation can find plenty of nice hotels at affordable prices close the base. Families should enter through Gate 2 then follow the signs to the graduation area. Everything is well marked so that families can easily find their way around.
Because the base is so close to a major city the PX and commissary are both small and don’t offer a ton of options. Most people prefer to do their shopping off base in Columbia. There are general stores like Walmart and Target close to the base. There are also fabulous dining options within a ten minute drive from post.
Fort Jackson is a great base for families and for those who love big city life. Columbia weather is sunny and hot most of the year, although the winter does get a bit chilly. Columbia has great museums, shopping, schools, and work opportunities for families and spouses too.