In 1918, Camp Benning was founded, and the Infantry School of Arms was built. The camp was made a permanent and renamed Fort Benning in 1922. During the Great Depression, the base grew under federal works projects.
The base flourished during World War II. The officer candidate school and airborne training center were opened on Fort Benning during this time.
Since the end of World War II, the base has remained highly active by promoting training, testing, and demonstrations.
The aim of Benning and the Maneuver Center of Excellence is to provide complete training for the development of the well-prepared and adaptable soldier. Some of the units stationed at here include the 3rd Brigade 3rd Infantry Division, the 75th Ranger Regiment, and the 17th Air Support Operations Squadron.
Fort Benning is located just south of Columbus, Georgia. Downtown Columbus is home to Broadway, a bustling street lined with restaurants, bars, shops, the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, and other attractions. Columbus also boasts two large shopping malls and several smaller complexes. Carmike Cinemas operates three theaters in Columbus and a theater on base.
Additionally, Columbus Georgia is home to sports teams like the Columbus Cottonmouths hockey team. The base is within a day’s drive of several out-of-town destinations, including Atlanta, Savannah, locations on the Florida panhandle, and the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The Fort Benning School System oversees six elementary schools and one middle school. High school students can attend Chattahoochee High School, Spencer High School, or one of the magnet programs in the Muscogee County School District. Higher education opportunities are also available. Columbus State University, Columbus Technical College, University of Pheonix, Troy University, and Strayer University all have campuses near Fort Benning.
Martin Army Community Hospital provides inpatient and outpatient medical services. For some specialty care, patients can be referred to one of the medical facilities in Columbus or Phoenix City.
Housing on Fort Benning is managed by Michaels Management. The communities, known as Villages of Benning, consist of newer developments, older living spaces, and renovated buildings. Different housing areas on base have different wait periods.
Off base, housing is available in the surrounding areas, including Columbus, Phenix City, and Cusseta. Prior to the Armor School moving to Fort Benning, new housing developments were built off base to accommodate the new arrivals. Housing costs in Columbus and Phoenix City have a wide range, but there are many very affordable communities in both cities.
Temporary housing is available on base through Fort Benning Lodging. In the event of a shortage of space on base, Fort Benning Lodging can assist in establishing temporary housing off base. Additionally, some extended stay options are available in the surrounding cities.
One of the biggest attractions for military and non-military families is the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center, located just outside of Fort Benning. The museum covers the extensive history of the United States infantryman. Several events occur on the grounds of the museum, including soldier graduations and talks from special guests, such as Colin Powell.