It was first used as an Army camp in the 1800s. Following discovery of borax and other materials (including gold) in the area, the camp blossomed over the years. In 1941, it was designated the Mojave Anti-Aircraft Range. It was renamed Camp Irwin in 1942. In just a few years, however, the camp was disbanded and put on the surplus list.
It reopened in 1951 as the Armored Combat Training Area, and was responsible for helping train troops for the Korean War. After being officially made Fort Irwin in 1961, the army base was used for the build-up in Vietnam. After Vietnam, the Fort was again disbanded.
Then, in 1979, it was picked as the best site for the National Training Center. Fort Irwin returned to active status on July 1, 1981, and since then has proved invaluable for training maneuvers. The base is located on roughly 1,000 square miles of land.