The State of New York is home to four major United States Army installations: Fort Drum about 10 miles northeast from the City of Watertown, West Point on the Hudson River about 50 miles upstream from New York City, Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn adjacent to the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, and Watervliet Arsenal across the Hudson River from the City of Troy.
The major military unit, the 10th Mountain Division, light infantry, has four brigade combat teams, an aviation brigade, and a sustainment brigade. Many Fort Drum soldiers participate in local community activities sponsored by Big Brothers Big Sisters, Habitat for Humanity, volunteer firefighters, and scouting.
Watertown, the nearest city with specialty shops and ethnic restaurants, is a regular family destination. For off-post recreational activities, the area offers skiing, snowboarding, fishing, hiking, and camping during warmer months.
Children from kindergarten through high school attend local community schools in the Carthage and Indian River central school districts. Transportation to and from school is available to all on-post and most off-post children.
Mountain Community Homes manages four family housing communities, each with a community center with fitness facilities and equipment, a free local wireless network (Wi-Fi), and playgrounds for community residents.
For singles and unaccompanied personnel The Timbers apartment community is located conveniently with individual units equipped with washer and dryer connections. Temporary housing for visitors is available at Fort Drum Inn and the LeRay Mansion.
West Point was originally Fort Clinton, an 18th-Century military training center. Later, as the United States Military Academy, the emphases were artillery, engineering, and leadership. The names of many early academy graduates appear on major buildings, bridges, landmarks, and structures across America.
The 4,400 West Point undergraduates are from every state and several foreign countries. About 1,300 new cadets arrive at the academy annually on Reception Day in early July. The student body organization is a brigade with subordinate regiments, battalions, and companies. Rank trickles down from first- to fourth-class cadets. The senior ranking cadet holds the title of Brigade Commander.
Not until the 1950s could cadets select a major study other than engineering. Now they can choose from 37 majors. West Point education is free; in return cadets serve at least five years on active duty and three as reservists.
Visitors cannot tour the campus unescorted by guides. West Point is a short drive from the Catskill resort area, and the endless attractions of New York City, 50 miles away, are easily accessible by car or public transport.
Captain Robert E Lee, Lieutenant Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, and Captain Abner Doubleday all served as junior officers at Fort Hamilton, the first National Guard training camp in the USA. Approximately 300 members of all United States military branches serve at this combined installation. Fort Hamilton is the Army Corps of Engineers headquarters.
Parents may send their children to any New York City schools. Very close to Fort Hamilton are one secondary and five elementary public schools and no fewer than 68 private and parochial schools.
Balfour Beatty Communities handles family housing at Fort Hamilton. Apartment-style homes are available to all ranks, single-family residences to officers. Fort Hamilton community residents enjoy an outdoor pool, fitness centers, and playgrounds. The Holiday Inn Express Fort Hamilton has 46 rooms for service members who need temporary housing.
The Watervliet Arsenal, the oldest active arsenal in the USA, produces gun barrels for cannons, mortars, and tanks. Founded in 1813 during the War of 1812, the arsenal has been a national historic landmark since 1966.
For the Army and some foreign militaries, the arsenal produces the most advanced, high-tech, high-powered weaponry for tank, howitzer, and mortar weaponry and is the only domestic manufacturer of large-caliber breeches and gun tubes. Benét Laboratories is the major military unit at the arsenal. This national historic registered landmark has an annual economic benefit to the local community in excess of $100 million.