The first permanent settlement in the area of Carlisle Barracks was formed in 1757 by Col. John Stanwix. Over the next several years, it became a very important installation for the Army. In 1794 it was visited by George Washington who wanted to survey the troops who were assembled to put down the Whiskey Rebellion. It is interesting to note that Washington liked it so much that he wanted the military academy to go there, but Pennsylvania lost that honor to West Point. Around 1801, the government bought around 27 acres for just under $700 because they thought it such an important Army post.
Updated: February 12, 2015
Pennsylvania has a rich history of military engagement having been the site of Indian attacks during the French and Indian War in 1757, Revolutionary War battles and the site where a decisive battle changed the outcome of the Civil War in 1863. The 2nd oldest military institution in the nation is Carlisle Barracks, now site of the US Army War College. As the nation’s military challenges changed other military institutions were added. Tobyhanna Army Depot was activated in 1912 in response to an overwhelming need for an artillery training facility on the East Coast. The depot served as an artillery training base during WWI and WWII. Originally the home of two Indian tribes and settled in 1755 during the height of the French and Indian War, Fort Indiantown Gap has served in its history as a national guard base, CCC camp, federal army base, German POW camp and an army education center since 1931. Letterkenny Army Depot was one of 12 war ordinance depots set up in 1941 to protect the eastern seaboard. Both Carlisle and Tobyhanna have a connection with famous institutions in New York.
So can you expect if you are stationed at one of these bases? Here’s a short breakdown:
America’s 2nd oldest military institution
Carlisle Barracks is one of Cumberland County’s biggest employers. Nestled in the heart of Cumberland Valley and home of the Cumberland County seat, Carlisle offers educational opportunities and an abundance of historical treasures.
Military education has been a cornerstone of the barracks mission to train soldiers for today’s warfare. Once considered as a site for federal military academy in 1777, Carlisle Barracks is now home to the US Army War College, a premier military institution in its own right. Soldiers are trained here in the latest techniques and strategies and can learn a variety of subjects from military experts in the field. Their motto is “leaving a legacy of evolution in response to a changing environment.”
Carlisle Barracks is also the northeast headquarters of the US Army Installation Management Command that oversees facilities and installation support for army bases worldwide. For more information: www.carlislebarracks.carlisle.army.mil.
One of the oldest artillery training camps in the East Coast
Tobyhanna Army Depot is in Coolbaugh Township in Monroe County, home of the Tobyhanna National Park and the Poconos with its skiing facilities. The depot’s location is in a rural section of the township, which makes it a perfect place for clear communications.
Tobyhanna’s current mission of worldwide communication and logistics support comes from the establishment of a Signal Corps base February 1, 1953. Tobyhanna Army Depot was originally established in 1912 as an artillery training camp because its flat and bare landscape proved to be a perfect place for artillery maneuvering. It served as an artillery training camp in WWI and WWII. When it was closed after WWII, it was briefly considered as a site for the UN Headquarters. Today soldiers of C4ISR pride themselves in their goal to provide “excellence in electronics” and provide world-class logistics support for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Systems. For more information: www.tobyhanna.army.mil.
Home of the Pennsylvania National Guard
Headquarters of the Pennsylvania National Guard, Fort Indiantown Gap is located in historic Annville in Lebanon County. Visitors to Annville can explore Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Fort Indiantown Gap changed names twice in 1931 when it was first established as Indiantown Gap Military Reservation and in 1967 to honor the memory of the founder, Edward Martin. It has also changed hands from the state to the federal government twice. It served as a training facility for military campaigns such as Operation Desert Storm in the 1980s. On October 1, 1998, it became the headquarters for the Pennsylvania National Guard. The guard’s motto is to prepare America’s “TOTAL FORCE.” For more information: www.ftig.ng.mil.
A WWII ordinance depot
Letterkenny Army Depot, nestled on the northwest outskirts of historic Chambersburg in Franklin Township, is Franklin township’s largest employer. Lettekenny Army Depot, originally one of 12 war ordinance depots provides tactical support and repair for defense equipment and vehicle and is considered the premier DOD center for industrial air defense equipment and route clearance vehicles. It is now known as a Capabilities Based Depot in that it handles both industrial and technical issues with defense equipment and vehicles. For more information: www.letterkenny.army.mil.