Originally known as Camp A. A. Humphreys during the start of World War One, it became known as Fort Belvoir in the 1930s to honor the Belvoir estate. The Army base was the original home of the Army Engineer School before it was moved to Fort Leonard Wood. The United States Army Engineer Research and Development Laboratory was also stationed here at one point.
Located on Mulberry Island, the Army created Fort Eustis in 1918 after purchasing the land as part of a build-up for World War 1. Known originally as Camp Abraham Eustis and was home to a balloon observation school. It got its name from Brevit Brigadier General Abraham Eustis, who had commanded at nearby Fort Monroe. In 1923 it became a permanent Army installation and was renamed Fort Eustis. It became a federal prison in 1931, when it was used primarily to hold bootleggers. During World War 2 it went back to military use as the Coast Artillery Replacement Training Center.
Camp Lee was created in Virginia just a couple weeks after war was declared with Germany during WWI. Construction began in 1917 and shortly after, more than 10,000 troops were stationed there. After WW1, the area was turned into a game reserve. Then, when World War 2 started up, another camp was built on the same location as the first. This one was erected just as quickly as the first, and soon housed thousands of troops, preparing them for the front lines. At the end of WW2, the fate of Fort Lee was up in the air, but it was decided to keep it for Quartermaster training. It was named Fort Lee and officially designated as an army post in 1950.
Fort Monroe occupies land that was originally Fort Algernourne in the early 17th century although it only lasted a few years before being burned to the ground. Fort George occupied the site in the 18th century but it was destroyed by a hurricane in 1749. In 1819, the largest stone fort built by the Army was constructed on the same spot because of its strategic location. Finally completed in 1834, it was known for a while as the Gibraltar of Chesapeake Bay. The Army base played a big part in the Civil War as well.
Fort Myer was created during the Civil War in Virginia. Originally known as Fort Whipple, it was renamed for Brigadier General Albert J. Myer in 1880 when it became an important Army installation for the Signal Corps, and a base for Army cavalry. In 1908 and 1909, several of the first military planes were tested at Fort Myer. Unfortunately, the first aviation fatality also occurred at Fort Myer in 1908. By the start of World War 1 and throughout that conflict, the base was home to various engineering, artillery, chemical companies and regiments.
At one point Fort Story was a sub-installation of Fort Eustis located on the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay. It first became a military installation in 1914. It was named after Gen. John Patton Story, who was well known for coastal artillery. The base died down after World War 1, but at the start of World War 2, it was again being fortified. By 1944, however, it was slowly transitioned to house returning soldiers from the way, especially the wounded. It wasn't until 1961 that Fort Story became a permanent Army installation. There are many historic sites at Fort Story, including the Cape Henry Memorial Cross (where Jamestown settlers first landed), the first lighthouse in the area (Old Cape Henry Light), and the Battle of the Virginia Capes Monument.
Updated: February 13, 2015
With a history older than the nation itself, Virginia’s role in America’s military background is a long and celebrated one, with origins dating back to the settling of Jamestown.
The state’s military presence is also diversified, with more than twenty installations representing the Army, the Air Force, the Coast Guard, the Marine Corps and the Navy.
Founded in 1918, Fort Eustis is situated along the James River near Newport News and serves as home to both the Army Transportation Corps as well as the Army Aviation Logistics School. Fort Eustis, along with its neighboring partner, Fort Story, is a vital component of the Army’s educational and training program in which officers and enlistees are given on-the-job training in the fields of aviation maintenance, logistical training associated with all modes of transportation, as well as education in the deployment of the Army’s doctrine. Also located in Fort Eustis is the U.S. Army Transportation Museum.
Named for the legendary Civil War General (and native Virginian) Robert E. Lee, Fort Lee is located in the Tri-cities area of the Greater Richmond region. Founded immediately following the U.S.’s entry into World War I in 1918, Fort Lee serves as headquarters for several U.S. Army departments, including CASCOM (Combined Arms Support Command), the U.S. Army Quartermaster School, the U.S. Army Ordnance and Transportation Schools, and the ALU (Army Logistics University). In addition, Fort Lee’s 8.4 square miles serves as host to three museums, the Army Ordnance, the Quartermaster and the U.S. Army Women’s Museum.
Also located in the Richmond-Petersburg region is Fort A.P. Hill, a multi-purpose installation that serves as a training facility for all branches of the military. Founded in 1941 and named for Confederate General A.P. Hill, the installation trains advanced techniques to both active and reserve military personnel from not only U.S. forces, but also for its allies. The facility also serves to host and train government agency employees including the Departments of the Interior and State, and the U.S. Custom Service. For more than three decades, Fort A.P. Hill also served as host to the annual Boy Scouts Jamboree.
Steeped in history, Fort Myer is situated next to Arlington National Cemetery just across the Potomac River from the nation’s capitol. Its origin dates back to the Civil War and in 1881 was named in honor of Brigadier General Albert J. Myer. Long a showcase for the U.S. Cavalry, the installation has also served as headquarters for the Army’s elite ceremonial units, including the world-renowned U.S. Army Band. The National Weather Service, founded by General Myer in 1870, also calls Fort Myer home. An historic “first” occurred in 1908 when Orville Wright gave several exhibitions at Fort Myer, becoming the first flight at a military installation by an aircraft. The installation is also notable for being home to General George S. Patton who served as Post Commander prior to World War II.
With over 50,000 employees, Fort Belvoir is Virginia’s largest military installation, and is located in northern Virginia’s Fairfax County, and serves as headquarters to numerous U.S. military departments and their associated agencies. Founded during World War 1, Fort Belvoir was named for the Fairfax family mansion that once flourished on the grounds. Besides representing several U.S. Army command departments, Fort Belvoir also serves as headquarters to various Defense Department agencies, notably in the fields of intelligence, logistics, readiness and data research.