Fort Lewis received its name from Meriwether Lewis, who was part of the original Lewis and Clark expedition across the United States. Covering over 80,000 acres of land, it is one of the largest and most active US military installations in the world. The army base began life as Camp Lewis in 1917 when the citizens purchased the land and donated it to the US government for military use. They maintained that it had to be a permanent army post, which was accepted as a stipulation. Nearly 60,000 men used the army installation for training for WW1. During the WAP projects during the 30s, an army air field (that later became McChord Air Force Base) was constructed.
The base served as a training and staging area for troops in World War Two as well. It was used extensively during the Vietnam War as well. The Fort Lewis Military Museum was set-up in 1972 and still serves as a reminder of all the army has done in the area. Today Fort Lewis is known as Joint Base Lewis-McChord, (JBLM), after it merged with McChord Air Force Base. It continues its mission of training soldiers for conflicts and service missions all over the world.