Fort Dix (1917-Present) - A U.S. Army post established in 1917 during World War I as Camp Dix near Wrightstown, Burlington County, New Jersey. Named for Major General John A. Dix, U.S. Senator, New York Governor, and ambassador to France. Renamed Fort Dix in 1939 and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in 2009. Active Military installation.
World War I (1917-1918)
One of sixteen National Army Training Camps established in 1917 to train World War I draftees. Established on 18 Jul 1917 under the supervision of construction quartermaster Major Harry O. Williams. The camp was to have a capacity of 65,000 officers and enlisted men. The Camp was mostly complete in October 1917 at an eventual cost of $12,800,000.
The first commander of the camp was Major General Chase W. Kennedy, who formed the 78th U.S. Infantry Division and initiated troop training. The 78th was organized on 27 Aug 1917 and the first elements departed for France in May 1918. The 78th distinguished itself in combat in France suffering 7,245 casualties. The 78th returned to the U.S. on 6 Jun 1919 and was demobilized.
At the end of the war Camp Dix became a demobilization center and later a training camp for the National Guard, Reserve and active army personnel. The camp was placed in caretaker status from 1926 to 1933. Between 1933 and 1939 it was a processing and replacement center for the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).
World War II (1941-1945)
In 1939 the post became a permanent installation and the name was changed to Fort Dix. During World War II the post served as an induction center and training installation. Some ten divisions of U.S. troops passed through Fort Dix on their way overseas. After the war the post reversed the process as it became a separation center for some 1,200,000 returning veterans.
In 1947 Fort Dix became a basic training center for the U.S. Army and greatly expanded for that role. The temporary World War II construction was gradually replaced with modern brick barracks and facilities.
On 7 Jun 1960 Fort Dix was the site of a nuclear accident when a BOMARC missile fully armed with a nuclear warhead burned on its launch pad. The fire burned unabated for 30 minutes sending a orange-yellow cloud of smoke into the atmosphere. Water borne radioactive materials contaminated the immediate area around the launch pad but neither the high explosives or the warhead detonated. The BOMARC facility contained 54 missile launchers and had to be abandoned after the accident.
Fort Dix continued to expand through the Vietnam War and the following Cold War. The basic training mission was lost in the 1995 BRAC closure list and the post became a U.S. Army Reserve and National Guard training post.
The 2005 BRAC realignment resulted in the consolidation of Fort Dix with nearby McGuire Air Force Base and Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst, establishing Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst on 1 Oct 2009.
Active military installation.
Active military installation near Wrightstown, Burlington County, New Jersey
Location: Near Wrightstown, Burlington County, New Jersey.
Maps & Images
Lat: 40.0320363 Long: -74.618454
- Roberts, Robert B., Encyclopedia of Historic Forts: The Military, Pioneer, and Trading Posts of the United States, Macmillan, New York, 1988, 10th printing, ISBN 0-02-926880-X, page 508
Fort Dix Picture Gallery
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