History of Fort Rucker
Fort Rucker is a U.S. Army post located in Dale, Coffee, Geneva, and Houston counties of Alabama. The post is the primary flight training base for U.S. Army Aviation and is home to the United States Army Aviation Center of Excellence (USAACE) and the United States Army Aviation Museum.
Officially opened on May 1, 1942, as Camp Rucker, it served as a training base for thousands of officers and enlisted personnel during World War II. Shortly after opening, the base was expanded to include an airfield which was designated Ozark Army Airfield. Troops trained at Camp Rucker fought in both the European and Pacific theaters during World War II.
Camp Rucker was inactive from March 1946 until August 1950, but was reopened during the Korean War. After another short deactivation, it was again reopened and expanded as a helicopter training base. The name was officially changed to Fort Rucker in October 1955. Four years later, Ozark Army Airfield was renamed Cairns Army Airfield.
Today, the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence is the predominant military facility at Fort Rucker, training and educating over 23,000 Army Aviation soldiers and leaders annually. Fort Rucker’s infrastructure includes four air bases, fourteen staging fields, and seventy-two remote training sites covering over 29,000 square miles in southern Alabama and northern Florida.
Training, doctrine, and testing are all key parts of the Center’s mission to develop Army Aviation’s capabilities. All Army Aviation training has been undertaken at Fort Rucker since 1973. Currently, all initial training for U.S. Air Force helicopter pilots takes place at Fort Rucker. The Center is also the training site for all Army flight surgeons and flight medics as well as the home to the US Army Aviation Technical Test Center (ATTC), which conducts developmental aircraft testing for Army Aviation. The Center also trains and educates over 700 international students from over forty allied countries each year.
Fort Rucker is the fifth largest employer in Alabama, and the largest employer south of Montgomery, AL. The installation supports over 130,000 retirees, veterans, and reservists.
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