Catoosa Training Site
Tunnel Hill, Georgia
The Catoosa Training Site, four miles east of Ringgold on Georgia Highway 2, has been leased by the Tennessee Army National Guard since 1964.
The tunnel at Tunnel Hill(sometimes called Tunnelsville) was the engineering marvel of its time. Plans for a railroad tunnel to connect Atlanta and Chattanooga began in the late 1830's, but a great panic and depression delayed construction for almost 10 years. The Excavation of the west end begun July 15, 1848 and the first opening effected Oct. 31, 1848. The first train of cars passed through May 9, 1850. A town came to life in the area to service the needs of the passengers from the train and the "sappers" building the tunnel. The tunnel penetrates Chetoogeta Mountain, usually called Tunnel Hill Ridge (probably because it's easier to pronounce).
The tunnel was a major target of James Andrews and his men in The Great Locomotive Chase. Civil War General Patrick Cleburne and his soldiers camped there from 1863 to 1864, since there was always the threat of Yankee invasion. Five to seven battles took place there, with 277 Yankee men killed in one battle alone. In 1994 the State deeded the old alignment and tunnel to the town. Not far from the tunnel lies property on which reenactment of Civil War battles periodically take place.
The 1477 foot tunnel, the first railroad tunnel south of the Mason-Dixon line, remained the centerpiece of the town until it was closed early in the 20th because of structural problems. The "new" tunnel was begun in 1926 and completed in 1928 and is 1527 feet long.
Army Reserved Officer Training Corps cadets participate in their annual field training exercises in Catoosa, GA. The training exercises are designed to prepare the junior cadets for Advanced Training Camp in Fort Louis, WA, which they are required to attend the summer before their senior year. ROTC cadets participate in FTX once a semester. Members of the Tennessee Defense Force, a private volunteer militia group, are on hand throughout the weekend to assist with training. Only the juniors and seniors are required to go. ROTC cadets from all levels attend the training exercises. Freshman, sophomore and junior cadets participate in the exercises, while senior cadets are responsible for planning and hosting the weekend.
Climbing and descending a cargo net is one of many tactical challenges Air National GuardAcademy of Military Science cadets faced at the Catoosa Training Center in northern Georgia.
On June 24-25 2000 Seabees from NMCB 24's Bravo Company participated in "Operation Joint Sting" at Catoosa Training Center in Northern Georgia. Overall 140 personnel from six commands qualified on the M16A2 and 9mm and familiarized themselves with the M60 machine gun. This was a fantastic opportunity for Bravo Company to work with 74 Augment and receive some outstanding weapons training.
In October 2001 Catoosa County dropped efforts to buy or be given the 1,700-acre Catoosa Training Center property should the federal land be declared surplus. Topographic maps showed only 500 acres can be used for purposes the County might want. The balance of the land is too steep or in a flood plain. County commissioners generally agree an industrial park or school site might be a good use for the land. The county would have to buy the training center land if it were for use as an industrial park. The land could be given to the county if used for education or recreation. Catoosa officials agreed to pursue the training center, if it became available, after Chattanooga and Hamilton County purchased 940 acres at the former U.S. Army Volunteer Army Ammunition Plant for industrial development.
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