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Fort A.P. Hill

Fort A.P. Hill's 76,000 acres are dedicated to training active and reserve-component units, along with federal and state agencies. Fort A.P. Hill is part of the Installation Management Agency's Northeast Region. Located 20 miles southeast of Fredericksburg and about 40 miles north of Richmond, the post is easily accessible from Route 301 or Interstate 95. Fort A.P. Hill is an installation specializing in training and maneuver, and live fire operations. Military units from throughout the Department of Defense and allied nations, as well as other U.S. governmental agencies train year-round on the post.

Fort A.P. Hill offers unparalleled diversity of training, including maneuver areas, infantry lanes, a drop zone and assault landing strip, many small arms, demolition, and artillery ranges, quality camp sites, recreation opportunities, and more. It is one of the East Coast's most vibrant and vital training destinations, helping American Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines sharpen their combat edge. Fort A.P. Hill is used year-round for all purpose military training.

Fort A.P. Hill has more than 70 Tactical Concealment Areas, where military units camp when in the field. The areas feature defensive fighting positions, missions planning sites, largely unimproved roads and trails, and other features conducive to setting up a bivouac. During 50 years of use, some areas lost much of the foliage so critical to tactical concealment, and Fort A.P. Hill began a program in recent years to inventory all bivouac sites, assess their condition and develop a course of action designed to ensure their viability for another 50 years. Working with the U.S. Forest Service, clearing of deadfall and diseased trees, rehabilitation of injured trees, protection of exposed roots, and planting of new trees were all part of the program.

Fort A.P. Hill is one of the Department of Defense leaders in assessing training noise and taking steps to ensure neighbors off the installation are not adversely impacted by the booms and bangs of combat. A key tool in this effort is the information obtained from the BLAM noise monitors (standing for Blast Analysis and Measurement sensor system) that measure the decibel spread both on and off post. When a particularly noisy training event will take place, noise levels are monitored and then matched against atmospheric conditions. Weather is the biggest determinant in the impact of noise and vibration. Days with low overcast tend to keep the sound down near the ground while sunny days with low humidity allow sound to dissipate upward. Wind direction also has a bearing on sound. Fort A.P. Hill has used data from the sensors to change the way training is conducted and works closely with units to ensure the necessary noise they make has minimal impact to the environment.

Fort A. P. Hill is situated within the boundaries of Caroline County, a large rural county of great natural beauty, dotted with farms, woodlands and waters. Caroline County is located in the northeastern portion of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Situated along the I-95 corridor, Caroline sits roughly midway between Richmond and the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. Norfolk and the Port of Hampton Roads are approximately 110 miles to the southeast. The county has 549 square miles of land.

The Town of Bowling Green, located approximately in the center of the county, serves as the county seat. Bowling Green is 72 miles south of Washington, D.C., 20 miles south of Fredericksburg, 108 miles southeast of Baltimore, MD, and 35 miles north of Richmond. It serves as the professional and service hub of Caroline County and is the community located closest to Fort A.P. Hill's main entrance and permanent staff office complex. The county's smaller incorporated town, Port Royal, lies approximately 11 miles northeast of Bowling Green. Communities and counties surrounding Fort A.P. Hill have a lengthy history of support for the post and the valuable mission it fulfills for our nation.

The installation was named in honor of Lt. Gen. Ambrose Powell Hill, a Virginia native who distinguished himself as a Confederate commander during the Civil War. Rising from colonel to major general in three months, General Hill took command of one of Lee's three corps in 1863. Two years later, as Grant's forces laid siege to Petersburg, VA, General Hill was mortally wounded as he rode his stallion, Champ, to the front. He had not yet reached his 40th birthday. One week later, Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox. A fortnight later, John Wilkes Booth was killed at the Garrett farmhouse, situated just beyond the present boundaries of the fort.

In the spring of 1940, the War Plans Division of the Army General Staff developed a plan to raise a national army of four million men to conduct simultaneous operations in the Pacific and Europe theaters. In July 1940, a movement began to locate an area of approximately 60,000 acres, independent of any post, and lying somewhere between the Potomac River and the upper Chesapeake Bay.

No one seems to know who first suggested Caroline County as a site for heavy weapons and maneuver training facilities. What is known is that Lt., Col. Oliver Marston, an artillery officer stationed in Richmond and acting as an agent of the Third Corps Area commander, made a detailed investigation of the Bowling Green area in September 1940. He enthusiastically recommended that the War Department procure the Caroline site.

Military Reservation A.P. Hill was established as an Army training facility on June 11, 1941, pursuant to War Department General Order No. 5. In its first year, the installation was used as a maneuver area for the II Army Corps and for three activated National Guard divisions from Mid-Atlantic States. In the autumn of 1942, Military Reservation A.P. Hill was the staging area for the headquarters and corps troops of Major General Patton's Task Force A, which invaded French Morocco in North Africa. During the early years of World War II, the post continued to be a training site for corps and division-sized units. Commencing in 1944, field training for Officer Candidate School and enlisted replacements from nearby Forts Lee, Eustis, and Belvoir was conducted.

During the Korean War, Camp A.P. Hill was a major staging area for units deploying to Europe, including the VII Corps Headquarters and the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment. The fort was the major center for Engineer Officer Candidate School training (out of Fort Belvoir) during the Vietnam War. It served as a major training and mobilization site for units deploying for Desert Shield/Storm.

Fort A.P. Hill is home to the National Boy Scout Jamboree every four years, with a complement of more than 30,000 scouts and 250,000 visitors. The scouts use about 7,000 acres of the installation during the two-week Jamboree. MWR programs include: a recreation center with billiards, table tennis, TV room and equipment check-out. Other facilities include: fitness centers, gym, small swimming pool, free weight room, multi-purpose tennis courts, volleyball courts, fishing ponds, hunting, picnic pavilions, a lodge and cabins and a family camp for overnight accommodations. Other programs are child/youth services, field trips, tickets, and tours.

Nearest commissaries and exchanges are 40 minutes away at Dahlgren-Navy and Quantico-Marines.

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