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United States Army
Army Community Service/Family Resource Center
11042 Mt. Belvedere Blvd.
Fort Drum, NY 13602
Watertown, NY cost of living is 2.6% higher than the U.S. average. High utility costs in the winter increase the cost of living during the winter season. New York has some of the highest property taxes in the nation.
If your arrival is at Hancock International Airport in Syracuse, New York it is your responsibility to coordinate and complete your travel to Fort Drum. Ensure that you save all your receipts so that you can make an appropriate travel claim when you in-process the installation. Listed below is some general information that may assist you in your travel decisions:
Defense Service Network (DSN) Dialing Instructions
The DSN is the provider of long-distance communications service for the Department of Defense (DoD). Every installation has a special DSN number and the numbers vary by world-wide location. In order to place a call using DSN, the caller must be using a military phone on an installation. Cell phones cannot dial DSN numbers. When dialing a DSN number from a United States installation to another United States installation, it is unnecessary to dial the DSN 312 area code. When dialing a DSN number to/from overseas locations, the DSN area code must be included. The operator can be reached at commercial 315-772-6011 or DSN 312-772-6011. Please note that long distance charges may be incurred.
Residents of privatized on-post housing are limited to a total of three dogs or cats per household. Breeds (including mixed breeds) deemed “aggressive or potentially aggressive” are not permitted unless the dog is a certified military working dog that is being boarded by its handler/trainer. The following breeds are deemed aggressive or potentially aggressive are not permitted on Fort Drum: Pit Bulls (American Stafford Bull Terriers and English Stafford Bull Terriers), Rottweilers, Doberman Pinchers, Chows, and wolf hybrids and any other dog that demonstrates a propensity for dominance or aggressive behavior. Dominant and aggressive behavior includes but is not limited to unprovoked barking, growling, or snarling at people approaching the animal; aggressively running along fence lines when people are present; biting or scratching people, escaping confinement of restriction to chase people.
Hands Free Driving
It is illegal to drive and talk on a handheld device both on Fort Drum and in New York State. Use of a hands free device is permitted. Texting and driving is illegal and absolutely not tolerated.
Winters at Fort Drum are quite cold and snowfall can begin as early as October and extend through April at times. If arriving during the winter months, be sure to bring warm, heavy clothing with you including winter jackets, snow boots, thick gloves or mittens, hats, an ice scraper and snow removal brush or be prepared to purchase these items immediately upon arrival.
En route mail should be addressed to the Soldier as follows:
Rank First name Last namec/o OMDC-Pending Gain10720 Mt. Belvedere Blvd.Fort Drum, NY 13602
Fort Drum Post Office 315-772-5220; Watertown Post Office 315-786-5900. Remember to submit a change of address to those you receive mail from and to the post office in order to minimize the disruption to your mail delivery.
Home to the 10th Mountain Division, United States Army Garrison (USAG) Fort Drum provides Best in Army services and infrastructure for our Soldiers, Families and Civilians who support our Nation during a time of persistent conflict.Team Drum generates, rapidly deploys, and sustains ready forces to meet national security requirements while caring for Soldiers, Families, and Civilians.
Military history of Fort Drum and local area
Nearly a century before Fort Drum came into existence, there had been an active military presence in the local area, which would later play a role in an Army installation being established in northern New York. To fully understand Fort Drum’s history, one must first look to the nearby village of Sackets Harbor on the shore of Lake Ontario.
Sackets Harbor and Madison Barracks
Sackets Harbor was founded in 1801 by Augustus Sackett, who saw the commercial advantages of the vast lumber resources and the deep natural harbor of the Black River Bay. The village became a major shipping and shipbuilding center due to its location to Canada across Lake Ontario. This meant profitable trade with Canada and England.
War of 1812
With the declaration of war against England in 1812, Sackets Harbor became the headquarters of the U.S. military for the northern frontier. The village was now a major military outpost and shipbuilding center with the sudden swarm of troops and ship carpenters. Hastily prepared earthen works named Fort Volunteer were established at the start of the War of 1812 to defend the northeast end of Sackets Harbor. A new set of breastworks and a blockhouse named Fort Pike was constructed adjacent to Fort Volunteer; these two forts would later form the core of Madison Barracks. Another string of defensive land forts followed. These were Forts Kentucky, Virginia, Chauncey, and Stark. On Lake Ontario at the land’s end of Navy Point was Fort Tompkins.
British forces led by Lt. Gen. Sir George Provost, who was also the British governor general of Canada, began moving towards Sackets Harbor on May 27, 1813. As the British forces neared the harbor, they spotted ships at a distance, and Provost feared these were American ships. Thinking they were American ships, he withdrew, which allowed the Americans time to strengthen their defenses. The Americans received 500 more militiamen as reinforcements who were added to the force of 500 regulars and 250 militiamen commanded by Lt. Col. Electus Backus. On May 29, the British finally attacked and attempted to land south of the town, but with American defenses being too strong, they were forced instead to land on the north side of town. The Americans were initially pushed back, but they rallied and succeeded in stopping the British advance. Provost called off the attack and withdrew when his forces failed to dislodge the Americans.
Post-War of 1812
After the War of 1812, the U.S. saw the importance of trained troops, which led to the building of Madison Barracks at a cost of $85,000. It became a substantial link in Sackets Harbor’s chain of defense. Named for President James Madison, the barracks was operated by the U.S. Army until after World War II. It was continuously enlarged and improved throughout its existence to accommodate the military’s needs at the given time.
During its use, Madison Barracks was considered one of the nation’s best military posts. A few well-known leaders who spent time at Sackets Harbor were Ulysses S. Grant, Gen. Mark Clark, Gen. Jacob Brown, New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, and President Martin Van Buren.
Of all of the Soldiers and units stationed at Sackets Harbor, the 9th Infantry Regiment was probably the most well-known. In 1892, the 9th Infantry Regiment was stationed at Madison Barracks at the end of the Indian Campaigns. Here their military training continued with long marches, inspections, and marksmanship training.
During its stay at Madison Barracks, the 9th Infantry Regiment was involved with the Spanish-American War, the Philippine Insurrection, and the Boxer Rebellion in China. During the battle to capture Tientsin in China, the 9th Infantry Regiment was engaged in deadly combat. The regiment commander, Col. Emerson H. Liscom, was fatally wounded while recovering the colors from the wounded color bearer of the regiment. Before Liscom died, he handed off the colors to the adjutant with his final command to the Soldiers: “Keep up the Fire!” The fighting continued, and the regiment was successful in its attack.
When service in the Pacific was over, the 9th Infantry Regiment returned to Madison Barracks. Affixed to the water tower, one of the most prominent landmarks on the military post, is a large plaque on which are listed the names of Soldiers of the 9th Infantry Regiment who lost their lives in service in Cuba, the Philippines and China between 1898 and 1907.
During action in these locales, five Soldiers of the 9th Infantry Regiment earned the Medal of Honor:
Fort Drum and its predecessors
Col. Philip Reade, as regimental commander of the 23rd U.S. Infantry at Madison Barracks, was a driving force behind Camp Hughes’ selection and success. Col. Reade realized that developments in modern military weapons such as bolt action rifles, machine guns, and rapid firing artillery pieces had exceeded the capability of the U.S. Army to train at Sackets Harbor. He then coordinated with local North Country leaders and the Watertown Chamber of Commerce to look for a new training area. The area in Felts Mills, immediately north of the Black River, was chosen.
Between Aug. 31 and Sept. 7, 1907, the New York National Guard established a temporary tent encampment, which they called Camp Hughes. It was named for Charles E. Hughes, who was then the governor of New York. Since that summer, U.S. Army Soldiers have trained annually at that site.
Governor Hughes and General Grant The following year in 1908, Brig. Gen. Frederick Dent Grant, the oldest son of President Ulysses S. Grant, led thousands of Soldiers back to the area north of Black River, known locally as Pine Plains. Brig. Gen. Grant commanded 2,000 Regular Army Soldiers and 8,000 militiamen from throughout the Northeast. He found Pine Plains to be an ideal place to train troops. Money was allocated to purchase the land, and summer training continued there through the years. The camp at Pine Plains formally opened on June 11, 1908, and training continued throughout the summer.
The camp's first introduction to the national spotlight came in 1935 when the largest peacetime maneuvers were held on Pine Plains and surrounding farmlands. Thirty-six thousand five hundred Soldiers came from throughout the Northeast to take part in the exercise. Some Soldiers travelled by trains, which arrived in town every 15 minutes, coming from as far away as Buffalo and New York City.
For 36 hours, young men from offices, factories, and farms marched, attacked and defended in tactical exercises on the 100-mile stretch of land the Army had leased for its war games. The maneuvers were judged to be most successful, and the War Department purchased another 9,000 acres of land.
Pine Camp Cantonment - World War II
With the outbreak of World War II, the area then known as Pine Camp was selected for a major expansion when an additional 75,000 acres of land were purchased. With that purchase, 525 local families were displaced. Five entire villages were eliminated, while others were reduced from one-third to one-half their size. By Labor Day 1941, 100 tracts of land were taken over. Three thousand buildings, including 24 schools, six churches and a post office, were abandoned.
Contractors then went to work, and in a period of 10 months at a cost of $20 million, an entire city was built to house the divisions scheduled to train here. Eight hundred buildings were constructed: 240 barracks, 84 mess halls, 86 storehouses, 58 warehouses, 27 officers' quarters, 22 headquarters buildings, and 99 recreational buildings as well as guardhouses and a hospital. Construction workers paid the price, as the winter of 1941-42 was one of the coldest in North Country history.
The three divisions to train at Pine Camp were Gen. George S. Patton's 4th Armored Division (Gen. Creighton Abrams was a battalion commander here at the time), the 45th Infantry Division and the 5th Armored Division, along with the 754th Tank Battalion, which went on to fight in the jungles of the Pacific.
The post also served as a prisoner of war camp. Of those prisoners who died here, one Italian and six Germans are buried in the cemetery along Route 26 between the 45th Infantry Division Gate and the Oneida Gate.
Fort Drum: 1945 to 1984
In 1951, Pine Camp became Camp Drum -- named after Lt. Gen. Hugh A. Drum, who commanded the First Army during World War II. During and after the Korean Conflict, a number of units were stationed and trained here to take advantage of the terrain and climate. Since its earliest existence, the post has been a major annual training site for Northeastern National Guard and Reserve forces. Throughout Camp Drum’s existence, it was still considered a temporary training facility for the U.S. Army, and Soldiers continued to be quartered in World War II temporary barracks during summer drills.
The post was designated Fort Drum in 1974, and a permanent garrison was assigned. In April 1980, B Company, 76th Engineer Battalion (Combat Heavy) was reassigned here from Fort Meade, Md. It was followed by the rest of the battalion, less D Company, three years later.
Fort Drum has served as a major training center for reserve component forces, and units of the New York Army National Guard rank among the post’s most frequent customers. The nearly 12,000-member New York Army National Guard is composed of state headquarters and three major commands: Headquarters, 42nd Infantry Division (Mechanized); Headquarters, 53rd Troop Command, and the 27th Separate Infantry Brigade (Enhanced). Battalions, companies and detachments of these commands are distributed among more than 60 armories across the state from Niagara Falls to the tip of Long Island. These units regularly come to Fort Drum for weekend inactive duty training and annual training during the year. Fort Drum’s ranges, training areas and facilities are essential to the New York Army National Guard to meet readiness objectives and federal training requirements.
In January 1984, the Department of the Army announced it was studying selected Army posts to house a new light infantry division. On Sept. 11, 1984, the announcement was made that Fort Drum would be the new home of the 10th Light Infantry Division. The first division troops arrived at Fort Drum on Dec. 3, 1984. Between 1986 and 1992, 130 new buildings, 35 miles of roads, and 4,272 sets of family housing units were built at a cost of $1.3 billion.
On Feb. 13, 1985, the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) was officially reactivated at Fort Drum. It was the first division of any kind formed by the Army since 1975 and the first based in the Northeast since World War II. Since then, it has been one of the most deployed units in the U.S. Army. The division commander after reactivation was Brig. Gen. William S. Carpenter.
The 10th Mountain Division (LI) was designed to meet a wide range of worldwide infantry-intensive contingency missions. Equipment design was oriented toward reduced size and weight for reasons of both strategic and tactical mobility.
Fort Drum: 1985 to present
Today, Fort Drum consists of 107,265 acres. Its mission includes commanding active component units assigned to the installation, providing administrative and logical support to tenant units, providing support to tenant units, providing support to active and reserve units from all services in training at Fort Drum, and planning and providing support for mobilization and training of almost 80,000 troops annually.
For more information, visit the Fort Drum Homepage.
Watertown, NY: 25,718; Jefferson County: 110,005
Fort Drum serves a wide range of Soldiers, Families, DoD personnel, Civilians, retirees and joint services personnel. Residents of the communities located around Fort Drum work in partnership with the installation to provide invaluable service to all Soldiers and Civilians.
Welcome to Fort Drum and the North Country! Located in the picturesque Thousand Islands Region of northern New York State, this installation is located in one of the most unique and beautiful areas of the United States. Fort Drum is located in Jefferson County, approximately 30 miles from Canada, with the Great Lakes to our west and the Adirondack Mountains to our east. The Adirondack Mountains, Lake Ontario, and the St. Lawrence River in the Thousand Islands Region are prime tourist attractions. Watertown, New York and the tri-county areas of Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence surrounding the installation are rich with history and tradition. The nearest large city with an airport is Syracuse, New York. There is an airport in Watertown with direct flight to Philadelphia, PA. Fort Drum's cost of living is slightly higher than the national average due to increased utility costs during the winter months. The surrounding communities are very supportive of our military Service members and Families. The base operator's phone number is 315-772-6011 or DSN 312-772-6011.
Fort Drum lies approximately 70 miles north of Syracuse, New York and 10 miles north of Watertown. Hancock International Airport, in Syracuse, NY is the closest major airport to Fort Drum. All major airlines arrive and depart daily. The Reception Activity shuttle makes runs to the Syracuse and Watertown airport and the Watertown Bus Station to pickup newly arriving Soldiers and Families twice a day if needed and weather permitting. Volunteers at the CPL Gregory J Harris Military Courtesy Room located next to baggage claim at the Syracuse airport will assist you with making transportation arrangements if needed. Paid bus service from Syracuse to Watertown is available. Visit the Adirondack Trailways website for Bus Schedule and Fare Information, entering Syracuse, New York as the Departure Location and Watertown, New York as the Arrival Location. Once you have arrived in Watertown there are several taxi cab companies available to take you to Fort Drum. See the Overview narrative at the beginning of the booklet for additional arrival information.
From the east (Plattsburgh, N.Y.):
Fort Drum Access Information
The entry procedures through the gates of Fort Drum are designed to protect the Soldiers, Family members, and Civilians residing, working on, or visiting the installation, while maintaining a proactive, effective, and secure posture. Access to Fort Drum is based on a bona fide need and the Force Protection Condition (FPCON) in effect at the time of entry. Fort Drum security personnel use an access control system called RAPIDRCx to scan and verify identification (ID). ) All personnel with DoD ID cards are required to produce that ID to security personnel at installation Access Control Points (ACPs). Acceptable photo identification includes valid military ID, valid driver's license, valid passport or other government-issued photo identification. ) Visitors require a bona fide need to access the installation. Verification of this need will require an adult DoD ID card holder (Sponsor) to acknowledge and sponsor the non-ID cardholder(s) to obtain access to Fort Drum. Visitors (18 and over) are required to undergo a National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Interstate Identification Index (III) check, provide a valid photo ID, and vehicle registration with proof of insurance (if driving). All foreign nationals not on official business with an agency at Fort Drum are required to process at an ACP and obtain a visitor pass and will be escorted.
Fort Drum no longer requires all vehicles belonging to personnel who work or reside on Fort Drum, or frequently use post facilities to register their vehicle on post and display a DoD decal on their vehicle windshield. You may be required to provide a valid driver's license, valid vehicle registration, and valid vehicle insurance at the entry control point. Additional processes or procedures may apply. All vehicles are subject to inspection.
Several taxi companies operate on post. The cost is approximately $5 per person one way on post. Average cost for taxi service from Fort Drum to Watertown is $10-15. There is an area outside the PX where taxi's can be found waiting for a fare.
315-772-6011 or DSN 312-772-6011