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History of Fort Gillem

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Fort Gillem is a 1,500-acre complex in Forest Park. It has contributed more than five decades of service to America by working side by side with the surrounding Clayton County communities. This relationship began in 1941 when the Atlanta General Depot, located in the Candler Warehouse in southwest Atlanta, moved to what is now Fort Gillem.

Construction at the present-day site began in the spring of 1941 and the depot was ofUcially activated Nov. 1, 1941.At the time of the activation, roads were still being paved, railroad tracks were being laid and 12 of 19 planned warehouses had been completed.

The depot, a sub-command of the Army Materiel Command, was thrown into full activity when the United States entered World War II Dec. 7, 1941. Several hundred Soldiers from Fort McPherson and Fort Benning were rushed to the site to guard the five technical supply sections (chemical, engineer, medical, quartermaster and signal) that were considered potential targets of German sabotage.

The depot played a significant role during the war by supplying much needed equipment to troops overseas. In addition to its supply mission, an ordnance automotive school was established. More than 71,000 auto technicians had graduated from the school when it was discontinued in 1956.At the peak of the war, more than 10,000 Civilians were employed at the depot. At the conclusion of World War II, the depot's workload did not diminish. The quartermaster coffee roasting plant set up shop. At its peak, the plant could grind 50,000 pounds of "java" per day: enough to supply 625,000 Soldiers. The roasting plant discontinued its service in 1956. Additionally, in 1948 the depot began serving as a pilot installation for a post-war depot system within the Third Army area. The focus was on general distribution of logistical supplies and services.

A transportation supply section was established in 1956 to provide Ueld maintenance and backup support and supplies to Army aircraft in the Third Army area. Following the assignment of this mission, Morris Army Airfield was dedicated in 1959 to honor 1st Lt. John O.Morris Jr., an Army pilot killed in a helicopter crash at Thule Air Base, Greenland, in 1955. The $1 million facility, with a 3,000-foot paved runway and aircraft maintenance hangar, was used by the Signal Field Maintenance Mission (Avionics). The airfield was ofUcially closed in the early 1970s. The hangar was demolished in 2002. The post was renamed the Atlanta Army Depot in 1962 when it was transferred from the Quartermaster Corps to the U.S. Army Supply and Maintenance Command, a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.

In the wake of the Vietnam War, the depot system was reorganized and deactivated from the Army Materiel Command into a sub-installation of Fort McPherson. June 28, 1974, the Atlanta Army Depot became known as Fort Gillem. The post was named in memory of Lt. Gen.Alvan C. Gillem Jr., who began his career in 1910 at Fort McPherson and retired at the same post 40 years later as commander of Third Army, which is now headquartered at Fort McPherson.

Today, the post is one of the largest employers in Clayton County. It is home to 89 organizations, including First Army, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service Atlanta Distribution Center, Atlanta Military Entrance Processing Station, the 3d MP Group (CID), Equipment Concentration Site #43, numerous elements of the 81st RSC, the Army's only criminal forensic lab, the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Territory Logistics Center-East and a 1,600-man reserve component training center.
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