Soldiers in the 46th Engineer Battalion and 88th Brigade Support Battalion work together to accomplish their recovery mission of loading a World War II Sherman tank for transport to the Fort Polk Museum. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Meillettis Patton)
Fort Polk was established in 1941 and named in honor of the Right Rev. Leonidas Polk, the first Episcopal bishop of the Diocese of Louisiana and a Confederate general.
Thousands of soldiers learned the basics of combat at Fort Polk during the World War II Louisiana maneuvers. Afterward, the post was opened for the Korean War and then closed.
It wasn’t until the 1961 Berlin Crisis that Fort Polk reactivated on a more permanent basis and became an infantry training center in 1962. Subsequently, it was selected to conduct Vietnam-oriented advanced training.
The 5th Infantry Division (Mechanized) became Fort Polk’s major tenant in 1974, and the post became one of the most modern installations in the Army. In 1993, the 5th Division (redesignated as the 2nd Armored Division) moved to Fort Hood, Texas.
On March 12, 1993, Fort Polk officially became the home of the Joint Readiness Training Center, which relocated from Arkansas.
Soldiers of Fort Polk have been called to serve around the world. They have fought in operations Just Cause, Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom, Noble Eagle and Iraqi Freedom.