Fort Polk was established in 1941 and named in honor of the Right Reverend Leonidas Polk, the first Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Louisiana and a Confederate general.
Thousands of soldiers learned the basics of combat here during the World War II Louisiana Maneuvers. Afterwards,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. Fort Polk is also home to Warrior Brigade which contains several combat support units. Medical, dental and military police commands also support the installation.
2005 has been a season of change for the Fort Polk community. The 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, which has called Fort Polk home since the early 1990's, furled its flag for movement to Fort Lewis, WA where it will convert to one of the Army's new Stryker brigades.
The 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, one of the Army’s new modular brigades, officially activated January 19, 2005 at Fort Polk.
The Army is restructuring from a division-based to a brigade-based force, consisting of self-sufficient, brigade-based modules that will greatly improve strategic responsiveness.
Brigade Combat Teams are stand-alone, self-sufficient, and standardized tactical units that consist of between 3,500 and 4,000 Soldiers, organized the way they fight.
Modular supporting brigades will provide aviation, fires, logistics, and other support to the Brigade Combat Teams, will create greater operational autonomy, and enhance joint, interagency, and multi-national operations.
Creating an Army Modular Force will provide more training time, predictable deployment schedules, and a continuous supply of landpower to Combatant Commanders and Civil Authorities.
Soldiers of Fort Polk have been called to serve around the world in recent history. They fought in Panama during Operation Just Cause and in the Persian Gulf for Operation Desert Storm.
Currently Fort Polk is supporting the war on terrorism by providing contingency training for the Army's light infantry and special operations forces and by deploying home station and reserve component forces in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, Noble Eagle, and Iraqi Freedom.
The JRTC and Fort Polk is experiencing a tremendous transformation to be able to continue to accomplish our missions as a Combat Training Center, Power Projection Platform and a Modern Installation that supports our soldiers and families.
The installation is seeing one of its biggest construction booms ever with over $300 million in new construction and renovation projects in support of Fort Polk Transformation over the next several years.
Recent accomplishments include the new Consolidated Library and Education Center, Post Headquarters and newly renovated Soldiers Readiness Processing Center — all of which have set new standards Army-wide.