Fort Jackson, SC (WLTX) - Fort Jackson turned 100 years old on Friday.
During that time, they've become the nation's largest basic combat training facility.
From the very beginning, Columbia was chosen as Fort Jackson's location because of its access to water for the horses.
"Both to provide transportation for the soldiers and pull wagons for logistics," says Henry Howe, the director of the Army Basic Combat Training Museum.
Now, 100 years later, they've now trained about five million soldiers.
"We've supported every major conflict and most of the minor conflicts that the army has ever been to," he says.
And their impact, Howe says, goes beyond the base.
"We have an influence Army wide, not just Fort Jackson, not just Columbia, but we shape how the Army looks based upon the quality of the soldiers that we give back to them we're going to continue that on for the next 100 years."
A few miles down the road, Champ McGee, the owner of the Little Pigs Barbeque, says soldiers and civilians from Fort Jackson make up 40 percent of their business.
"When we came here back in 1977 there wasn't anything but fort Jackson, McGee says.
The Columbia Chamber of Commerce says Fort Jackson contributes over $2 billion to our local economy. It also brings in over 200,000 visitors annually to town, and one in every 12 jobs in the sate are related to the military.
"We just thank them so much for being at Fort Jackson and living here and continuing to support businesses all over the Columbia area," McGee adds.
Now that Fort Jackson is celebrating its 100th anniversary, he says they're excited to see everything else they'll be able to do for the Midlands and the world.
"I think that's one of the things that make us such a success, our ties with the community, our ties with local leaders I think that's one of the things that make us such a success," Howe says.
Fort Jackson is inviting families to celebrate their 100dth birthday with them this weekend. They'll have free concerts, fireworks and fun for the whole family. The details of the events can be found on Fort Jackson's website.
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