Fort Jackson knows how to throw a birthday party. And when you turn 100 years old, you deserve to celebrate big.
The U.S. Army installation has been a part of Columbia for 100 years as of Friday, June 2. The centennial celebration has been going on for months, but there are big plans for the birthday weekend.
Hunter Hayes and Kellie Pickler will perform a free concert on Saturday, June 3, and the public is welcome. Gates open at 5:30 p.m.
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Hayes is a five-time Grammy nominee. The country music singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has double- and multi-platinum music, including three No. 1 singles (“Wanted,” “I Want Crazy,” “Somebody’s Heartbreak”).
Pickler also is a country music artist who finished sixth on “American Idol” and won “Dancing With The Stars.”
Before the 7 p.m. concert, the Golden Knights Army Parachute Team will jump into Hilton Field and there will be free rides for children, and food and beverages for sale.
There will be fireworks after the concert, around 9:30 p.m.
And, while you’re thinking about Fort Jackson – part of the $4 billion economic impact of the military in the Midlands – here are a few facts about it:
▪ On June 2, 1917 Congress approved the War Department plan to place a training center near Columbia.
▪ Fort Jackson – which began as a World War I training base – has trained an estimated 5 million soldiers and is now the nation’s largest basic combat training facility.
▪ Fort Jackson trains 34 percent of all soldiers and 69 percent of the women entering the Army each year.
▪ Fort Jackson trains more than 45,000 basic training and advanced individual training soldiers every year.
▪ The fort includes more than 52,000 acres, with more than 100 ranges and field training sites and 1,160 buildings.
▪ More than 3,500 active duty soldiers and their 12,000 family members are assigned to the installation and make this area their home. About one third of those soldiers and families live in on-post housing.
▪ Fort Jackson employs almost 3,500 civilians and provides services for more than 46,000 retirees and their family members.
If you go
Fort Jackson’s birthday celebration
▪ Access to the installation for non-military affiliated people will be through all gates. Everyone older than 16 must possess a valid state or government issued identification card for entry. The vehicle driver must possess a valid driver’s license, valid proof of insurance and a valid registration.
▪ Once entering the installation drivers should follow signs and the instructions given by traffic control personnel. Starting at 9 p.m. Gates 1 (Jackson Boulevard), 2 (Forest Drive/Strom Thurmond Boulevard), 4 (Percival/Boyden Arbor Road) and 5 (Leesburg Road) will be open for outbound traffic only.
▪ Motorcycle riders also must conform to Department of Defense regulations, including wearing a DOT-approved helmet, full-fingered gloves, over the ankle boots, and long-sleeved shirt/jacket.
▪ Random vehicle searches will be conducted at the gates.
▪ Prohibited items include: alcoholic beverages, coolers, grills, tailgate tents, clothing or signage with offensive or vulgar language or political messages, inappropriate clothing, umbrellas, video cameras, cameras with lenses longer than 6” when fully extended, remote controlled flying devices, animals (service animals allowed but must be on leash). Lawn chairs and blankets are allowed.
Other centennial events this weekend
▪ Centennial golf tournament, Friday, June 2, at the Fort Jackson Golf Course. Pre-registration is required. www.columbiasc.chambermaster.com/events/details/fort-jackson-centennial-golf-tournament-6937