Fort Polk is one of the most prominent training fields in the world when it comes to preparing our soldiers for war. It's that way today, and it was that way 71 years ago, when it first was established.
"Fort Polk was probably the most significant training center during World War II, preparing the U.S. Army to meet combat the way it would in World War II," says Fred Adolphus.
It was named after Confederate General Polk, who was a historical figure in Louisiana. From the time the gates opened, Fort Polk has trained the best of the bravest.
"In the 71 year span there have been over two million soldiers trained at Fort Polk, maybe almost 3 million," says Fred Adolphus.
Some of our nation's most well-known commanders and presidents earned their ranks while stationed at Fort Polk.
"Some of the army's key leaders, Patton, Bradley, Eisenhower, many of the well known leaders trained right here at Fort Polk," says Fred Adolphus.
Photos show the changes at Fort Polk over the years, as it has grown and expanded. The training procedures also advanced as the years have gone by.
"The planes would throw bags of flower to mark where the bombs landed. It's just totally different how it was done back then compared to how we do it today," says Scott Stearns.
Although there have been many changes during the 71 year history at Fort Polk from the uniforms our soldiers wear to the landscape, the people we spoke with say Fort Polk is here to stay and it will continue to do the job is was intended for.
"The soldiers, these are great Americans that are defending their country and we want to train them and make sure that they are ready so I guess the principles remain the same even though how we do it changes," says Scott Stearns.
Today, we salute the place called Fort Polk, for 71 years of service...and 71 years of housing our heroes.
The historians we spoke with tell us that Fort Polk's location was chosen because of the climate--it doesn't typically snow here, the extensive acreage, and the railroad that runs through Leesville.
FORT POLK, La. – A special celebration at Fort Polk today. The post is celebrating 71 years of operation. News Channel Five's Nolan Crane takes us back in time to show us the heroes who helped play an important role in Fort Polk's history.
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