Today, Fort Sill remains the only active Army installation of all the forts on the Southern Plains built during the Indian Wars. It is designated as a National Historic Landmark and serves as home of the United States Army Field Artillery School as well as the Marine Corps' site for Field Artillery MOS school, United States Army Air Defense Artillery School, the 31st Air Defense Artillery Brigade, the 75th Fires Brigade and the 214th Fires Brigade. Fort Sill is also one of the four locations for Army Basic Combat Training. It has played a significant role in every major American conflict since 1869.
As of June 2012, Major General Mark McDonald is the commanding general of the Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill.
|Lawton, Comanche County, Oklahoma|
Shoulder sleeve insignia of units stationed at Fort Sill
|Controlled by||United States|
|MG Mark McDonald|
|Garrison||United States Army Field Artillery School
United States Army Air Defense Artillery School
75th Fires Brigade
214th Fires Brigade
31st Air Defense Artillery Brigade
Old infantry barracks at Fort Sill.
The site of Fort Sill was staked out on 8 January 1869, by Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan, who led a campaign into Indian Territory to stop hostile tribes from raiding border settlements in Texas and Kansas.
Sheridan's massive winter campaign involved six cavalry regiments accompanied by frontier scouts such as Buffalo Bill Cody, Wild Bill Hickok, Ben Clark and Jack Stilwell. Troops camped at the location of the new fort included the 7th Cavalry, the 19th Kansas Volunteers and the 10th Cavalry, a distinguished group of black "buffalo soldiers" who constructed many of the stone buildings still surrounding the old post quadrangle.
At first, the garrison was called "Camp Wichita" and was referred to by the Indians as "the Soldier House at Medicine Bluffs." Sheridan later named it in honor of his West Point classmate and friend, Brigadier General Joshua W. Sill, who was killed during the American Civil War. The first post commander was Brevet Maj. Gen. Benjamin Grierson and the first Indian agent was Colonel Albert Gallatin Boone, grandson ofDaniel Boone.
Other forts in the frontier fort system were Forts Griffin, Concho, Belknap, Chadbourne, Fort Stockton, Fort Davis, Fort Bliss, McKavett,Clark, Fort McIntosh, Fort Inge, Phantom Hill, and Richardson in Texas. There were "sub posts or intermediate stations" including Bothwick's Station on Salt Creek between Fort Richardson and Fort Belknap, Camp Wichita near Buffalo Springs between Fort Richardson and Red River Station, and Mountain Pass between Fort Concho and Fort Griffin.
A detachment of the United States Marine Corps, consisting of a firing battery and commanded by a colonel, is stationed at Fort Sill. Referred to as the MARDET, the detachment works with the Field Artillery School to train Marine artillerymen. Marines also serve as gunnery and fire support instructors at the Field Artillery Officer Basic Course, and as small group leaders at the Field Artillery Captains' Career Course. All Marine artillery officers attend the Field Artillery School and are trained alongside their Army Counterparts.
The 77th Army Band (Special designation: "The Pride of Fort Sill")) is part of the Fires Center of Excellence. It was originally organized on 1 March 1907 at Fort Du Pont, Delaware as the 13th Band, Coast Artillery.
Another special detachment is the Field Artillery Half Section, an eight-man group representative of the "flying artillery" which was drawn by a team of horses (the Half Section has eight horses – all named after former commanding generals of Fort Sill) around the turn of the 20th century. The Half Section was established in 1969 to celebrate Fort Sill's Centennial. The Soldiers are volunteers for the show group, while the horses, their equipment and transportation are provided through charitable donations. The popular Half Section has appeared in regional parades, local festivities, change of command ceremonies and a presidential inauguration parade.