Fort Bliss is known as being the second-largest Army installation in the entire country. With an area of over 1,700 square miles, it is second only to the White Sands Missile Range. Although it cannot state that is it the largest installation, it does have other claims to fame. For example, it is the largest U.S. Army Forces Command installation and the largest Army Maneuver Area. Not only does it have a large area of land for ground training, but it has the largest portion of unrestricted airspace in the country. This space is used for testing of missiles and training in artillery.
In regards to military members at the fort, in the 2010 census, it was stated that there is a population of 8,591 people. These military members are made up of the 1st Armored Division, the 15th Sustainment Brigade, the 212th Fires Brigade, the 32nd Army Air & Missile Defense Command, the 402nd Field Artillery Brigade, and 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade. The El Paso Intelligence Center is also located at Fort Bliss. This is a federal tactical operational intelligence center and is a counterpart to the Joint Task Force North which is run by the Department of Defense. This is located at Biggs Army Airfield, a military airport at the fort. Also found at this fort is the Fort Bliss National Cemetery.
The History of Fort Bliss
There has been a military presence in the area since 1849. A fort was established where downtown El Paso currently is, but the fort had to move because of Indian raids, as was common at that time. A new fort was established at Magoffinsville, which remained in operation for the next 14 years, mostly made up of troops from the 8th Infantry. When the Civil War began, Fort Bliss was under the control of the Confederate Army. They were ordered to surrender it to the Confederacy, but they held it until 1861. During this time, the Confederates where using it to attempt to attack New Mexico. After the Battle of Glorieta Pass, the fort was left empty. Colonel James Carlton took over the fort with 2,350 men and they stayed there until flooding forced the fort to move again.
Fort Bliss moved to Camp Concordia in 1868 but was renamed Fort Bliss one year later. In 1976, the fort was abandoned until it was established as a permanent post in 1878. The plan for where Fort Bliss presently is was not finalized until 1892 when Captain John Ruhlen laid out the site. The fort received its name from a soldier named William Wallace Smith Bliss who had fought in the Mexican-American War.
Fort Bliss Today
With its somewhat rocky beginning, it is impressive to realize what Fort Bliss has become today. As mentioned before, it is the second-largest Army installation in the country. It has the capabilities to provide missile defense and anti-aircraft defense and is able to train soldiers in literally every type of weapon used by the Army. It can test tanks and houses of military vehicles. It is also responsible for monitoring missile launches that are conducted by the nearby White Sands Missile Range. It is not only invaluable to the defense of the country, but it also greatly aids the economy of the surrounding areas. As of 2005, it was estimated that $1.7 billion was contributed to the local communities. Housing and schooling in the area has greatly increased and was able to help the community when they faced local disasters. For more information about this fort, please do not hesitate to contact our team. At The Federal Practice Group Worldwide Service, we are dedicated to defending members of the military who have been accused of crimes.