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JBLM History 2018-03-18T04:08:11+00:00

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Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) History


Fort Lewis (now known as Joint Base Lewis-McChord [JBLM]) has an almost 100 year history in the Pacific Northwest.  What started out to be a small fort, has grown into one of the world’s largest military complexes and a major contributor to various wars such as World War I and II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War as well as the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars.  This rapid deployment base supports not only Japan and South Korea but the world.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) was established in accordance with congressional legislation implementing the recommendations of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission, ordering the consolidation of facilities which were adjoining, but separate military installations, into a single joint base – one of 12 joint bases formed in the United States as a result of the law.

The United States Army Fort Lewis and the United States Air Force McChord Air Force Base were merged into Joint Base Lewis-McChord on 1, February 2010.

JBLM has grown significantly since its inception in 1917 to 86,000 acres covering Pierce and Thurston counties. The Yakima Training Facility provides an additional 384,000 acres.  JBLM has undergoing major base renovations as well as military mission strategies since the 1980‘s to accommodate the mission of the United States Army and United States Air Force.

The original Camp Lewis consisting of 37,000 men during World War I has grown into JBLM with current residents of more than 35,000 modern day, highly skilled troops and civilian workers.  This base now supports over 125,000 military retirees and more than 32,000 family members living both on and off-base.  JBLM is considered to be the Army “power base” for west of the Rockies and is the strategic base for Air Force to conduct humanitarian and combat flights.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord is considered one of the most sought after military instillations to be stationed at. It is surrounded by breathtaking, spectacular views of the Cascade Mountains, Olympia Mountains and Mt.  Rainier.  JBLM is modern with many attractions both on and off base.  The surrounding counties offer those locating to the base with diversity, fantastic schools and universities, as well as many other amenities.

The history and influence of Camp Lewis, Fort Lewis and JBLM has and continues to play a significant historical role in the protection and economical growth of the United States, the State of Washington, and more specifically the economies of both Pierce and Thurston counties.

The following histories are brief and many details have been omitted.  For more detailed history descriptions, we invite you to visit the Lewis Army Military Museum and the McChord Air Museum both located on JBLM.


Note: All information provided is deemed helpful but is not guaranteed and should be independently verified.