|Old infantry barracks, Ft. Sill|
Fort Sill Oklahoma is one of the most unique army installations in the United States. One very significant historical fact is that Ft. Sill was the first posting of a 2nd Lieutenant Henry O. Flipper, pictured below right, who was the first former slave to graduate from West Point. Flipper was assigned to the Buffalo Soldiers in 1877 while they were stationed in Oklahoma. Another fact is that Fort Sill military base is the only fort still in operation today that was built during the southern plains Indian Wars. Fort Sill history therefore is quite extensive and interesting.
The site of Ft Sill OK was decided upon in January of 1869 by General Philip Sheridan. The General was leading a campaign against the Comanches, southern Cheyennes, Kiowas and in some instances Apaches who were targeting white settlers in the area of western Oklahoma and Texas. The fort was established only one year after the Washita River Battle where George Armstrong Custer had destroyed the village of Black Kettle, killing he and his wife in the process.
|Cadet Henry O. Flipper|
|Brig. Gen.Joshua Sill|
|Indian Territory 1885 (Oklahoma) Courtesy National Archives|
Today, Fort Sill army base is an active military installation where the field artillery is joined by the air defense artillery and electronic warfare branches to create the Fires Center of Excellence. The Fort Sill Fires Center of Excellence trains, develops and educated soldiers and leaders.
Fort Sill is a 21st century modern base which has evolved considerably since General Philip Sheridan first chose this location for his base of operations during the southern plains Red River War. The Fort Sill National Historic Landmark Museum, opened in 1935, is truly a glimpse into the past. It also presents a lot of information about Fort Sill field artillery history. The museum serves both the general public and the military with all aspects of Fort Sill's historic past. The museum is a depository of artifacts, photographs and documents pertaining to Fort Sill's colorful past. More information can be found on the museum's website.
Admission is free and open to the public. Forty-six of the original Fort Sill structures are still in use and in excellent condition. Fort Sill is located in southwest Oklahoma, Comanche county, and next to the city of Lawton. It is about 90 miles southwest of Oklahoma City and about 60 miles north of Witchita Falls Texas just west of Interstate-44.
|Comanche County Oklahoma|
(Photos and images are in the public domain)
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