Fort Carson

Fort Carson

Fort Carson was established in 1942, following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. The city of Colorado Springs, Colorado purchased land south of the city and donated it to the War Department. Construction began immediately and the first building, the camp headquarters, was completed January 31, 1942. Camp Carson was named in honor of the legendary Army scout, General Christopher “Kit” Carson, who explored much of the West in the 1800s.

Fort Carson is a United States Army installation located near Colorado Springs, primarily in El Paso County, Colorado. It is 40 miles north of Pueblo, Colorado in Pueblo County. The 137,000-acre installation extends south into Pueblo and Fremont counties. The portion of the installation located within El Paso County forms a census-designated place (CDP), which had a population of 13,813 at the 2010 census.  Fort Carson is the home of the 4th Infantry Division, the 10th Special Forces Group, the 71st Ordnance Group (EOD), the 4th Engineer Battalion, the 759th Military Police Battalion, the 10th Combat Support Hospital, the 43rd Sustainment Brigade, and the 13th Air Support Operations Squadron of the United States Air Force. The post also hosts units of the Army Reserve, Navy Reserve and the Colorado Army National Guard.

If there is one place you would want to be stationed it would be Fort Carson.  It is a great base and the housing for officers and married NCOs is first rate.  Colorado Springs is an amazing city and the gateway to Pikes Peak.

I decided to drive my car to Fort Carson.  I went up through Las Vegas, NV and stopped in Provo, Utah the first night.  The next day I drove through Salt Lake City and then into Denver, Colorado where I spent the night at the Brown Palace Hotel.  The hotel was built by the “Unsinkable Molly Brown” who survived the sinking of the Titanic on April 15, 1912.

I was now almost broke and since I could always get a bed and food at an Army Post I decided to drive down to Colorado Springs and report a day early.  I pulled up to the front gate and showed my orders and was directed to the Replacement Station.  I signed in and handed my records and orders to the clerk at the desk and went to my assigned barracks. The next morning we attending a meeting and were told we would only be there for two days until we got our orders.

At that time Fort Carson was the home of the 5th Infantry Division (Mechanized).  My original orders were for assignment to the 2nd Bn 10th Infantry.  Now, ask yourself this…Why would a Combat Soldier returning from Vietnam want to be assigned to an infantry unit? 

The next day I received a visitor from the 5th Admin Group.  He wanted to offer me a job with the Personnel Section.  The job would be to stay at the Reception Station and record information from the 201 Files of each soldier reporting in to a personnel assignment form.  The reason they were talking to me was that the current personnel clerk was leaving the Army and they were looking for his replacement and that first preference was to an 11Bravo MOS returning from Vietnam that had decent test scores.  The bad part of the job was that I reported to work at 11PM Sunday through Thursday and worked until I was completed.  It took me about one second to accept the job.  I was assigned to the 5th Admin Co Inprocessing with a MOS 71H20 Personnel Specialist.  Not bad for an 11Bravo grunt.

I was assigned my own room in the replacement barracks and did not have to pull any duty or clean the latrines or barracks.  That was all done by our transient guests. Most nights I only worked 3-4 hours.  The cook always had something for me to snack on and hot coffee.  After work I went to the barracks and slept until I wanted to get up.  I was able to do almost anything during the day and early evening until reporting for work at 11PM.  Sunday nights were the worst since no assignment forms were completed on Friday or Saturday.

There were two sets of bunk beds in my room and most times I was by myself unless someone came in for a TDY assignment.  I do remember one time there was an inspection of the barracks and when the first sergeant came in my room and found me sleeping he pulled me out of my rack.  The Lieutenant quickly explained to him that I was permanent party and worked nights.  That seemed to satisfy the first sergeant and I was left alone after that.

Being on the eastern slope of the Rockies and with an elevation above 6,000 feet it snows and becomes very cold. It started snowing in late October of that year.  On Thanksgiving Day a couple of us went skiing west of Denver.  I had only been skiing a few times before and did just terrible.  Driving back to Colorado Springs I decided to take ski lessons at the Broadmoor Ski Resort which was only a few miles from Fort Carson.

The resort had a lighted ski slope and you could take lessons either day or night.  I took the early evening group lessons. After a while I skied almost every night at the Broadmoor and on the weekends went to many of the other ski areas in Colorado.

One of the buddies I met was transferred to Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Denver which is only about 60 miles north of Colorado Springs.  He had us come visit him and we would stay in an unoccupied ward for the night.  We did this several times until one time we were rousted by some MP or security guard and that ended our free stays.

So between skiing and not pulling any duty my last five and one-half months in the Army – life was good. I was officially released by the Army on January 31, 1969.  I stayed in Colorado for several weeks and skied in both Aspen and Vail.  Then I returned to Colorado Springs to say goodbyes to some friends and the next morning drove more than 1,150 miles, in about 19 hours, straight through to home in California headed for civilian life.

NEXT – Civilian Life

35 thoughts on “Fort Carson

  1. I also was at Ft. Carson 5th Admin from Aug 1969-Dec 1970 MOS 71H20 worked in several different area’s but started in what if I recall was called Team 7


  2. Fort Carson 1966. Charlie Company 1st Battalion 10th Infantry(Mechanized) 5th Army. First day of duty at Fort Carson, low was 8 degrees. California boy. Burrr!

  3. I was at fort carson from sept 23rd 1969 to January 27th 1970 early out for school.i was in bravo company 2/10th inf of the 5th mech inf that was one cold ass winter it was freezing with snow everywhere……all we did was go out in the boonies and play war games in our m-113 tracks….we were all 11-bravos just back from vietnam…..just what we wanted to do play war games….could not wait to get back home to Southern California back to the surf and sun…….lorne …

  4. Yes, I recall the winters well. Flew in to Ent AFB from Fort Bliss, Texas (my first duty station after induction). in February 1966. I looked out the window of the plane and there was snow everywhere. None of us knew where we were headed. Bused in to Fort Carson with the smell of oil burner heating. Will never forget that smell. Pulled out of bed the next morning at 5:30 am to see 2 foot icicles hanging off the roof and 23 degrees outside. For a California boy, this was not good. Company C, 1st btn,10th inf Mech of the 5th Army.

  5. I was stationed in ft carson from june 74 through march 77 my last 8 months I was in 1/10 infantry on the far south end of the post. I have diabetes type 2, glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and respiratory issues. I am fighting a claim for service connection of herbicide exposure. I’ve contended that the Ivy league was front line defense in vietnam from 66-70 or 72 and up on the return stateside a lot of the equipment brought back was never decontaminated and to make matters worst to find out that the base in colorado was used for training ground on spraying agent orange. I noticed that the members of the Air Force were granted their claims after it was ordered that the c123 be tested for residue. the results were positive and was found eight years after said planes were used locally. I was located at Ft. Carson during the vietnam campaign and were a certain crew had four of the issues pertaining to a/o I have nine. It would be interesting to know of the men and women that served during my time if they have issues relating to a/o. Thank you

    • Hello Guy,

      My cousin is suffering from some of the same ailments. He was at Fort Carson until the end of 1972.
      Can you tell us what contaminated equipment was brought back from Vietnam, and what kind of training was done on spraying?

      Thank You. Terri

      • I was at fort carson from about august of 1964 to 1966,,,agent orange on equipement ? ,and was the fort
        sprayed to kill grass etc… va need infor. for med…what other chemicals ?

    • Hubby and I were at Ft. Carson early Jan. 1966 through Nov. 1967. The foliage was sprayed with something and he was often required to police the areas without masks and bare handed. He has suffered severe muscle pain beginning shortly after our return. Now, soft tissue sarcoma. Many of his buddies suffer cancer like diseases including lupus, We are applying for disability related to exposure to chemicals and artillery causing hearing loss and tinnitus. I heard an MP won his case regarding agent orange exposure at that location. Do you have any helpful information? Thanks for your help.

    • My husband was stationed at Ft.Carson from early 1966 to late 1967. He is now being tested for soft cell sarcoma…one of the presumptive conditions. We suspect that he was exposed when he was required to police areas after they were sprayed. Of course, he may have touched contaminated equipment. Do you have more info on the a/o spray tests?

  6. Well, I am borderline diabetic, and have COPD. None of which came from any contact with Agent Orange. I was not in Vietnam and was out of FC before any planes or equipment came back to the states that may have been used in the AO campaign. My problems, including my plugged arteries, stem mostly from a lifetime of improper eating, and having inherited a low immune system. Millions upon millions of people have cataracts. Sorry to hear about your issues but I doubt AO had anything to do with them. Cut the bread, sugar, and carbs in general, eat the paleo diet and enjoy.

    • I just saw your post 14 months later. I was at Carson in 3rd platoon C 3/77 from 6/68 to 1/69 when I was shipped to Nam. Oddly enough, I landed in 3rd platoon C 1/77 over there.

  7. 5th INF BN MAINT 70TH ARMOR was there till the 4th came back 1970 to 1971, went to KOREA and back to ft CARSON 1st BN 10th INF BN MAINT SP/5 RECOVERY M578. went to Germany and then to KOREA again. back to FT Carson 1979

  8. Was there from May 1969-may1971 in motor pool as a mechanic drove the vtr vehicle track retriever…spent 1 year in the field chasing jack rabbits and driving Vietnam nam returnees to ft Simmons…dealt with Jane Fonda at front gate…war was hell lol

    • My biological father was stationed at Carson in the latter part of 1970 and was dating a young mexican girl named Mary. He left her when she got pregnant with me and I have never met him to this day. His first name is John. That is all my Mom would tell me about him. I know it isnt much but you never know. I am hoping maybe you might remember someone like this. Thanks.

  9. Does anyone have documentation to support claim that Ft. Carson was used as a training ground for herbicidal sprays including agent orange?

  10. I was stationed at Fort Carson from December 1965 to July 1967 and I am trying to remember who the Post Commanding General was for that period of time, if anyone remembers please let me know. The only thing I remember is that on bivouac that we were exposed to tear gas at least that is what I thought it was. We had to carry our gas masks and use them.

  11. I am searching for my father. Here is what I know: was stationed Colorado in 1969, was Sgt or Staff Sgt, Navajo or Indiana heritage. Name I was told is Jim McLean. He had a sister named Gene, Jean (not sure on spelling). Mother and father never married. I have a photo if anyone can help. Also where could I look at photographs of enlisted during this time frame?

  12. At Ft. Carson during the last 4 months of my active duty commitment.

    Took Recondo Training there. Any Challenge Coins from that group?

  13. Sorry, forgot to include year

    At Ft. Carson during the last 4 months of my active duty commitment. 1969

    Took Recondo Training there. Any Challenge Coins from that group?

  14. At Fort Carson from October ’66 to October ’68. Basic, AIT and the 5th Admin Company Machine Branch (Data Processing Unit). Sgt. E5. ETS 10/17/68.

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