Fort Sill

Fort Sill, Oklahoma
Lawton, Comanche County, Oklahoma

Shoulder sleeve insignia of units stationed at Fort Sill
Coordinates 34°42′15″N 98°30′30″W / 34.70417°N 98.50833°W / 34.70417; -98.50833Coordinates: 34°42′15″N 98°30′30″W / 34.70417°N 98.50833°W / 34.70417; -98.50833
Type Military post
Site information
Controlled by United States
Site history
Built 1869
In use 1869–present
Garrison information
MG Mark McDonald
Garrison United States Army Field Artillery School
United States Army Air Defense Artillery School
75th Fires Brigade
31st Air Defense Artillery Brigade
Fort Sill, Oklahoma

Old infantry barracks at Fort Sill.
Location Lawton, Oklahoma
Architect US Army
NRHP Reference # 66000629
Designated NHL 19 December 1960[1]

Fort Sill, Oklahoma is a United States Army post north of Lawton, Oklahoma, about 85 miles southwest of Oklahoma City.

Today, Fort Sill remains the only active Army installation of all the forts on the Southern Plains built during the Indian Wars.[2] It is designated as a National Historic Landmark[1] 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, and the 75th 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.[3]


The site of Fort Sill was staked out on 8 January 1869 (factual evidence of actual date needed), 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 of Daniel 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.[4] 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.[5]

Peace policy

Fort Sill

Several months after the establishment of Fort Sill, President Ulysses Grant approved a peace policy placing responsibility for the Southwest tribes under Quaker Indian agents; the first Quaker agent assigned to the Kiowa and Comanche agency was Lawrie Tatum. Fort Sill soldiers were restricted from taking punitive action against the Indians, who interpreted this as a sign of weakness.[6] The Indians resumed raiding the Texas frontier and used Fort Sill as a sanctuary.

In 1871, General of the Army William Tecumseh Sherman arrived at Fort Sill from Fort Richardson, Texas, while on a tour of Army posts throughout the country. Sherman was at Fort Richardson when they became aware of the Warren Wagon Train Raid, in which seven muleskinners were killed by Indians when their wagon train was ambushed. Soon after Sherman arrived at Fort Sill, the Indian Agent brought several Kiowa chiefs to tell their story about attacking the wagon train. When Sherman ordered their arrest during a meeting on Grierson's porch, two of the Indians attempted to assassinate him. In memory of the event, the Commanding General's quarters were dubbed Sherman House.

The Army arrested three chiefs during the porch skirmish: Satank, Satanta and Addo-etta (Big Tree). Sherman ordered them to Texas for a civil trial for the murders. When the three were put into a wagon and taken under cavalry escort to Fort Richardson, Satank began his death song. A mile down the trail, he grabbed the carbine of one of the troopers in the wagon. Before he could cock and fire it, he was hit by several shots fired by the escort. Satank was left against a tree and the column continued on its mission. A marker on Berry Road near the curve marks the spot where Satank, an honored warrior, fell. His grave is in Chiefs Knoll in the post cemetery.

Satanta and Addo-etta were tried by Texas courts on 5 and 6 July, the first time Indians had been tried in civil courts. They were sentenced to death by hanging. Supporters of the Quaker peace policy convinced Governor Edmund J. Davis to commute the Indians' sentences to life imprisonment. Then in October 1873 they were paroled.[7]

Red River War

In June 1874, the Comanches, Kiowas and Southern Cheyennes went to war and the South Plains shook with the hoofbeats of Indian raiders. The resulting Red River War, which lasted a year, was a war of attrition involving relentless pursuit by converging military columns.

Without a chance to graze their livestock and faced with a disappearance of the great buffalo herds, the tribes eventually surrendered. Quanah Parker and his Kwahadi Comanches were the last to abandon the struggle and their arrival at Fort Sill in June 1875, marked the end of Indian warfare on the south Plains.

In 1877, the first African-American to graduate from West Point, Henry O. Flipper, was assigned to the 10th Cavalry Regiment, the famous Buffalo Soldiers at Fort Sill. In addition to his leadership duties in the cavalry, he directed his men to dig a ditch to drain a swamp ... this is still called Flipper's Ditch and a landmark is on Upton Road by the Fort Sill Golf Course.

Unlike other U.S. territories, Indian Territory had no organized government so Army posts like Fort Reno, Fort Supply and Fort Sill found themselves the most significant federal and legal presence in a wide territory. They provided protection to Indians and civilians alike, sometimes dealt as mediators between the Indians and the Indian agents, and protected the various Indian tribes against intrusion by the infamous Sooners.

At one point in the 1880s, the post was nearly deserted when gold was rumored to have been found in the nearby Wichita Mountains and officers and soldiers alike rushed to stake claims.


Geronimo's grave at Fort Sill with Apache prayer clothes in trees.

In 1894, Geronimo and 341 other Chiricahua Apache prisoners of war were brought to Fort Sill, where they lived in villages scattered around the post. After a couple of years, Geronimo was granted permission to travel with Pawnee Bill's Wild West Show and he joined the Indian contingent at several annual World Expositions and Indian Expositions in the 1890s and early 1900s. Geronimo and other Indians leaders rode in the inaugural parade of president Theodore Roosevelt and met the president himself during that trip. Geronimo and the other Apache prisoners had free range of Fort Sill. He was a member of Fort Sill's Native Scouts, but he did make at least one documented attempt to escape the fort, though not in the dramatic fashion of jumping off the steep Medicine Bluffs on his horse in a hail of bullets as popularized in the 1939 movie, Geronimo (which was the inspiration for parachutists of the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment to yell his name when they jumped out of aircraft[8]). Once, after visiting the off-post home of chief Quanah Parker, Geronimo decided to escape to his homeland in Arizona late one night rather than return to Fort Sill. He was captured the next day. He died of pneumonia in 1909 and is buried at Fort Sill.[9]

The rest of the Apaches remained on Fort Sill until 1913. The Chiricahua had been promised the lands surrounding the fort by the US government; however, local non-Indians resisted their settlement. In 1914 two-thirds of the tribe moved onto the Mescalero Apache Reservation and the remaining third settled on allotments around Fletcher and Apache, Oklahoma. They became what is known today as the Fort Sill Apache Tribe. [10]

Lt. Hugh L. Scott commanded Troop L of the 7th Cavalry, a unit consisting entirely of Indians and considered one of the best in the west. Indian scout I-See-O and other members of the troop are credited with helping tribes on the South Plains avert the Bloody Ghost Dance uprising of the 1890s in which many Indians were brutally murdered by the US Army on the North Plains.

The frontier disappears

Next door to the Artillery Museum is a new Artillery Park with artillery pieces from throughout the world.

The last Indian lands in Oklahoma opened for settlement in 1901. 29,000 homesteaders registered at Fort Sill during July for the land lottery. On 6 August the town of Lawton sprang up and quickly grew to become the third largest city in Oklahoma.

With the disappearance of the frontier, the mission of Fort Sill gradually changed from cavalry to field artillery. During the 1890s, the post declined in importance, and was considered for closure, with the land being given to the Chiricahua Apaches, The first artillery battery arrived at Fort Sill in 1902 and the last cavalry regiment departed in May 1907. The artillery units required more facilities, so plans were made to replace the original structures with more modern buildings. However, William H. Taft, then Secretary of War, intervened to save the original buildings. He ordered the fort to expand to the south and west.[3]

The School of Fire for the Field Artillery was founded at Fort Sill in 1911 and continues to operate today as the world-renowned U.S. Army Field Artillery School. At various times Fort Sill has also served as home to the Infantry School of Musketry, the School for Aerial Observers, the Artillery Officers Candidate School (Robinson Barracks), the Air Service Flying School and the Army Aviation School. In 1917, the Henry Post Army Airfield was constructed for artillery observation and spotting.

During World War I, Montgomery M. Macomb, a Brigadier General and career Artillery officer who had retired in 1916, was recalled to active duty to command Fort Sill and oversee the schools and training programs that prepared soldiers for combat in France.[11]

Fort Sill was once the site of a large Boot Hill cemetery. Many soldiers who were killed during the Indian wars were buried there as were multiple outlaws or their victims.[12]

Early Aviation at Fort Sill

Fort Sill also contains the birthplace of US combat aviation, located at the parade field at the Old Post Quadrangle at Fort Sill.

Here, the 1st Aero Squadron, under Captain Benjamin D. Foulois, uncrated their new, unassembled airplanes and put them together in 1915. They then pushed their Curtiss JN-2 planes down hill to the Polo field. On 10 August, they made their first flights.

Unfortunately, the first airplane accident came just two days later, on 12 August 1915. Lt. Rondondo B. Sutton, the pilot, was hospitalized, but his passenger, Captain George H. Knox, the paymaster of Fort Sill, was killed. According to the Lawton Constitution newspaper article, there was a large crowd of civilians at the field to see the aircraft in flight – and were, consequently, there to see the results of the accident. The large crowd of men, women and children were horrified, according to the paper. Soon after, on 5 September, another plane was lost in a second crash, after which Foulois grounded the remaining planes out of concern for safety.

Undaunted, the squadron began trials with the field artillery to see if they could perform reconnaissance of field positions, but the results were disappointing, mostly due to inadequate equipment. New equipment was ordered and by 14 October, operations with the field artillery were resumed. On 22 October, Lt. T.D. Milling made the first two flights to test aerial photography using a Brock camera. On 6 November, the squadron successfully made a photo mosaic of 42 plates.

The squadron left Fort Sill on 19 November on a cross-country trip from which they would not return. They flew six planes to Fort Sam Houston, Texas, a total of 439 miles in a historic cross-country distance flight. The aviators were supported by a trail of supply-laden heavy trucks and their mechanics on motorcycles. The flight arrived on 26 November, without any major incidents delaying them.

The squadron was kept in Texas because of tension along the U.S.-Mexico border. Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa felt betrayed that the U.S. government recognized Venustiano Carranza's Mexican government. Villa began to attack Americans in northern Mexico. On 9 March 1916, Villa's troops attacked Columbus, N.M. and a detachment of the 13th Cavalry. The town was burned and the Americans suffered eighteen soldiers and civilians killed and eight wounded. President Woodrow Wilson ordered Gen. John J. Pershing to lead 4,800 men into Mexico to capture Villa. Villa was never killed but did receive a wound from being shot by one of his own men while being chased by troops under General Pershing. (see: Pershing's diary of the expedition.)

1st Aero Squadron Curtiss JN-3 with red star "fin flash" national insignia

The 1st Aero Squadron was part of that army. They transferred to Casas Grandes in Mexico and began duties flying reconnaissance, delivering mail and dispatches and transporting senior officers, all marked with a a red five-pointed star on their rudders for their American national insignia from March 19, 1916 onwards, as the earliest-known instance of a "national insignia" of any sort used on American military aircraft.[13][14][15] The simple sorts of military-related tasks the early Curtiss biplanes were being used for, were more than their airframes (designed for training, not combat) could handle. They simply didn't have enough power to fly over the mountains of northern Mexico. One rain storm dumped nearly a foot of water into the cockpit of Foulois' craft and flooded out his engine. He successfully managed to land his plane without power. Additionally, every landing in Mexico was carried out in hostile territory. Many pilots found themselves cut off from friendly lines with little more than their wits to rescue them from hostile Mexicans and Mexican officials.

The squadron flew 540 missions in Mexico – averaging 36 miles per mission. After six weeks, they were done. Their airplanes were worn out, and two had crashed. Four others needed parts and were grounded. For weeks afterward, crew members and pilots had blisters from carving new propellers out of logs. On 20 April 1916, the Army ordered the squadron back to Columbus, N.M. Their only real military success was finding a lost and thirsty cavalry column.

The 1st Aero Squadron received new airplanes, but these were hurriedly packed by the factory, were all missing parts and required significant modifications. The squadron did not again take to the field until they deployed to France as part of the American Expeditionary Force in World War I. Today, the 3rd Reconnaissance Squadron of the U.S. Air Forces traces their unit heritage to the 1st Aero Squadron.

Henry Post Army Airfield

In August 1917, Capt. H.R. Eyrich surveyed a new airfield location at Fort Sill and established Henry Post Army Airfield (named after 2nd Lt. Henry Post who was killed in a plane crash in San Diego in 1914). The field occupies a small plateau about a mile south of the main post cantonment area. Construction immediately began on wooden hangars, offices and officer housing. As the U.S. entered World War I, the airfield was used to train aerial observers for the field artillery.

On 29 August 1917 the 3rd Aero Squadron left Fort Sam Houston for Fort Sill with 12 Curtiss R4 airplanes under the command of Capt. Weir. It was redesignated as Squadron A, Post Field, Okla. on 22 July 1918. It was demobilized, due to the end of World War I, on 2 Jan 1919. Today, the 3rd Flying Training Squadron, which traces its lineage to the 3rd Aero Squadron, trains pilots at Vance Air Force Base, Enid, Okla.

The 4th Aero Squadron was also sent to Post Airfield that summer. The 4th operated as an observation school for the field artillery until it was demobilized on 2 Jan 1919. Today, the 394th Combat Training Squadron at Whiteman AFB, Mo., traces its lineage to the 4th Aero Squadron.

A variety of units were created, inactivated, assigned and reassigned as the Army's aviation assets grew. In 1922, Fort Sill was considered the busiest airport in the U.S.

Aviation at Fort Sill added lighter-than-air ships to its inventory when Company A, 1st Balloon Squadron, arrived on 5 September 1917 from the Balloon School in Omaha, Nebraska. The company split to form the 25th and 26th Balloon Companies on 16 February and 2 April 1918. In order to meet the demand for trained aerial observers for field artillery, a Balloon Corps Training School was set up at Post Field in 1918. During World War I, the school trained 751 officers and created 89 companies, of which 33 were deployed to Europe.

The school used balloons and fixed wing aircraft for aerial observation. Both sausage-shaped "captured" balloons and spherical-shaped "free" balloons were used in the 1920s and 30s. The balloonists were trained on free flight on the "free" balloons, but they had to stay within 50 miles of post and 8,000 feet.

The tethered or "captured" balloons were for observation only – connected to winch trucks on the ground by cable and transported at speeds as high as 60 miles an hour. They were inflated with hydrogen and operated at a maximum height of 4,300 feet. They observed and relayed fire-corrective information to special operation trucks.

At this time, balloon companies were a corps-level asset. The Army of World War I included an aero squadron in every corps. Other auxiliary units for a corps were an anti-aircraft machine-gun and anti- aircraft artillery battalion, a remount depot a bakery company, a troop transport train, a telegraph battalion, a field signal battalion, a photo section and a sales commissary unit.

Self-propelled balloons were developed at Post Field in 1937. These balloons were designed to be powered to an observation point, their motors removed and observation baskets were attached. The famous balloon hangar, moved from Moffitt Field to Fort Sill in 1934, was intended to house dirigibles. The unique "cross" on the side of the building has no religious significance – it is part of an air circulation system designed to dry balloon fabric and parachutes.

Balloons were assigned to the field until 1941. The most famous balloon pilot trained at Fort Sill was Gen. Barksdale Hamlett, Jr. This four-star general was the commandant of the American sector of Berlin during the 1958 Berlin Crisis, became the vice chief of staff of the Army, played a key role in the Cuban Missile Crisis and in the escalation of the Vietnam War.

One of the U.S. Air Force's most advanced technical units, the 1st Airborne Command and Control Squadron at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska., traces its lineage through the 1st Balloon Company.

An enduring legacy – Fort Sill aviation

The 44th Aero Squadron was assigned to support the Field Artillery School at Post Field in August 1922. It was reassigned on 31 July 1927 to the Air Corps Training Center. The unit today is not active. It was replaced by the 88th Observation Squadron, which moved from Brooks Field, Texas, to Fort Sill in Sept. 1928. The 88th left Post Field in 1931 and today is known as the 436th Training Squadron out of Dyess AFB, Texas.

In the 1930s the WPA and Army built several new permanent structures to replace the World War I-era tar paper buildings. Building 4908, the aircraft maintenance hangar built in 1932, is the oldest building at the airfield.

Field artillery officers and the Olympics

Fort Sill, Oklahoma and the field artillery branch saw their only Olympic medals awarded in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics.

Lieutenant Richard Mayo The first medal came from a totally unexpected source – a wiry field artillery lieutenant who took part in the pentathlon. In those years for the pentathlon, the competitors completed five different events on consecutive days (horse riding, fencing, pistol shooting, a 200-meter freestyle swim and a 3 kilometer cross-country run). In the pentathlon, competitors are ranked in the order they finish in each event and all their rankings are added to determine the gold medalist. The lower your points, the better. Mayo started well, finishing second in the horse riding phase behind Bo Lindman of Sweden. Lindman was a favorite, as he previously won gold in the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris. The next day, Mayo finished well in fencing as he tied with Elemer Somfay of Hungary at 4 12. Lindman was ranked 2 12 in fencing, so he held onto the lead with just 3 12 points. At the end of phase two, the unheralded Mayo was second with 6 12 points. The shooting results put Mayo in the lead. He finished first and had a total of 7 12 points. Lindman finished 19th, so the Swede now had 21 12 points. Carlo Simonetti of Italy came out of the first three rounds with 17 points. Another Swede, Johan Gabriel Oxenstierna, who finished 14th in fencing, brought himself back into competition by finishing second in the shooting phase. Oxentierna had 20 points. With just two events left, the standings were Mayo-7 1//2, Simonetti-17, Oxentierna-20, Lindman-21 12. Mayo and Simonetti both finished in the pack in the swimming phase – Mayo finished 14 and Simonetti was 15. Meanwhile, the Swedes finished 5 and 9 in the swim and were in striking distance of Mayo’s lead. Mayo was 3 12 points ahead of Oxentierna and four points ahead of Thofelt with just the final run. Charles Percy Digby Legard and Jeffrey McDougall of Great Britain finished one-two in the run, but Lindman finished fourth for a total of 35 12 points. Oxenstierna’s seventh-place finish brought his total points to 32. Meanwhile, Mayo finished 17th and with 38 12 points took the bronze medal. Richard Mayo remained in the Army and made it his career. During World War II, he commanded the 15th Army in combat in France and Germany. Mayo retired in 1956 as a brigadier general[16]

Lieutenant Edwin Argo LOS ANGELES, 11 Aug 1932 – Three members of the U.S. Army equestrian team – Maj. Harry Chamberlin, Capt. Edwin Y. Argo and Lieut Earl T. Thomson -started the Three-Day Event at the 1932 Olympics. The three faced the best military riders of Holland, Sweden, Japan and Mexico. On the first day of the event, all riders faced a training test. The second day was an endurance ride of 22 12 miles over five different courses and the last day was stadium jumping where they rode a course of 12 jumps at a 14-mile per hour gait. Argo, the only field artillery officer in this part of the competition, rode Honolulu Tom Boy in a remarkable performance without a fault at a jump during the stadium jumping—the only rider without a fault that day. The U.S. team led from the start and was described by the 1932 Field Artillery Journal as a “glorious achievement for our riders and horses,” as they took the gold medal in the team competition. In the individual standings, Thomson took the silver for the U.S., Chamberlin finished fourth and Argo eighth. (taken from the Field Artillery Journal, Sept.-Oct. 1932). Note: At that time, Argo was assigned to 1st Field Artillery at Fort Sill, Okla.

World War II to present

By 1940, the Field Artillery School had permission to train its own fixed wing pilots as field artillery spotters. The Army Air Corps turned Post Field over to the FA School and the facility began to swarm with Grasshoppers and Bird Dogs. (single-engine small airplanes) – part of the Department of Air Training. (Cessna L-19/O-1 Bird Dog aircraft were not placed in military inventories until 1950.)

What was originally a five-week course was expanded, and special primary flight schools for prospective field artillery pilots were set up at Pittsburg, Kansas, and Denton, Texas. After attending one of these primary schools, pilots went to Post Field for their advanced training, which included short field procedures and observer training.

By the end of the war, 262 pilots and 2,262 mechanics were trained at Post Field.

In 1942, Fort Sill held approximately 700 Japanese Americans interned by the Department of Justice — mostly non-citizen Issei who had been arrested as spies and fifth columnists, despite a lack of evidence supporting the charges against them.[17] 350 of these internees were transfers from Fort Missoula, Montana. One of them, Kanesaburo Oshima, was killed by a guard when he suffered a mental break and attempted to escape on May 12.[18] In addition to the Japanese American inmates, Fort Sill held German prisoners of war.[19]

Advancements in air defense artillery and radar systems during the Cold War made the slow-moving Grasshoppers and Bird Dogs easy targets – especially in forward areas. Because of this vulnerability, they were phased out during the Vietnam War. During that conflict, 469 O-1 Bird Dogs were lost to all causes. 284 of these were lost by the Army.

The Army Ground Forces Air Training School (later designated the Army Aviation School) was established at Post Field on 7 Dec 1945. In Oct. 1948, pilot training for helicopters H25 and H13 began. The first warrant officer class began in 1951.

The school was transferred to Fort Rucker in 1954, but Post Field still had an assortment of helicopter units that called it home.

In 1963 the 1st Aerial Artillery Group (Provisional) was organized to test equipping CH-34 helicopters with rocket pods attached to each side. The rockets converted a transport aircraft, an easy target in most combat situations, into a sophisticated flying weapon capable of direct or indirect fires. It was the ancestor to the Cheyenne and Long Bow attack helicopters of today.

The 295th Aviation Company. (Heavy Helicopter) was established at Fort Sill in the 60s. The unit was assigned ten Skycrane CH-54A helicopters. The unit also had a UH-1H administrative aircraft and later an OH-58 joined the unit. It was the mother company to the 355th Aviation Company (that deployed to Vietnam in 1968–69) and the 273rd Aviation Company (that deployed to Vietnam 1967–1968.) In Dec. 1969, the unit was deployed to Finthen Army Airfield near Mainz, Germany. Today, the company is designated F Company, 159th Aviation Regiment (Heavy Lift Helicopter Company) and is equipped with CH-47 Chinooks.

Post Field is the oldest continually operating airfield in the U.S. Army.

Historic recognition

Fort Sill was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960.[1] Fort Sill is currently the home to three museums; The Fort Sill National Historic Landmark and Museum, comprising the original frontier fort and the thirty-four historic structures, making it the most complete original Indian Wars era frontier fort in existence. The U.S. Army Field Artillery Museum was opened in 2009 and houses a diverse collection of artillery pieces and related artifacts on exhibit to tell the story of the history of the Field Artillery Branch. The U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery Museum is housed in temporary facilities, having moved from Fort Bliss, TX in 2010. The ADA Museum houses a vast collection of Anti-aircraft and Air Defense Artillery artifacts and exhibits to tell the history and heritage of the Air Defense Branch. All museums are free of charge to the public and open Tuesday to Saturday, 9 am to 5 pm.


There are various cemeteries on Fort Sill, with their own histories and significance.

The most famous is the Post Cemetery, at the intersection of Macomb and Geronimo Roads. Many Indian chiefs who signed the Medicine Lodge treaty came to rest at Fort Sill Post Cemetery. Unlike most cemeteries of its day, it was never segregated. Troopers of the 10th Cavalry Regiment, known as the "Buffalo Soldiers" who died at Fort Sill lie next to these chiefs. Officers, soldiers, spouses and children lie side-by-side regardless of their race or social status.

The most famous person buried at Fort Sill is the Apache warrior known as Geronimo. Geronimo is buried in the Apache Cemetery on East Range. Because his grave is off the beaten path, the route is marked with signs. Others buried at Fort Sill include Kiowa Chief Satanta, and Comanche Chief Quanah Parker.[20]

The most controversial cemetery on post lies under Henry Post Army Airfield. The old Indian Agency Cemetery, which includes both Comanche and white remains, is located just south of the last hangar at the airfield. In the 1950s, in order to reduce the hazard of airplanes or helicopters landing or parking in the area, Army engineers took down all the grave stones and covered the entire area with a four-inch cover of earth. The earliest known still-existing listing of those buried at this cemetery is known as the "1917 Harper's List." For many years, the cemetery sat forgotten by history. In 1984 Towanna Spivey, an archeologist and curator of the Fort Sill National Landmark and Museum, completed a scientific investigation of records and the site. He identified 64 persons buried in that cemetery by name, but another 50 graves were listed as unknown. Out of respect, none of the remains have ever been dug up or disturbed.

Activities today

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")[21]) 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.

Tenant units



Climate is characterized by relatively high temperatures and evenly distributed precipitation throughout the year. The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is "Cfa" (Humid Subtropical Climate).[22]

Climate data for Fort Sill, Oklahoma
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 49.9
Average low °F (°C) 23.7
Average precipitation inches (mm) 1.1
Source #1:
Source #2:[23]


  1. 1 2 3 National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. Fort Sill National Historic Landmark and Museum. "Fort Sill National Historic Landmark and Museum - Home". Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  3. 1 2 Janda, Lance. Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. "Fort Sill." Retrieved December 16, 2013.
  4. Carter, R.G., On the Border with Mackenzie, 1935, Washington D.C.: Enyon Printing Co., p. 48
  5. Carter, R.G., On the Border with Mackenzie, 1935, Washington D.C.: Enyon Printing Co., p. 49
  6. "Carbine and Lance", Nye
  7. "WARREN WAGONTRAIN RAID | The Handbook of Texas Online". Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). 16 February 1927. Retrieved 2013-02-16.
  8. Gerard Devlin: Paratrooper p.70, 1979 St Martins Press
  9. Carbine & Lance: The Story of Old Fort Sill
  10. Clifford P. Coppersmith, "Apache, Fort Sill," Oklahoma Historical Society's Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History & Culture Accessed 1 Feb 2009)
  11. Cullum, George Washington, and Robinson, Wirt (1920). Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U.S. Military Academy. Supplement, VI-A. Saginaw, Michigan: Sherman and Peters. pp. 189–190.
  12. Nye, pg. 243–247
  13. Kershaw, Andrew: The First War Planes, Friend Or Foe, National Aircraft Markings, pages 41–44. BCP Publishing, 1971.
  14. as seen on the 1st Aero Squadron Curtiss JN-3s
  15. "Historic Wings - Flight Stories - Chasing Pancho Villa". HW. March 15, 2013. Retrieved February 21, 2016. Just one day after arriving, on March 16, 1916, the first reconnaissance flight was flown by Capt. Dodd with Capt. Foulois (as an observer) on the Curtiss JN-3 S.C. No. 43. As with all of the Army’s aircraft in that era, the plane carried simple markings — a red star on the tail and the large number 43 painted on the sides of the fuselage.
  16. compiled from the 5 August 1932 Daily Oklahoman, the Field Artillery Journal, Sept.-Oct. 1932, and Wikipedia
  17. Densho Encyclopedia contributors. "Fort Sill (Detention Facility)". Densho Encyclopedia. Densho. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
  18. Kashima, Tetsuden. "Homicide in camp" Densho Encyclopedia. Retrieved 13 Jun 2014.
  19. Burton, J. "Department of Justice and U.S. Army Facilities: Fort Sill, Oklahoma". Confinement and Ethnicity: An Overivew of World War II Japanese American Relocation Sites. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
  20. "QUANAH PARKER WEB SITE". Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  21. "Special Unit Designations". United States Army Center of Military History. 21 April 2010. Retrieved 9 July 2010.
  22. "Fort Sill, Oklahoma Köppen Climate Classification (Weatherbase)". Weatherbase. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  23. "Historical Weather for Fort Sill, Oklahoma, United States".

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