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A list of organizations at Fort Belvoir reads like a "Who's Who" in the Department of Defense. No other Army installation in the world can compare with out diverse, modern-day mission of providing logistical and administrative support to over 120 diverse tenant and satellite organizations. Fort Belvoir is home to Army major command headquarters, units and agencies of nine different Army major commands, 16 different agencies of the Department of the Army, eight elements of the U.S. Army Reserve and Army National Guard and nine DoD agencies. Also located here are a U.S. Navy construction battalion, a Marine Corps detachment, one U.S. Air Force unit and an agency of the Department of Treasury. Fort Belvoir gained the headquarters for the Defense Logistic Agency, Defense Technical Information Service, Defense Contract Audit Agency, Defense National Stockpile Center and the Defense Fuel Supply Center. All these agencies play important roles in Fort Belvoir's global mission to provide worldwide logistical and administrative support to all the armed services.
Fort Belvoir's history is interwoven with the birth of our nation, as well as the founding of Fairfax County, Va. Like most land in colonial America, the 8,656-acre tract along the Potomac River that is now Fort Belvoir was part of a grant from a 17th-century English king. The land was handed down through the Culpepper family to Thomas, the sixth Lord Fairfax, who, in 1734 persuaded his cousin, Col. William Fairfax, to come to Virginia and oversee the family's holdings. In 1741, Col. Fairfax built his home on 2,000 acres of what is now much of the South Post peninsula. The mansion sat on a high bluff overlooking the Potomac. Col. Fairfax named the estate Belvoir, which means "beautiful to see." One of Col. Fairfax's sons, George William, was friendly with young George Washington, who, at age 16, came to live with his half-brother at nearby Mount Vernon. George William and his wife, Sally Cary, made Belvoir a center of culture and aristocratic elegance in the Virginia wilderness, and they frequently entertained the wealthy landowners from the nearby plantations. Washington was a frequent guest at Belvoir. Col. Fairfax died in 1757, and he and his second wife, Deborah, are buried on the estate grounds. George William and Sally returned to England in 1773, and Belvoir was rented until 1783, when it was mostly destroyed by cannon fire in the War of 1812. The estate remained in private hands, though largely uninhabited, until 1910, when the District of Columbia purchased 1,500 acres for a proposed prison. Local citizens objected to the plan, and the land was transferred to the War Department in 1912.
In 1915, engineer troops from Washington Barracks, now Fort McNair, established Camp Belvoir as a rifle range and training camp. The name was changed to Camp A.A. Humphreys in 1917 when a major camp was constructed during an unusually bitter winter to train engineer replacements for World War I. The post was renamed Fort Humphreys in 1922 to indicate its permanent status, and became Fort Belvoir in 1935.
In 1988, the post was transferred from the Training and Doctrine Command to the Military District of Washington. In 1989, the last Engineer School class graduated from Belvoir and the school completed its move to its new home at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. Today, the mission of the post is to provide essential administrative support to assigned and tenant organizations.
The post continues to grow as Army and other DoD activities relocate to Belvoir because of base realignment and closure actions, and others leave leased facilities in the region. A number of improvements are under consideration to accommodate the expected growth at Fort Belvoir. These include the construction of additional recreational, community support and base operations facilities. Several on-post road improvements are also underway. In the face of this development, Fort Belvoir approved a landmark plan to protect wildlife habitat on the post, adding 600 acres to the post's already 1,450 acres of forest, wetlands and shoreline that have been set aside for wildlife refuge.
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