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Ft Jackson Army Post Review

Your Name (if you would like it to appear):

Lea F.

Base Name: Fort Jackson

Base Location:  Columbia, SC

How long have you been here? (give years please, ex. 2003-present) 2006-present

What is housing like? On-post? (Waiting list, conditions, etc.) Off-post? Any areas to stay away from? Average price to rent or buy?  Not sure about on post housing, I was told it was pretty decent from a couple of friends.  99 officer family units and 1,161 enlisted family units.   I currently live off post and I really like the area.  There are LOTS of new housing developments in the Northeast part of Columbia (highly favored by military families).  I really like living on the Northeast about 15 minutes from base. Average home prices range from $100-250,000.  Rent can range from $600-2000. They do have temp lodging with 834 units.

Rate the PX & Commissary.  The PX is large with a wide variety of items often busy on Weekends (graduation & family day).  Commissary is a pretty good size not as nice the air force commissary.  Very busy at the beginning and end of the month of course but a fairly good selection and fast checkout.

Activities on base?  Base always has activities for families, couples, and single soldiers.  They have free classes for spouses such as tax prep classes sponsored by HR & Block, active and foreign language, and employment readiness. The base has lots of interest groups and clubs that usually meet monthly or weekly.

Active Spouses Club?  I know there is some type of organization; I’m not able to participate because of my work schedule.

Things to do in area?  Columbia is in the middle of the state (the capital) which is very ideal because you have Charleston about 1.5-2 hours away.  Quick travel to beaches or mountains in North Carolina.  Columbia has 2 malls, several strip malls, very live downtown with southern cooking, live music, museums, University of South Carolina (football).  Several colleges and universities in the area that work really well with the military families and personnel.  Columbia is very family friendly with lots of museums, parks, and the Riverbank Zoo.   Columbia has several clubs, jazz cafes, lounges, and bars and a comedy house that features comedians from all over & celebrities.  Several theaters,  movies, and natural parks.

School System?  On Post-3 elementary schools and several on post home schools.  Off post you have Richland school district 1 & 2.  I highly recommend 2 one of the richest districts in the state. I use to be a therapist for the district.  Childcare on post-two centers and several approved homes on and off post.

Healthcare?  435-Moncrief Army Community Hospital with Urgent Care. Long lines for urgent care because of soldiers from basic training. Not worth the wait time.  Medical services pretty adequate just expect to wait at the pharmacy.  You can get refills filled at the PX one new addition to help out.  The staff is okay, I have medical care off post since I have a chronic illness but it was very easy to coordinate with Tricare.

Any colleges in area?  University of  South Carolina, Benedict College and Allen University-Historically black colleges, Columbia College-liberal arts college for women, Columbia International University-evangelical Bible college, South University, Strayer University, Webster University, and University of Phoenix-Columbia, and Midlands Technical College.

Jobs? (on post and off)  Not sure but I see lots of civilian employees on base.  Great job market off post in the areas of healthcare, administrative, business, banking, telecommunication, construction, education, and retail.

Favorite aspect of this base/surrounding city?  The location of the city as far as short vacations.  I really like the city not a metro area but pretty big with several colleges, hospitals and great shopping.  The base is pretty large with lots of activities. I wish I had the time to participate more.

Least favorite aspect?   Traffic on base on graduation and family day or when the President decides to attend graduation.

Local websites? (base, chamber, newspaper, schools, etc.)  www.jackson.army.mil post, www.thestate.com newspaper, www.richland2.org or  www.richlandone.org, www.richlandonline.com Richland county,www.wistv.com news station.

Weather?  5 seasons:  Glorious fall, mercifully short winter, gorgeous spring, sweet early summer, and 3-6 weeks you’ll think you live in Hades.

Any other tips?  Most people are very friendly.  Just relax and enjoy the southern culture. Make sure to visit downtown and try some southern cuisine.

About the author: This article was contributed by a visitor to the site. If you would like to contribute to the site as well, please email me.

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Teri February 11, 2012, 3:46 pm

    I am currently looking up information on Fort Benning, GA and ran across Fort Jackson and was curious of what the reviews were like. I dont feel that this is really “how it is” at Jackson what so ever. It was the worst experience of my Army life being at this post and for my husband’s career. There are NO FRG’s or anything aimed for the families. This post is about training the soldiers and that is about it. They dont have a hospital for the wives or families. We had a walk in clinic that would give us our normal paps, check ups or sick children. We had to share it with the basic training soldiers and the wait was hours! They did not have an ER so we would have to go off post for that. When I became pregnant, I had to go off post because they did not have a OBGYN on post. Also, the housing was gross. They looked ran down and dirty. I am surprised if there was even lawn care. The commissary was very small and packed, I had to pray for patience when I went into this place. After a few months, I started going to Kroger. The weather was always hot and humid. I became a hermit because when you went outside, it was hard to even breathe. The schools were horrible, my child was bullied for simply “being white” and we had to move because it was so bad. Stay away from Hopkins, I recommend the Sandhills area, we moved into the Keswick town homes and they were amazing. Polo Road school is were you want your child for a good education and fair treatment. Please send me a review to fill out and I will give you accurate info. BTW, I have been an Army wife for 9 years and have been to 3 duty stations going to my 4th, so I have seen many different posts being a wife. STAY AWAY FROM JACKSON!

  • Heather June 4, 2012, 6:28 pm

    Was at Ft. Jackson from 2007-2012. Teri, you hit the nail right on the head. AVOID THIS HELL HOLE AT ALL COSTS!!! I feel the need to add that there is a high divorce rate on this post. I became part of that unfortunate, ongoing statistic. EVRYTHING is about the private in training. It will be the soldier’s job to bend over backwards to accommodate the basic trainee or AIT soldier. HUGE lack of support for families. I won’t go into details of the nightmare life that I lived on this post, but I can honestly say that having been a soldier and a spouse, this is the absolute worse place I have EVER seen in the army! Very corrupt infrastructure! Not to say that everyone who moves here gets a bad shake, but those families are very far and few in between. – And half of them are model families who manage to dodge most of the unpleasantries that Jackson has to offer, or they are the kind of families that are willing to step on and use others to gain their success while there. Those 2 groups are usually the ones who will tell you they had a great tour there. Be very careful whom you talk to and what you say. Be especially selective when living in housing here as well. WATCH YOUR BACK!!! Tons more to add, could probably write a book. Had a pretty good time while on Benning though from 1993-2004. Not too much to do, but the post climate is quite a bit different. Don’t get me wrong, it has its flaws like anywhere else and I had my share of unhealthy experiences there, but I would chalk that up to typical Army experiences. Not Jackson. I cringe when I hear that name and I pray I will never have the misfortune of ever returning there again! Sorry, wish I had something better to say about the place.

  • Gina August 23, 2012, 7:42 pm

    My expierence is not all what you described at this post. I am a veteran Army wife, been one for 15 years. This is our 9th duty station. I can honestly say I have been o far worse places. We live off post in a nice neighborhood and I hardly ever go on post. Teri commented that she stopped going to the commissary because of long lines, personally I have never encountered this. Then again I only go there if I am already on post and need to grab something. I do all my shopping off post, I did a priced it and off post is just as costly as on post to do shopping. Heather, my husband is by no means an a** kisser, nor does he only think of himself and leave other’s in the dirt. With that being said, my husband’s chain of command is a good one. My husband is also not on Drill duty here, so maybe that is why. Both of you say that you have been Army wives for so long, then as an Army wife you should agree that just because you had a bad expierence or you did not like a place does not mean someone’s else’s expierence will be that bad. For example, when we got an assignment to Fort Lewis WA I heard horror stories after horror stories about how it rained all the time and it was a horrible place. I loved it there! It did rain more than in other places that some of us are use to but it wasn’t as bad as people made it out to seem. Teri you said that you had to go off post when you were pregnant, honestly I would rather go off post to a civilian doctor than a military one. Matter of fact when I first got to jackson I asked if I could be seen off post and I was told NO, the only way I could is if I needed speciality treatment and Jackson could not provide it. As for the weather, I am not sure where you are from but a lot of places are hot and humid in the summer. Overall, I am not sure why you were so negative about this post. It seems the gripes you do have are very minor ones that could happen anywhere and DO happen at other post’s. Honestly before we got here, I only heard one person say they didn’t like it here out of the 30 others that I spoke with. Now, with you guys it makes 3. I stay away from the bad side of town, everything I need is in my area. I do agree that the northeast side of town is one of the nicest with lots of military who reside there.

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