Fort Rucker Mural

SIZE
65' Long by 17' High

COMPLETION DATE
January 1999

ARTIST NAME
Wes Hardin

TALKING POINTS

  • Fort Rucker is economically the most significant industry in the Wiregrass: it contributes more than one billion dollars a year to this area.
  • In the 1930’s, the Wiregrass region was devastated by the Great Depression and the Boll Weevil Depression.
  • To try to help the region, at the urging of Congressman Henry Steagall and farm agent Doug Thompson, the federal government approved turning about 35,000 acres of land, that is now Fort Rucker, into a recreational area, including a lake, picnic areas, and a game refuge.
  • On July 16, 1941, the electrifying announcement was made that the land had been chosen as the training site for 30,000 infantrymen, and by January 1942, construction began on what was soon called Camp Rucker, named after a Confederate War General.
  • Camp Rucker’s mission was to train soldiers in the use of heavy weapons, to train pilots to fly small reconnaissance and artillery spotting planes, and to train nurses for overseas duty.
  • In 1954, the first helicopters arrived at the Camp, and on October 26, 1955, the Department of the Army made the announcement that Camp Rucker’s designation had changed to Fort Rucker. It is now a permanent installation.
  • The helicopter in this mural is an Apache Longbow.

Fort Rucker is economically the most significant industry in the Wiregrass: it contributes more than one billion dollars a year to this area. To appreciate this, one needs to go back to its beginning and understand how the Fort was started.

In the 1930s, the Wiregrass region was hit by two depressions: the Great Depression that swept the nation; and the Boll Weevil Depression, caused by the tiny insect that devastated the area’s chief product and main source of income – cotton. With the cotton crop cut in half by the boll weevil, the people in this area, who were already existing on very limited income, had nowhere to turn. There were no manufacturing jobs available – nothing.

To try to help the region, at the urging of Congressman Henry Steagall and farm agent Doug Thompson, the federal government approved turning about 35,000 acres of land, that is now Fort Rucker, into a recreational area, including a lake, picnic areas, and a game refuge. Men were hired to build Lake Tholocco, plant trees, and do other things necessary to change the land into a park.

On July 16, 1941, the electrifying announcement was made that the land had been chosen as the training site for 30,000 infantrymen! The U.S. was attacked by the Japanese on December 7, 1941 and by January 1942, construction on what was soon called Camp Rucker began, named after a Confederate War General. By the first of May, a military installation had been built to house and take care of 30,000 infantrymen, support staff, support facilities, and training fields.

Camp Rucker’s mission was to train soldiers in the use of heavy weapons, to train pilots to fly small reconnaissance and artillery spotting planes, and to train nurses for overseas duty. The men and women trained at Camp Rucker did their jobs well during WWII, and in all subsequent engagements. They have won great respect for our country around the world.

In 1954, the first helicopters arrived at the Camp, and on October 26, 1955, the Department of the Army made the announcement that Camp Rucker’s designation had changed to Fort Rucker. It is now a permanent installation. The helicopter in this mural is an Apache Longbow.