Fort Chaffee

Fort Chaffee is a 100-square-mile rural installation used as a training base for the National Guard and reserve forces. It was home to the Army's Joint Readiness Training Center until 1991, when the Center was moved to Fort Polk, Louisiana, following Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) recommendations. Built in 1941, this 72,000-acre military base was the training site for thousands of troops heading overseas during World War II, and in 1958 Elvis Presley was inducted into the U.S. Army and began basic training here. In the 1970's and 1980's, it served as a temporary holding facility for Vietnamese and Cuban refugees. In 1995, the BRAC Commission recommended that all of Fort Chaffee be closed, except for those facilities necessary to train National Guard and reserve units. The federal government opted to give 7,192 acres of the former base to the state of Arkansas, while the remaining 66,000 acres were ceded to the Arkansas National Guard. Redevelopment of the civilian acreage is being overseen by the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Agency, and has resulted in a residential, commercial, and industrial project known as Chaffee Crossing.