FORT JACKSON -- The Fort Jackson commander invites people from the community to learn more about the post, how basic training is conducted and to meet soldiers on a tour Sept. 12.

Columbia was recently named one of five Great American Defense Communities in the country. Fort Jackson Commander Brig. Gen. Milford H. Beagle Jr. thanked the Columbia community for the well-deserved recognition. "Without you, we cannot provide the great national service that we do at Fort Jackson so congratulations...We work together, we live together and therefore, we succeed together."

As Beagle continues to meet people in the community, he finds many citizens who have never been on post, even if they have lived in South Carolina their whole life. This tour is an opportunity to change that and to promote basic combat training awareness.

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The Come Meet Your Army tour gives local citizens an opportunity to see and experience how soldiers train and provide insight into the day-to-day operations. During the tour, visitors will attend a basic training graduation ceremony, watch trainee negotiate an obstacle course, learn how fire using a simulated rifle, eat lunch in a military dining facility and visit where trainees live.

The tour is open to people ages 13 or older but youth 13-16 years old must be accompanied by an adult. Guests should be prepared for indoor and outdoor activities which may include squatting, kneeling, lying on the floor, and walking on uneven terrain. We recommend wearing long pants and close-toes, comfortable shoes.

The tour begins at 7 a.m. and ends at 3: 30 p.m. Lunch cost is $5.60 per person and the facility only accepts cash. Please plan to arrive at Gate 4 no later than 6:45 a.m. and bring a valid ID for access to Fort Jackson. To register or find more information, call Fort Jackson Community Relations at 803-751-1472. The deadline to sign up is Sept. 10.

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