Fort Drum, previously Camp Drum, was named after Lt. General Hugh A. Drum. Then Colonel, Drum served in WWI as assistant Chief of Staff to General Pershing. In the inter-war period he served as commander of the 1st ID, Inspector General of the Army, and director of training at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He fought against the Air Corps becoming its own branch (and won). He also served as deputy to the Chief of Staff, MacArthur, commanded the US Army in the Pacific Department, and took command of the reactivated 1st Army and Second Corps Area. He was passed over in favor of George Marshall for Chief of Staff. During WWII, he commanded the Eastern Defense Command. He was forced to retire in 1943 and then commanded the New York Guard from 1943-1945.
The location which Fort Drum now sits has been used as a training site for many years, dating back to the 1800s. The camp was originally called Pine Camp during WWII and was used as a training site for 3 US divisions: the 4th Armored division, 5th Armored Division, and the 45th Infantry Division.
With the outbreak of World War Two, Pine Camp was selected for a major expansion and an additional 75,000 acres of land was purchased. With that purchase, 525 local families were displaced. Five entire villages (including: LeRaysville, Lewisburg, Sterlingville, Woods Mills) were eliminated, while others were reduced from one-third to one-half their size. By Labor Day 1941, 100 tracts of land were taken over. Three thousand buildings, including 24 schools, 6 churches and a post office were abandoned.
Contractors then went to work, and in a period of 10 months at a cost of $20 million, an entire city was built to house the divisions scheduled to train here. Eight hundred buildings were constructed; 240 barracks, 84 mess halls, 86 storehouses, 58 warehouses, 27 officers' quarters, 22 headquarters buildings, and 99 recreational buildings as well as guardhouses and a hospital.
Pine Camp circa 1930
Pine Camp was renamed Camp Drum in 1951. In 1974 it was renamed Fort Drum. The 10th Mountain Division first occupied the base in 1984 when it was activated. Fort Drum sits on 25.4 square miles in upstate New York and as some veterans allege, must look like a bullseye from the air (it does, a bit).