Camp Huachuca was established in 1877. This isolated camp had two missions: 1) Protect settlers and travel routes in SE AZ while 2) blocking Apache escape routes through the San Pedro & Santa Cruz valleys to sanctuary Mexico.
The location was selected in South East AZ because of fresh running water, abundance of trees, excellent observation in three directions and protective high ground for security against Apache tactical methods.
These topographical attributes have made Fort Huachuca a national asset since 1877. To help keep the Fort a national asset the Fort Huachuca 50 was formed in 1987 as a 501 (C) (6) corporation to promote the economic welfare of the Sierra Vista area by supporting the continuing development of Fort Huachuca.
The Fort is situated in what is described as a high altitude bowl. Surrounded by mountains (Mules, Dragoons, Mustangs, Whetstones and Huachucas) that prevent electronic magnetic emissions from escaping or penetrating into the area. The result is a pristine electromagnetic (EM) environment providing the perfect spot to conduct electronic testing.
Located far enough south away from commercial air routes, the Fort has a large block of restricted airspace (624 sq. miles) which enables both manned and unmanned aviation operations to occur.
The Fort’s gems of airspace and pristine EM environment have influenced the type of missions on the fort. Major tenant units are:
- Intelligence Center of Excellence – UAS training, Military Intelligence training, Advanced Joint Human Intelligence (HUMINT) training, requirements development for future Military Intelligence capabilities, doctrine development and Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Culture Center.
- Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM)- connectivity of all Army units worldwide and cyber protection for all DoD networks in the US.
- Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC) and Electronic Proving Ground (EPG) – conducts three levels of testing required by DoD for all battlefield electronics. EPG does all Army Developmental and Operational testing, while JITC does Joint Interoperability testing for all branches of the military.
- Custom and Border Patrol-UAS Operations
It is the airspace and Libby Army Air Field that brings other Services and Fort Huachuca together. Fort Huachuca has 964 Square miles of Restricted Airspace and an unmanned flight corridor to White Sands Missile Range (WSMR). Another flight corridor is planned to go to the Goldwater Range. Underneath the restricted airspace is Libby Army Airfield that continues to be the best in the business at controlling civilian and military manned and unmanned aircraft. It is the fifth busiest Army Air Field in the US.
Many units use LAAF and it’s airspace daily. These include the 162nd Fighter Wing (F-16) AZANG from Tucson International Airport, the 355th Fighter Wing (A-10) from Davis Monthan AFB, the Missouri ANG (C-130) and non-military entities such as the US Border Patrol and the US Forest Service.
It is abundantly clear that Fort Huachuca is a vital and irreplaceable national military asset. Missions on the Fort have changed over the years but the basic ones are still the same. We are protecting American Citizens by training Soldiers, Airmen and Marines, testing communications devices from all services and allowing pilots from other services and nations to train in our unique environment.
Strong partnerships with Sierra Vista, Cochise County, Arizona Congressional leaders, and organizations like Southern Arizona Defense Alliance, Davis Monthan 50, and Yuma 50 have been instrumental to Fort Huachuca’s continuing viability. A copy of the most recent Fort briefing with more detail can be found here.