Fort Carson, CO HistoryFort Carson was established in 1942 as Camp Carson in the months after the US entry into World War II. It was named after a frontiersman, trapper, Indian fighter, and general, "Kit" Carson. During WWII, Fort Carson was a training center for about 125 units, most famously the 10th Mountain Division. Carson also trained all sorts of other personnel, including cooks, nurses, tank battalions, and Greek infantry and Italian ordnance units.
Fort Carson, just south of Colorado Springs, made an ideal location for training mountain units for deployment to the European Alps or other mountainous areas. The demands of such terrain required Fort Carson to maintain the last mule trains in the US Army. From Fort opening to 1956, mule teams packed gear for Army mountain units; the senior mule, Hambone, served as mount for First Sergeants for thirteen years, survived until 1971, and was buried with full military honors.
On the first day of 1943, Camp Carson opened a POW camp for about 9,000 German, Italian prisoners. The POWs worked to relieve a manpower shortage in Colorado, farming and canning and generally providing labor, for a low but real wage.
Camp Carson became a fort in 1954, expanded its base land considerably in the 1950s and 1960s, and became home to armor units; today Fort Carson is home to the 10th Special Forces Group, 4th Infantry Division, and a large and varied collection of other and tenant units.