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Fort Bliss Military Base

FORT BLISS MILITARY BASE 1

FortBliss Military Base

Fort Bliss was founded in 1848 to provide protection for the newborder1.The military base is considered as the best center for home stationtraining. Some of the outstanding focus areas include digital ranges,medical support, mission training, simulations, aviation combinedarms tactics, engagement skills, and close combat tactics2.Fort Bliss played a vital role in the development of El Paso’seconomy. The military base is the region’s single largest employer.Fort Bliss contributes billions to Texas’s economy and millions toEl Paso’s economy.

Beginnings

The end of the Mexican War created an urgent need to maintain law andorder in the country. The government was also compelled to safeguardthe new border from external attacks3.Furthermore, Native Americans launched customary attacks onCalifornia-bound emigrants. In many instances, settlers were alsotargeted in such raids. Moreover, the authorities needed to completea significant road survey4.In particular, it was necessary to establish a transcontinentalrailroad to facilitate trade between various states5.Consequently, the U.S. government set up a military post in theregion of El Paso del Norte. In particular, the establishment wasbased on the Rio Grande. Moreover, the War Department commanded theThird Infantry to occupy the pass on November 7, 18486.In this regard, Bvt. Maj. Jefferson van Horne directed an army of 257troops to move west of San Antonio7.Some of the soldiers included a howitzer battery, several infantrycompanies, and other regimental staff.

PreviousLocations of Military Base

In 1868, intense flooding damaged the Magoffinsville post andnecessitated drastic changes. In particular, the military base wasmoved to Camp Concordia8.This location was also abandoned due to poor sanitation. Heatingfacilities and water sources were also scarce such that some soldierssuffered from dysentery and malaria9.The government had established Fort Bliss on 135 acres of Hart’sMill. Subsequently, the building program cost $140,00010.The first railroad track was laid in 1881 across the militaryreservation11.Hence, the customary supply problems were solved temporarily.Nevertheless, Hart’s Mill became insufficient for the military’soperations.

The Origin ofthe Name

The military based was named “Fort Bliss” after aMexican-American soldier, William Wallace Smith Bliss12.He joined the American Military Academy in 1929 and graduated as aSecond Lieutenant. Subsequently, Bliss chose to serve in the 4thInfantry Regiment13.He also enlisted in the Fort Mitchell military unit in Alabama duringthe mid-1830s. In 1835, Bliss joined the operations concerned withmoving the Cherokee away from prohibited lands14.In addition, he served as a distinguished professor at West Point.Bliss worked as a staff officer at Fort Jesup in Louisiana and FortSmith in Arkansas. He served as the Commanding General during theSeminole Wars and as Chief of Staff while in Mexico and Texas15.During the Mexican War, he was recognized as a Major and a LieutenantColonel. Some of the prominent battles occurred at Buena Vista,Resaca de la Palm, and Palo Alto. Bliss attained plenty of successand won the admiration of many people16.Consequently, the military post of El Paso was renamed in 1854 tohonor his contributions to the Army.

Biggs ArmyAirfield

Biggs Army Airfield refers to an airport based at Fort Bliss in ElPaso, Texas. It serves as the home of the U.S. Army 1stArmored Division17.Previously, the airfield was known as Biggs Air Force. It has asingle runway with low traffic volume. The airfield operates for 24hours each day and services all types of civilian and militaryaircraft18.The airport provides installation support and power projection foraviation assets. Some of the aircraft serviced by the airfield arefrom government flight operations, the Department of Justice, andother military services.

Biggs Army Airfield is situated close to the El Paso InternationalAirport19.Compared to other Army airports, Biggs has the most miles of runway20.Several factors contribute to the airfield’s popularity. Some ofthese advantages include refueling capabilities, proximity toprominent training areas, geographic location, and size. Militaryaircraft in the southwestern area use Biggs for USAF readinesstests21.Inter-service exercises such as Border Star and Gallant Eagle arealso conducted at the airfield. The Fort Bliss area also hosts mostof the desert training programs22.Therefore, the presence of Biggs Army Airfield has raised theregion’s profile and contributed to economic development.

WilliamBeaumont Army Medical Center

The William Beaumont Army Medical Center (WBAMC) is located at FortBliss in El Paso. The facility provides comprehensive medical carefor current and retired military personnel and their families. WBAMCis affiliated with organizations such as El Paso Community College,the University of Texas at El Paso School of Nursing, and Texas TechUniversity School of Medicine23.Furthermore, the institution offers training opportunities forqualified medical students. WBAMC has 43 residents, 27 interns, and70 physicians in training24.The center also has over 100 enlisted soldiers and officers.Moreover, the Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care Center islocated at the institution25.Medical practitioners at the facility see more than 1,000 patients,perform over 4,000 procedures, and give more than 2,000 prescriptionson a daily basis26.WBAMC deals with 10-15% of trauma cases in the region27.Therefore, it has become a fundamental part of the work that isaccomplished at Fort Bliss.

Rolein Development of El Paso’s Economy

Fort Bliss has had a substantial impact on El Paso`s economy. Inparticular, the military base has been acknowledged as the biggestemployer in the county. Fort Bliss has also contributed toenvironmental awareness in El Paso. For instance, it has partneredwith the city to desalinate harmful and brackish groundwater. Most ofthe conservation efforts have concentrated on the Hueco BolsonAquifer28.Therefore, Fort Bliss has had a tremendous impact on El Paso`seconomy.

Jobs in ElPaso

Fort Bliss contains an extensive Army Forces Command with severalteams. Some of these units include military police, combat supporthospitals, network operations, and three brigade combat teams. Thebase also comprises of reserve training and mobilization unitsdesigned to cover deficits within the military29.Consequently, Fort Bliss provides 40,844 jobs in direct employmentand 135,610 posts in direct and indirect employment30.The military base also has a larger territory compared to RhodeIsland. In fact, Fort Bliss covers 1.12 million acres across theregions of Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston31.The geographical coverage of the military base enables it to offermany military jobs. More than 20% of people in El Paso County areemployed at Fort Bliss32.Some of these workers include Army retirees and civilians. Notably,the average Federal government wage in El Paso is $62,373 while thecountry’s average is $48,10433.On the other hand, employees in Texas earn an average of $51,842.Hence, persons in El Paso earn 24% higher than other workers in thestate34.Fort Bliss constantly creates additional employment opportunities tocater for the high demand in El Paso.

EconomicContribution to El Paso

According to a study conducted by the Greater El Paso Chamber ofCommerce, Fort Bliss contributes almost $6 billion to the county’seconomy35.Furthermore, the military base creates more than 60,000 jobs thatenable households to reap over $4 billion in compensation36.In this regard, Fort Bliss accounts for 11% of the total jobs in ElPaso County. The military base also contributes 16% of the region’seconomy37.The presence of several military units attracts qualified labor tothe area. In the 1990s, one cavalry unit in Fort Bliss was moved toFort Collins in Colorado. Consequently, more than 7,000 moved awayfrom the region38.Additionally, the housing market almost collapsed due to the highnumber of exits. The availability of vacant premises also attractedcriminals to El Paso39.This shows the importance of Fort Bliss to El Paso’s economy. Themilitary post was indispensable to the local community.

EconomicContribution to Texas

Fort Bliss is widely acknowledged as the biggest army base in Texas.The Office of the State Comptroller revealed that the military postcontributes over $24.1 billion each year to the state`s economy40.Compared to other 14 installations in Texas, Fort Bliss had thegreatest economic impact in the Upper Rio Grande Region41.Notably, the latter zone comprised of Brewster, Presidio, Jeff Davis,Culberson, Hudspeth, and El Paso counties42.Fort Bliss also had the most substantial improvements in Texas.

The Army base provided direct employment to over 40,000 individuals43.This number included both military personnel and civilian residents.In fact, 20% of people within El Paso County had some connection withFort Bliss44.Families working in the Upper Rio Grande region acquired over $48billion in personal incomes45.In total, the 15 military bases in Texas contributed $136.4 billionin productive activities46.The installations also provided $81.3 billion in gross domesticproduct every year. More than 800,000 jobs were created statewide dueto the presence of the military bases47.Notwithstanding, Fort Bliss had the highest contribution among theinstallations in Texas. As the largest employer in the region, themilitary base created annual disposable incomes over $8.1 billion48.Therefore, Fort Bliss caused plenty of benefits for the state’seconomy.

Fort Bliss has created plenty of jobs due to protection from variouslaws and statutes. In particular, the absence of a Base Realignmentand Closure (BRAC) process enabled the military installation toenforce independent procedures. Consequently, military jobs in ElPaso had increased by 17,15849.This figure represents a 141% increase in the number of employmentopportunities. The state had enacted military legislation tosafeguard against future actions of the Federal government50.For example, BRAC guidelines threatened to undermine the productivityof Fort Bliss. State leaders also allocated considerable funds to themilitary base to support the creation of more jobs51.The Military Installations and Veteran Affairs Committee appreciatedthe economic impact of state-wide army posts52.Therefore, Fort Bliss has proper conditions to create more jobs inTexas. The state can continue to reap billions of dollars in economicgains.

Besides, Fort Bliss provides plenty of intangible benefits to theLone Star State. For example, the military base trained many troopson combat-related issues53.Enlisted soldiers were taught how to use firearms and cooperate withother servicemen within their unit54.Fort Bliss also played a fundamental role in maintaining theequipment used in foreign missions. Moreover, the military base caredfor wounded soldiers until they could perform instrumental activitiesof daily living55.Fort Bliss was also involved in overseeing military defensecontracts. In this respect, arrangements would be made to acquirecertain technologies from the country’s allies. Similarly, themilitary base would communicate with organizations desiring topurchase equipment such as missiles and grenades56.Fort Bliss also renders services to the entire military inclusive ofnavy forces, air force, ground troops, and the submarines. In 2011,the base adopted the First Armored Division and hence became afundamental maneuver training post57.Consequently, Fort Bliss contributed to an advanced infrastructurenetwork in Texas.

Major Projects

The expansion of El Paso has created a demand for constructionprojects. Sundt Construction has completed projects worth over $1.1billion in El Paso within the past decade58.Some of these projects include Fort Bliss community facilities, scoutrange complex, replacement hospital, refueling facilities for combataviation brigade, and warrior transition barracks59.Other structures include multifamily housing units, digitalair-ground integration range, machine gun range, tactical equipmentmaintenance facility, and a training area tank trails repair60.The largest project in Fort Bliss is the $400-miliion Union Pacificrail yard. Notably, the 12-mile long structure was completed in201461.Sundt Construction is developing a 4-year, $154-million projectinvolving the repair and construction of several roads and bridges62.Furthermore, the company plans to conduct a major rehabilitation ofthe 50-year old Interstate 1063.Another major project is the $648 million William Beaumont ArmyMedical Center complex in East El Paso64.Consequently, the county has plenty of opportunities for contractorsand other manual laborers. Construction projects enhance theinfrastructure within the region and increase the level of economicgrowth and development.

Conclusion

Indeed, Fort Bliss plays a primary role in the development of ElPaso’s economy. The military base provides over 60,000 jobs toresidents of the county. The annual rate of growth of employmentopportunities also surpasses 140%. A study by the Greater El PasoChamber of Commerce showed that Fort Bliss contributes almost $6billion to the El Paso County. Residents in the region also enjoyedannual disposable incomes of over $4 billion65.The base also accounts for 16% of the county’s economy and 11% ofthe total jobs. Fort Bliss also contributed over $24 billion to theTexas economy. The 15 military installations in the state providedover 800,000 jobs. Nevertheless, Fort Bliss had the greatest impactin the Upper Rio Grande Region. The location of the military baseoffers many strategic advantages. Firstly, it presents the army witha vantage position to detect and respond to potential attacks. Italso acts as the proper location for training facilities. Thefacility is also constructed on 1.12 million acres of land in Texasand New Mexico. Therefore, it contains ample space for Biggs ArmyAirfield and the William Beaumont Army Medical Center. The proposedexpansion of both facilities can also proceed without logisticcomplications due to the plenty of available space. Consequently,Fort Bliss is vital to the economies of both El Paso County and TexasState.

References

El Paso Chamber of Commerce. (2016, November 26). Retrievedfrom http://www.elpaso.org/

Fort Bliss. (2016, November 26). Retrieved fromhttp://www.bliss.army.mil/

Fort Bliss Directorate of Public Works (DPW). (2016, November26). Retrieved from http://www.bliss.army.mil/dpw/

Fort Bliss, TX (TEXAS). (2016, November 26). Retrieved fromhttp://armybases.org/fort-bliss-tx-texas/

Gray, R. (2015, November 16). Building El Paso: $1B in projects. ElPaso Inc. Retrieved fromhttp://www.elpasoinc.com/news/local_news/article_4fc3397a-8c7a-11e5-a099-a36eae35b081.html

Metz, C. L., (2016, November 26). Fort Bliss. Handbook of TexasOnline. Retrieved fromhttp://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/qbf03.

Schauer, D. A., Tinajero, R., Ramirez, D., &amp Soden, D. L. (2013).The Economic Impact of Fort Bliss and William Beaumont ArmyMedical Center in El Paso County, Texas: 2013. Institute forPolicy and Economic Development: The University of Texas at El Paso.

Texas Economy. (2016, November 26). Retrieved fromhttps://www.comptroller.texas.gov/economy/local/

1 Metz, C. L., (2016, November 26). Fort Bliss. Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved from http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/qbf03.

2 Ibid

3 Ibid

4 Ibid

5 Ibid

6 Ibid

7 Metz, C. L., (2016, November 26). Fort Bliss. Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved from http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/qbf03.

8 Fort Bliss. (2016, November 26). Retrieved from http://www.bliss.army.mil/

9 Ibid.

10 Ibid.

11 Ibid.

12 Ibid.

13 Ibid.

14 Ibid.

15 Fort Bliss. (2016, November 26). Retrieved from http://www.bliss.army.mil/

16 Ibid.

17 Ibid.

18 Ibid.

19 Ibid.

20 Ibid.

21 Ibid.

22 Fort Bliss, TX (TEXAS). (2016, November 26). Retrieved from http://armybases.org/fort-bliss-tx-texas/

23 Ibid.

24 Ibid.

25 Ibid.

26 Ibid.

27 Ibid.

28 Fort Bliss, TX (TEXAS). (2016, November 26). Retrieved from http://armybases.org/fort-bliss-tx-texas/

29 Fort Bliss Directorate of Public Works (DPW). (2016, November 26). Retrieved from http://www.bliss.army.mil/dpw/

30 Schauer, D. A., Tinajero, R., Ramirez, D., &amp Soden, D. L. (2013). The Economic Impact of Fort Bliss and William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso County, Texas: 2013. Institute for Policy and Economic Development: The University of Texas at El Paso.

31 Ibid.

32 Ibid.

33 Ibid.

34 Ibid.

35 El Paso Chamber of Commerce. (2016, November 26). Retrieved from http://www.elpaso.org/

36 Ibid.

37 Schauer, D. A., Tinajero, R., Ramirez, D., &amp Soden, D. L. (2013). The Economic Impact of Fort Bliss and William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso County, Texas: 2013. Institute for Policy and Economic Development: The University of Texas at El Paso.

38 Ibid.

39 Ibid.

40 Texas Economy. (2016, November 26). Retrieved from https://www.comptroller.texas.gov/economy/local/

41 Ibid.

42 Ibid.

43 Schauer, D. A., Tinajero, R., Ramirez, D., &amp Soden, D. L. (2013). The Economic Impact of Fort Bliss and William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso County, Texas: 2013. Institute for Policy and Economic Development: The University of Texas at El Paso.

44 Ibid.

45 Ibid.

46 Ibid.

47 Ibid.

48 Ibid.

49 Ibid.

50 Ibid.

51 Ibid.

52 Schauer, D. A., Tinajero, R., Ramirez, D., &amp Soden, D. L. (2013). The Economic Impact of Fort Bliss and William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso County, Texas: 2013. Institute for Policy and Economic Development: The University of Texas at El Paso.

53 Texas Economy. (2016, November 26). Retrieved from https://www.comptroller.texas.gov/economy/local

54 Ibid.

55 Ibid.

56 Ibid.

57 Ibid.

58 Gray, R. (2015, November 16). Building El Paso: $1B in projects. El Paso Inc. Retrieved from http://www.elpasoinc.com/news/local_news/article_4fc3397a-8c7a-11e5-a099-a36eae35b081.html

59 Gray, R. (2015, November 16). Building El Paso: $1B in projects. El Paso Inc. Retrieved from http://www.elpasoinc.com/news/local_news/article_4fc3397a-8c7a-11e5-a099-a36eae35b081.html

60 Ibid.

61 Ibid.

62 Ibid.

63 Ibid.

64 Ibid.

65 El Paso Chamber of Commerce. (2016, November 26). Retrieved from http://www.elpaso.org/