Historic Civil War fort finds itself needed again
FORT STEVENS STATE PARK, Ore. -- The historic old Army post located here, constructed in the 19th century, is finding itself needed by 21st century warriors participating in a major U.S. Northern Command air defense exercise this week.
Exercise Amalgam Dart „09 kicks off today at Camp Rilea and in nearby Warrenton, Ore., and will continue through Saturday. It is one of several North American Aerospace Defense Command and NORTHCOM exercises under the Ardent Sentry „09 exercise series.
Soldiers from the South Carolina National Guard‟s 2nd Battalion, 263d Air Defense Artillery found an area at nearby Fort Stevens with a commanding view of the Columbia River.
Parked among artillery dating from the Civil War and bunkers dating back to World War II is an Avenger anti-aircraft missile and Sentinel radar systems. Equipped with two Stinger missile pods carried atop a modified Humvee, Avengers are Deployable-Homeland Air and Cruise Missile Defense assets part of a new 21st century air defense system.
“Some things change -- like weapons systems, and some things don't -- like terrain,” said Army Capt. Brian Dimond, Avenger Battery commander for Joint Task Force- America Shield. “The site we picked to set up one our Avengers offers an excellent view up and down the Columbia River.”
Fort Stevens was constructed during the Civil War as the primary military installation in the Three Fort Harbor Defense System at the mouth of the Columbia River. The other two forts in the system were Fort Canby and Fort Columbia on the Washington side of the river. The fort was built to defend the mouth of the Columbia River. On the night of June 21, 1942, a Japanese submarine fired 17 shells at Fort Stevens, making it the only military installation in the continental United States to receive hostile fire during World War II. The attack caused no damage to the fort itself. The backstop for the post's baseball field was the only casualty.
Fort Stevens and its gun batteries protected the river until shortly after World War II, and the fort was decommissioned in 1947.
For additional information on Amalgam Dart 09, please contact Mr. Al Eakle, CONR Public Affairs, at (850) 276-8855 or via email at email@example.com.