Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veterans Day 2012: A look back at Fort Sheridan

It was founded to quell labor unrest, but the greatest contribution of Fort Sheridan--which is located east of Highwood, Illinois--was as a mobilization center for World War I and World War II.

Today on Veterans Day I salute Fort Sheridan--and of course the men and women who served our great nation.

The most distinctive architectural feature of Fort Sheridan is the old water tower. It was originally 228 feet high--but it was shortened by 60 feet because of structural concerns in 1949. On both sides of the tower are the former barracks.

Next is a building that is just east of the tower. Fort Sheridan was commissioned in 1887. It closed--save for a small section reserved for the Army National Guard--in 1993. Most of the original buildings were designed by the renowned Chicago architectural firm of Holabird and Roche. The yellowish bricks were all made on site.

On the east end of the old base are the fancier homes--where of course the brass lived. Most of these houses were converted into upscale private residences after the fort was decommissioned.

I've moved from the barracks to the officers. Here is the former home of the base commandant.

A marker to commemorate the accomplishments of the 225th AAA Skylighters. It reads:
Dedicated to the 827 men of the 225th AAA Searchlight Battalion.

225th trained Fort Sheridan 1942/43. Arrived England Dec 1943. Became part of defense of England. Landed Omaha June 11-17. Part of defense of Normandy. Made contact 76 enemy planes. Supplied early radar warning at breakout of St. Lo. Were attached 422 & 425 P61 Nightfighters 9th AF. Put up 2,000 search light canopies/directional beams saving 4,000 planes and crews. Operated 3 countries at one time. Credited with 36 planes and V1 rockets. War's end were deep in Germany. Trained for Pacific August '45. Army of Occupation. Departed Europe Dec 45.

Artillery units once fired on drones flying over Lake Michigan during training exercises.

For thirty years an airfield operated at Fort Sheridan--it is now a meadow. In the late 1960s the airfield was renamed Haley Army Airfield--in honor of Captain Patrick Lawrence Haley--a helicopter pilot killed in Vietnam who was a native of LaSalle, Illinois.

The fort was name for General Phil Sheridan. While best known for his service during the Civil War, Sheridan coordinated military relief efforts for the victims of the Chicago Fire.

Note: With the exception of the Gen. Sheridan photo, each of these photographs were taken in November of 2012. The Sheridan picture was taken last fall.


rlm said...

Thanks for posting these photos of Ft Sheridan, I was stationed there with the Recruiting Command from 1985 until my retirement in Jan 1992. Played many rounds of golf on the old parade grounds. At the east end of the parade grounds was a house where Gen Patton had lived as a junior officer, it had a brass plaque by the front door.

John Ruberry said...

Thanks for your service...I bet the plaque is gone, though, since it is now a privately owned residence.