Fort Polk: the Heart of Vernon Parish

When we say that Fort Polk is the heart of Vernon Parish, we don’t just mean that the base is in the center of the parish. It goes much deeper than that. Fort Polk is intricately connected to the identity of the parish. The people of Vernon Parish are deeply patriotic, with an unmatched sense of duty toward our country and the service men and women who defend it.

Vernon Parish (parishes equate to counties in other states) was named after George Washington’s home, Mt. Vernon, and was created by an act of the Louisiana legislature on March 30, 1871, from portions of the parishes of Natchitoches, Rapides and Sabine.

The 61,000 residents of Vernon Parish are proud of their close association with the people of Fort Polk.   

As it happens, the terrain of Vernon Parish is excellent for training soldiers for combat in all parts of the world, which led to the Louisiana Maneuvers in the 1940’s. 

Camp Polk came into being in 1941 when the federal government evicted 250 families from their homesteads. Despite the extreme hardship these families endured, many were proud (and their descendents remain so) to have contributed to the largest training maneuvers ever held and to have ultimately been a part of what has become a premier training facility for the United States Army.  

Camp Polk was named for Leonidas Polk, an Episcopal bishop and corps commander in the Confederate Army.

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