The public is invited to join in honoring 111 years of Fort Lawton’s military history, February 25th from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.at the 2nd Lt. Robert R. Leisy U.S. Army Reserve Center. Starting with an outdoor flag ceremony and ending with a reception at the Daybreak Star Cultural Center, the U.S. Army Reserve will hold ceremonies officially closing Fort Lawton and will ceremonially return the property to the city of Seattle.
Guest speakers include Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, Congressman Jim McDermott, Maj. Gen. William D. Frink, Jr., the Commander of the 79th Sustainment Support Command, and special guest speaker Maj. Gen. (Retired) James Collins, the Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army for the state of Washington. Public affairs officer Capt. Michael N. Meyer adds:
Fort Lawton has a long and storied history, as described in several books and newspaper articles over the past century. According to the official Seattle website, Fort Lawton was established on Feb. 9th, 1900 on 2.8 square kilometers of land to honor Major General Henry Ware Lawton, a veteran of the Civil War, Indian, and Spanish-American campaigns who died in the Philippines. During World War II, Fort Lawton was the second-largest deployment site on the West Coast, training and deploying nearly one million troops overseas. Fort Lawton also held more than 1,100 German prisoners of war, and sent more than 5,000 Italian POWs to Hawaii. In 1964 the Secretary of Defense announced that at least 85 percent of Fort Lawton land would be declared surplus, and should be given back to the community at no cost to state and local agencies. In 1972, and several times afterward, parcels of Fort Lawton land were returned to the Seattle community to become Discovery Park.
Over the years, numerous major Army Reserve headquarters have called Fort Lawton home. In 1968, the 124th Army Reserve Command was activated with a headquarters on Fort Lawton and was assigned the mission of preparing its subordinate units to mobilize and perform wartime tasks. The 364th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, a component of the 79th SSC, is the last Army Reserve unit to leave Fort Lawton and is now based in Marysville, WA.
10:00 a.m. Saturday, February 25, 2012
Leisy Hall Fort Lawton, 4570 West Texas Way
Reception follows at Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center
Discovery Park, 3801 West Government Way
Historical bus tours of Fort Lawton and Discovery Park start at Daybreak Star at noon. Events are free and open to the public. Attendees are advised that military cannons will fire blanks during the ceremony, and to dress warmly as the majority of the ceremony will take place outdoors
For additional information, please contact the public affairs office at Michael.N.Meyer@USAR.Army.mil and (360) 403-2547.