in El Paso, TX, Fort Bliss is home to 32d Army Air and
Missile Defense Command, 11th Air Defense Artillery
Brigade, 31st Air Defense Artillery Brigade, Joint Task
Force 6, U.S. Army Sergeant major Academy and 204th
Military Intelligence Batallion.
The City of El Paso, Texas, originally known as El Paso del Norte (the Pass of the North), takes its name from the pass through the Franklin Mountains on the American side of the Rio Grande and the Sierra Madre on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande. The pass, located near a convenient ford, has been of tremendous geographical and strategic importance since the 1500s. Onate and his conquistadors crossed the Rio Grande at what was later to become El Paso del Norte in 1560 on their way to conquer the Pueblo Indian villages on the upper Rio Grande in what is today New Mexico. For centuries, El Paso del
Norte, which grew up on the south bank of the Rio Grande, served as an important stopover for supply caravans traveling from the interior of New Spain to Sante Fe.
In November 1848 the War Department ordered the establishment of a post at El Paso del
Norte. The first U.S. troops to arrive consisted of six rifle companies of the 3rd Infantry Regiment. These troops established a military post known simply as "The Post Opposite El Paso." After closing and relocating the post, the Army officially renamed the post Fort Bliss on March 8, 1854, in honor of Lieutenant Colonel William Wallace Smith Bliss, an Army assistant adjutant general during the Mexican War (1846-1848).
The Army rebuilt and moved Fort Bliss several more times in the 1860s and 1870s. In the 1880s the arrival of the railroad contributed to the development of El Paso and the importance of Fort Bliss. By 1890 five American and two Mexican railroads converged at El Paso, making the city a vitally important commercial distribution center. In 1889, as part of a consolidation effort, the Army decided to make Fort Bliss the major fort in the region. With the help of an El Paso citizenís association that purchased and donated land, the Army relocated Fort Bliss to 1,266 acres on Lanoria (La
Noria) Mesa, its present-day site.
phone numbers: Commercial (915)568-2121 or
address: Fort Bliss, TX 79916-5000
12,226 active duty; 316 reservists; 14,502 family
members; 6,347 civilians
officer family units; 2,586 enlisted family units; 32
unaccompanied personnel units; wait from one to 24 months
lodging: 565 temporary units; campground
Community Service: (915)568-4614/1132
elementary schools and one high school on post run by El
Paso Independent School District
Care: Two centers for 592, six-month
wait; 30 approved homes (915)568-5689
care: 330-bed medical center.
Appointments (915)569-2262; Tricare (915)680-7600
Bliss has a very large size commissary -
a large exchange, a mall, and five shoppettes
(915)562-7200. Recreation at Ft. Bliss includes bowling,
library, auto hobby, recreation facilities, theater, golf,
gym, tennis, swimming, outdoor activities, camping, and