Fort Jackson Ghosts
Story originally appeared in the Fort Leader, October 2003.
Training on the Omaha Beach range on Fort Jackson is one of the most dangerous exercises that soldiers in Basic Training must go through. On this range pairs of soldiers maneuver down a lane firing live ammunition as they move. Fortunately, due to the excellent training given by the Drill Sergeants and superb supervision provided by the Range Cadre, there have been no serious accidents on this range. Still the young soldiers are very apprehensive when negotiating this perilous event. There is yet another reason that many soldiers feel a shiver go up their spine when they visit Omaha Range.
Often during training here another soldier joins in the activity. Except there is something not quite right about him, it is as if he is not really there. Looking closer it noticed that you can see right through him. It is also noted that he has a head wound and a hole in his helmet. After awhile the young soldier just vanishes, the ghost of Omaha Range is through training for the day.
Who is this young soldier who still trains on Fort Jackson from another dimension? Most likely it is the restless spirit of a young soldier (name withheld to avoid further grief for the family) who committed suicide on Omaha Range in 1988. The apparition is most often seen in the weapons cleaning area. This is near the latrine that the soldier shot himself in on that fateful October day fifteen years ago. He was 19 years old and in his sixth week of training. Ironically, he was from Omaha, Nebraska. Is this the reason that he became depressed when participating in the training? Is it the reason he has not left and continues to train there today?
The next time you are at Omaha Range look around and check to see if there is a soldier training there who looks to be a bit out of place. This could be the ghost of that tragic young man. Be aware he is not the only one to return to Fort Jackson after their untimely demise.
In the B 369 barracks the soldiers should feel more secure than in other barracks due to the fact that they have an extra guardian at night. However, this guardian does not make the soldiers feel more secure. It is said that at night a shadowy figure can be seen walking down the second floor hallway checking doors. It is as if he is checking to make sure that all is secure. When he finishes his rounds he moves down the stairs and goes into the dayroom. He lingers here for awhile and then vanishes.
Who this ghost may be is not known, however, it appears to be the restless spirit of an old First Sergeant or Drill Sergeant returning to make the nightly security checks. The current unit cadre has not experienced this phantom visitor so maybe he has finally determined that the soldiers are in good hands and has moved on. However, at night after lights out the soldiers must wonder if the NCO they hear checking their doors is from this world or the next.