Definition/Scope: The first US Army troops, 812 enlisted men and 33 officers of the 10th Infantry, arrived on October 4, 1911, to be followed by other infantry, cavalry, engineer, signal, and field artillery units that made up what was known as the Mobile Force. Initially, these troops operated under the Isthmian Canal Commission with the general designation of Panama Canal Guard. Concurrent with the Canal construction, giant artillery guns were built and manned, and Army posts such as Fort Sherman on the Atlantic and Fort Amador on the Pacific side of the canal, were planned and constructed between 1911 and 1912. Fort Sherman is a former United States Army base located on Toro Point at the Atlantic (northern) end of the Panama Canal, on the western bank of the Canal directly opposite Colón (which is on the eastern bank). It was the primary defensive base for the Atlantic sector of the Canal, and was also the center for US jungle warfare training for some time. Fort Sherman was named by War Department General Order No. 153 dated November 24, 1911, in honor of General William Tecumseh Sherman. The Fort included 23,100 acres (93 km2) of land, about half of which was covered by jungle. The developed areas included housing, barracks for 300, a small airstrip and various recreational areas. Sherman was the site of the US’s first operationally deployed early warning radar when an SCR-270 was installed there in 1941. The forested area was used by the United States Army South (USARSO) Jungle Operations Training Center (JOTC). JOTC was founded in 1951 to train both US and allied Central American forces in jungle warfare, with an enrollment of about 9,000 a year. The JOTC also taught a 10-day Air Crew Survival Course, open to all branches of service, and a four-week Engineer Jungle Warfare Course.
Related Terms:Jungle Operations Training Center