A 21st Century person might ask, “Why were horses and mules used in 20th Century Wars?” In 1908, Fort Reno became one of three Army Quartermaster Remount Stations for the military, a role which it served through 1947. Specialized horse breeding and training of pack mules became the central focus of activity at Fort Reno. The horses and mules were transported by rail from Fort Reno and shipped to other parts of the world during World War I and World War II. The military also made some horses available to the local farmers for breeding purposes. Social activities at Fort Reno included polo matches, horse races, horse shows and auctions, and local community activities at the Officers’ Club, polo grounds, and racetrack, which no longer exist.
Fort Reno’s purpose as a remount station was to raise horses and mules for any branch of the military. Reports indicate that Fort Reno was the regional headquarters, having approximately 22,000 horses and mules at various times throughout the Remount Station years. The principal Remount units were the 252nd and the 253rd Quartermaster Remount Squadrons, plus a unit of “Fort Reno Remount Cowboys”, real cowboys, who broke and trained the horses and mules.
The Fort Reno Remount Troops often accompanied the pack mules and horses to other parts of the world. The horses and mules were shipped to the South Pacific, Italy, Greece, China, Burma, Africa and India for use, primarily in mountainous areas, by the Allied forces. These animals were a very important element of our nation’s war effort, used for crucial supply lines and transportation, in terrain where, as one Veteran said, “There wasn’t a square foot of level ground!”
Shortly after World War II, in 1948, the United States Army’s Quartermaster Remount Depot at Fort Reno was closed, although animals were shipped out until 1952. The Fort has since been the site of the 6,740 acre U.S. Dept.of Agriculture’s Grazinglands Research Laboratory, which hosts the Visitors Center/Museum, operated by the non-profit Historic Fort Reno, Inc.