19 Sep 2023


The History of Volunteer Training Site – Catoosa

19 Sep 2023 - Staff

This article is from the Integrated Natural Resources Plan, March 2012 prepared for and submitted to the Tennessee Military Department, Environmental Office by Kristin M. Snyder, Updated and Revised by Laura P. Lecher Natural Resources Manager, Tennessee Military Department. Georgia State Defense Force Chief Warrant Officer 2 Alexander Davidson shares this article with his fellow Soldiers.

The Georgia State Defense Force (GSDF) thanks the Tennessee National Guard for use of the Volunteer Training Site—Catoosa (VTS-C) for GSDF training purposes. The training site is located in northwest Georgia.

Catoosa County was established from Walker and Whitfield Counties by an act of the General Assembly of Georgia in 1853 (Lawrence 1993). The name is derived from the Cherokee word “Catoosa,” meaning “between two hills.”\

Cherokee Indians originally occupied Catoosa County, but a treaty signed in 1835 allowed the state to take control of lands formerly held by the Cherokee Nation. In 1838, the Cherokee people were forced from the area. In 1863, a fierce Civil War battle took place in and around Ringgold, the county seat (Lawrence 1993).

Military use of the lands that comprise VTS-C began in 1904, when the army utilized land adjacent to Catoosa Springs as a target range for training troops from Fort Oglethorpe. The land was originally leased by the Army and later purchased as two separate acquisitions in 1906-07 (876 acres) and 1910 (additional 751.41 acres).

The Catoosa property was referred to as the “Target Range” or “Rifle Range” during its years of association with Fort Oglethorpe, from 1910 until the end of World War II. The “Fighting” 6th Cavalry trained at Catoosa from 1919-1941, and members of the Woman’s Army Corps trained there during World War II. Soldiers were transported from the post to a 1,000-yard rifle range at the south end of the VTS-C property. Apparently, the site held 13 buildings at that time, four located near Catoosa Springs Road and eight located along Tiger Creek at the base of Sand Mountain.

When Fort Oglethorpe closed in 1945, the associated property including the Catoosa Target Range, was offered for public sale. In 1948, the rifle range was withdrawn from surplus and placed under the jurisdiction of the Army Corps of Engineers in an inactive status to be used by the Tennessee National Guard for training its Ground Force Unit. Since 1960, the Tennessee Army National Guard has had operational control through a license from the Corps of Engineers. The name of the facility was changed to the National Guard Catoosa Rifle Range in 1966, to Catoosa Area Training Center in 1976, and finally to the Volunteer Training Site–Catoosa in 2003.