Fort Rucker, Arizona

Fort Rucker, or Camp Rucker, is a former United States Army post in Cochise County, Arizona. First known as Camp Supply and Camp Powers, its name was changed on October 1, 1878 in honor of Lieutenant John Anthony "Tony" Rucker.[1] On July 11, 1878, Lieutenant Rucker died in an unsuccessful attempt to save the life of a fellow soldier, Lieutenant Austin Henley,[2] when the two tried to cross a nearby river which had swelled following a rainstorm.[3]

Fort Rucker
Rucker Canyon, Arizona
TypeArmy fortification
Site information
Controlled by Arizona
Conditiontourist attraction
Site history
Built1878 (1878)
Built by United States
In use1878–1890
Battles/warsApache Wars
Garrison information
Occupants United States Army


The camp was initially built to protect settlers in the area, and also housed mounted cavalry units.

On July 21, 1880, six mules were stolen from the Camp Rucker stables, allegedly by William "Curly Bill" Brocius and two others. The mules were later discovered on the ranch of Tom and Frank McLaury after a search by Lieutenant J. H. Hurst, Virgil Earp, and Earp's deputies.[4]

During the 1880s, Camp Rucker became Fort Rucker. It was one of the more important military stations in the campaign against the Apache tribes led by Geronimo and Cochise. A small community grew up around the fort, as the military method of obtaining necessary supplies was through civilian contractors. It was abandoned by 1890.[5]

The remnants of Camp Rucker are located on United States Forest Service land today. Officers' quarters, a bunkhouse, a sheltered latrine, a commissary warehouse, and a bakery are still standing. The site is adjacent to the south side of the Chiricahua Wilderness in the Douglas Ranger District of the Coronado National Forest; walk-in public access is permitted. Rucker Canyon and Rucker Lake are sites of popular Forest Service campgrounds, and in the summer a firefighting crew is stationed at a nearby administrative site.


  3. Massey, Peter; Wilson, Jeanne; Titus, Angela (2007). Arizona Trails Southern Region, p.136. Adler Publishing. ISBN 1-930193-03-3
  4. Barra, Allen (2009). Inventing Wyatt Earp: His Life and Many Legends, p.109. U of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0-8032-2058-8
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