JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- Army Reserve leaders, Soldiers and civilians gathered July 18 at the Army Reserve Mobilization Museum here to celebrate the centennial of the inception of Camp Dix.

"Since World War I, this installation has been training and then sending our service members overseas to compel our adversaries to do our nation's will," said Command Sgt. Maj. Patrick McKie, the Army Support Activity, Fort Dix command sergeant major. "For all who came before us, to all of you here today and to all who will walk and train on this hallowed ground in the future, thank you."

Camp Dix provided key support to the Army and the nation from its inception in 1917 until its re-designation as "Fort Dix" in 1939. It was one of 16 Army camps established to train Soldiers for World War I.

On Oct. 1, 2009, Fort Dix transformed into the United States Army Support Activity, Fort Dix and became part of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

"The mission has changed many different times, but the strategic value of this site, of this ground, has not changed," said Maj. Gen. Troy D. Kok, commanding general for the U.S. Army Reserve's 99th Regional Support Command.

Camp Dix's location was selected because of its proximity to ports in northern New Jersey and New York, as well as an extensive interstate rail network.

Kok, as the senior commander of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, was the event's guest speaker.

"I was thinking -- how many people have gone through here in 100 years and looked at the flag that we salute every day; where has that flag taken us?" he asked.

Today, JBMDL is the second-largest employer in New Jersey, second only to the state government. More than 42,000 active-duty and reserve-component service members, civilian employees and family members work and reside on the base. It's one of the largest mobilization sites in the country, and a major training center for the northeastern United States for Army Reserve and National Guard Soldiers.