1948 3¢ Fort Bliss Centennial
Issue Date: November 5, 1948
City: El Paso, Texas
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Perforations: 10 ½ x 11
Color: Henna brown
A theme of old and new is featured on U.S. #976 – the centennial issue commemorating Fort Bliss, near El Paso, Texas. The design of the stamp features a 19th century Spanish-style mission to commemorate its role as a key defense for the region. It also pictures a rocket launch, signifying the fort’s history in the development of the American rocket program.
Fort Bliss was one of the first American military bases to test rockets and train people in their use. In 1946, many of the German scientists freed by U.S. spies in World War II were stationed at Fort Bliss. The facility remains a primary training ground for U.S. military rocket personnel and testing.
General Zachary Taylor established a military camp at the Rio Grande to protect American interests in the territory also claimed by Mexico. This helped provoke the Mexican-American War, in which Taylor was a key commander. Following the war, small forts were established in 1848 to protect Texas residents. The fort in El Paso was named Fort Bliss, in honor of Taylor’s son-in-law, Colonel William Bliss – a gifted linguist, officer, and former presidential secretary. Fort Bliss played a prominent regional role in the Civil War, as well as in the expedition against Mexican outlaw Pancho Villa. Fort Bliss is a primary training facility today, and is the second-largest U.S. Army installation in the world.