Fort Detrick is a medical command installation based in Frederick Maryland. The base covers an area of 490 hectares, and is a vital base that finds its use for biomedical research and development. Originally, Fort Detrick was an area dedicated to farming and agriculture, but this was purchased by the US government to become a test area for weapons and new equipment.

Fort Detrick is one of the facilities recognized by the Scientific Center of Excellence. It develops products to reduce the effects of diseases worldwide, manmade or natural. The base also hosts the US Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), which is the primary disease research institute of the US Military.

Map of Fort Detrick

History of the Fort Detrick Base

Fort Detrick is divided into two large areas. These are called Area A, and Area B. Before they came to be called Areas A and B, Fort Detrick was composed of five local farms in Maryland, constituting an area of roughly 500 hectares. Prior to the 1930s, the US government made a decision to acquire a base for testing and saw the Five Farms as an ideal location for this purpose.

1931 to 1943

One of the areas that were also acquired by the government included Detrick Field. Detrick Field was a small airport that was built in 1929, and was operated by one person. The field was one of the strings of emergency landing areas built across Cleveland, Ohio and Washington, DC. Although it was called an airport, the field was just made of grass and dirt.

The name Detrick was given to the airstrip in honor of flight surgeon Frederick Detrick, a veteran who served in France during the World War I. Detrick Field saw its first military occupants in 1931 when the Maryland National Guard 104th Observation Squadron used the base as their camp.

Finally, in 1939, the military upgraded Detrick Field by replacing its grass-and-dirt airstrip with concrete and tarmac. This paved the way for the installation to become a training center for cadet pilots. The following year in 1940, the US government leased the airport from Frederick City.

In 1942, the United States of America was dragged into World War II when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. At this point, the last planes took off from the Detrick Field

1943 to 1945

In 1943, the government leased another 62 hectares of land in the surrounding area of Detrick Field (which covered only 37 hectares) and then renamed the installation as Camp Detrick. It was also during this year that the installation became home to the Biological Warfare laboratories of the US Army. This facility was responsible for the development and research of biocontainment, decontamination, and sterilization of gases along with agent purification. For this purpose, the government invested $1.25 million for the upgrade of the base. The base had a pivotal role in the Biological Warfare of the US.

After the War and through the Cold War

The government continued to expand the base, which is now known as Fort Detrick. In 1952, another 200 hectares was added to accommodate the growing need for a permanent research and development facilities at the base.

The base also hosted teams of scientists who were responsible for researching and designing various aircraft prototypes, missile tech, and also biological defense and warfare.

Mission of Fort Detrick

Presently, the base is now a community that specializes in biomedical research and development, medical materials management, global medical exchange and communications, and the research on foreign botanical pathogens.

The base is now the headquarters of the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC), with specializations in bio-defense. Its wing agency is the US Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID). Another important role of the base is the National cancer Institute-Frederick .

Fort Detrick is now the largest employer in the Frederick County in Maryland. The base has a business model community that improves the lives of the people living in the area, with transparent and quality workforce that supports the soldiers.

Transparency is present in all dealings at Fort Detrick, which encourages more trades and partnerships in the base. The base is hailed as one of the best places to work in the Maryland County, and has been awarded several recognitions for its enterprising business model that co-exists with and does not go against the lifestyle of the locals.

Education Center

The base has an Education Center for civilians. It gives them the opportunity to receive enhanced development and leadership education and programs, promoting a progressive civilian-leader program. The Education Center also provides a functional academic skills training (FAST) to improve the academic performance and raise the GT score of the person.

Each FAST class is specifically designed to the unique needs of every individual. They prioritize Army civilians and soldiers who have a GT score of below 100. The Civilian Education System is a clever way to enhance to productivity and efficiency of the civilians working and living inside the Army base.

Interesting Facts and Figures

Here are some interesting facts about Fort Detrick you may not know about!

  •  The base is home to more than 7,800 military, Federal, and contractual employees (making it the largest employer in Frederick, Maryland!)
  •  Fort Detrick has three historical landmarks. These are Nallin Farmhouse (built in 1830), the Nallin Farm Springhouse and Bank Barn (erected before 1798), and the One Million Liter Sphere (built after the war).
  •  Building 470- this was also known as the Anthrax Tower, a place where they manufactured bacteria to spread the Anthrax Disease. This was built in 1953, and then demolished in 2003 (for humanitarian reasons).
  •  The film Outbreak which came out in 1995 featured the base and the USAMRIID in containing the disease.
  •  Net Zero is an initiative to have zero wastage in energy and zero waste management all throughout the base. This is effectively implemented, and the base is now one of the community models in the Net Zero project.
  •  Fort Detrick is listed in the top 1% of the 7 million workplaces in the country when it comes to Safety.

Video – Welcome to Fort Detrick