Fort Detrick Army Base in Frederick on map

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Fort Detrick Army Base in Frederick, MD Maryland Military Bases


Initially built as the center for biological weapons in the United States of America, these days Fort Detrick is a regular military base located in Maryland. It deals with medical operations, from training and research to development and management. It is also responsible for pathogen studies. At the same time, the base is the largest single employer in the state. It spreads over 1200 acres.



The base was built on the territories of five different farms that had to be relocated. It was built in two different eras, as Area A and Area B. Area A covers 800 acres and hosts most facilities on site. On the other hand, Area B was built during an expansion plan and spreads over 400 acres. Area B is used for testing operations.


The history of the base started as a simple airport that was operated by only one employee. It was not that popular, but used for emergency situations only. It was part of a wide net of such small airfields for emergencies. The place was named in the memory of Frederick L. Detrick, one of the American heroes from World War I. Most of his missions took place in France. Fortunately for him, he didn’t die in a plane crash like most other heroes that name the military bases today. Instead, he passed away due to a heart attack in 1931. The first unit hosted on site was actually Detrick’s unit – the 104-th Observation Squadron.


In 1939, the base was improved with concrete constructions as the United States of America were preparing to join World War II. In 1943, the base became the host of some biological laboratories responsible with research and development. The military purpose of the base dropped a little, so it didn’t play any major roles throughout the war. The operations were so secret that the world found out about them about 4 months after World War II ended. Over the war, the scientists employed there managed to prepare more than 5000 anthrax based bombs to be used if the war was about to continue. In 1946, the government purchased more land and this is how Area B was established. A few years later, the first negative cases showed up in the biological history of Fort Detrick. Two employees died because of the anthrax exposure in the ’50s. A decade later, another one was hit by a viral encephalitis.


These days, the base is in the shadow of pollution. It is said to be the most polluted place in the United States of America. Some specialists claim the HIV virus was actually invented there by the United States of America.


Every field of the US military is successfully represented at Fort Detrick. With dozens of units on site, it is no surprise that the place hosts close to 8000 troops. Some of the important units include the Medical Materiel Agency, the 114-th Signal Battalion, the Chemical Biological Medical Systems or the 6-th Medical Logistics Management Center. There are also associate units hosted at the base.

Fort Detrick Army Base in Frederick on map

Fort Detrick


Fort Detrick is a United States Army Medical Command installation and was the center for the American biological weapons program from 1943 to 1969.



Fort Detrick is located in Frederick, Maryland. Fort Detrick is the center of the biomedical technology growth that has occurred in the county. Frederick is situated to the West of Baltimore, MD, (46 miles) and Washington, DC, (45 miles). It adjoins Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.



The first military presence at Fort Detrick was the 1930s encampment of the 104th Aero Squadron of the Maryland National Guard. It was named Camp Detrick to honor Squadron Surgeon Maj. Frederick L. Detrick who served in France during World War I. The U.S. Biological Laboratories were established at Detrick Field in 1943, achieving pioneering efforts in decontamination, gaseous sterilization, and agent purification. In 1956, Fort Detrick continued its mission of biomedical research. The installation has matured as a center for advanced biomedical research and development, medical materiel management, and long-haul telecommunications for the White House, Department of Defense and other governmental agencies.



Fort Detrick is a U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command installation supporting a multi-governmental community that conducts biomedical research and development, medical material management, worldwide communications, and the study of foreign plant pathogens.


Population Served

Each branch of the U.S. military is represented among approximately 7,800 military, federal, and contractor employees assigned here.


Base Transportation

Currently, there is no base transportation on this installation.



Sponsorship is very important at Fort Detrick. To request a sponsor go to the Request Sponsor web page and submit your request online, or send an e-mail to the Relocation Assistance Officer.


Temporary Quarters

There is no on-post lodging. Statements of non-availability are not required. There are many hotels that are within 2 miles of post that offer low PCS rates.


Relocation Assistance

Newcomer’s Orientation is held quarterly in the Community Activities Center.


Contact Information

The base operator’s phone number is 301-619-8000 or DSN 312-343-8000 or visit their