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.