As one of the largest military facilities in the United States of America, Dugway Proving Ground covers more than 800000 acres and is located close to the Juab County. The military base is almost the size of a state. It covers a huge area of the famous desert of Salt Lake. Most of the surroundings consist of mountains, therefore the training range is somehow protected. Judging by the 2000 census, there were a little over 2000 inhabitants. Most of them lived in the eastern part of the base, in Dugway. The name defines a common technique used in the training sessions. The proving ground is also close to a different facility in Utah – the Test and Training Range. The two bases together represent the widest military field in the United States of America.
The purpose of this field is to test biological and chemical weapons for the defense of the country. The environment is excellent, since there aren’t any close human communities around. The place is used by multiple commands, such as the Air Force, the National Guard or the Army Reserve. All of them use it for various training techniques. Prior to the invasion of Afghanistan, the special forces of the US Army used the area to train, since the environment was similar to the desert areas from Afghanistan.
By 1941, the US government could easily rely on Edgewood Arsenal Maryland, a wide area for multiple tests. However, as World War II was approaching, the government needed a wider area to test more powerful weapons. While searching around the West Coast for a proper place, the officials decided on this desert. By 1942, the training sessions began. During World War II, Dugway Proving Ground Utah tested chemical sprays, flamethrowers, biological agents, various antidotes and protective equipments and even fire bombing. When the war ended, the activity was stopped and the base adopted a stand-by position.
It was reactivated later, when the Korean War started. At that time, the authorities decided to turn this place into a permanent military base. A school was also relocated in this area, to help the students understand what they are actually trained for.
In 2004, the desert unexpectedly had to host a NASA spaceship – Genesis. One of its parts was mounted backwards, which caused the ship to malfunction. The desert was chosen for the “crashing” site due to the moondust-like soil. In January, 2011, Dugway Proving Ground Utah was set on lockdown after the workers lost a vial with the VX nerve agent. Those who were at work were not allowed to leave, while those who were coming to work were not allowed in. The lockdown was removed the next day after the problematic vial was found.
The housing system at Dugway Proving Ground is operated by two groups – UPH for single or dual housing opportunities and Army Family Housing for multiple bedroom units. The military personnel deployed here doesn’t have to wait. Instead, the troops are hosted automatically. The civilians working here will be hosted according to the available space.