Fort Myer, Virginia, has been continuously utilized as an Army facility from its inception during the Civil War to the present day. Fort Myer, Fort Leslie J. McNair and Marine Headquarters, Henderson Hall, were merged under the Joint Base Realignment and Closure initiative as Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall (JBM-HH). Today, Fort Myer provides support services in several capacities to military facilities in the greater Washington, D.C. area, including those in Virginia, Crystal City, The Pentagon and the District of Columbia. It provides support services to members of all branches of the armed forces and their families in the national capital area.
Fort Myer is home to several companies and regiments, including the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), The United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” and Headquarters U.S. Army Garrison.
Fort Myer traces its history to the American Civil War period, when it and an adjacent area of a portion of what is now Arlington National Cemetery were acquired by Robert E. Lee. First named Fort Whipple after Maj. Gen. Amiel Weeks Whipple, it was renamed after Brig. Gen. Albert J. Myer in 1881 to both honor General Myer and to avoid confusion with another post of the same name in Arizona. Fort Whipple, Virginia, was an important Union Army post in the Civil War, in part because of its high elevation. In 1869, General Myer established the first Signal School of Instruction at the post. In 1887, on the recommendation of Gen. Philip H. Sheridan, it became home to the 3rd Cavalry Regiment and the 6th Field Artillery Regiment.
The post was a testing ground for new military equipment and techniques, including radio telecommunications, military aircraft, the Jeep and simulation of trench warfare. Its post commander’s house, built in 1899, was designated as Quarters One in 1908, home to several Army chiefs of staff including Generals George C. Marshall, Douglas MacArthur and Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Fort Myer is listed as a National Historic District and a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
The 3rd U.S. Infantry, also called The Old Guard, the Army’s oldest infantry division, is headquartered at Fort Myer and serves as the ceremonial unit for the Washington, D.C. area. The U.S. Army Band and the School of Music are also headquartered at the installation. The band, termed “Pershing’s Own,” was created by General John Pershing in 1922. Since its inception it has toured the world, performing in war arenas, peacetime venues, and at events of national significance like the funeral and burial of President John Kennedy at Arlington National Cemetery.
Old Post Chapel, part of the National Register District, serves as the ceremonial chapel for Arlington National Cemetery. Almost all U.S. presidents have attended services here since its inception in 1935 under then Major George Patton.
Other major units under the command of the installation include U.S. Army Headquarters, B Company, C Company, D Company and Walter Reed Army Medical Center, E Company, A Company Fort McNair and the Military Police Company. Fort Myer provides national security support to not only the Army, but the Defense Department, housing the 3rd Military Intelligence, CID/Washington District, the National Defense University and White House Communications Agency in this capacity.
Because of the proximity to the greater metropolitan area of Washington, D.C., Fort Myer offers a number of services to active and retired members of all branches of the armed services and their families. The main health care facility is Rader Clinic; however, Walter Reed Army Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, and Dewitt/Fort Belvoir also provide care to military personnel and their dependents.
Fort Myer has a commissary, post exchange (PX), mini grocery stores or “shopettes” and a packaged beverage store within the facility. A child and youth services program provides full day care for children aged 6 weeks to 5 years and hourly care for those 6 weeks to 4 years. Several other programs for children include sports, social activities and youth development.
The proximity of Fort Myer to major civilian communities in the capital area provides an array of off-post services and support. Children living on the post attend Arlington County Public Schools. More than 30 elementary, middle, high and alternative schools are part of this system. The area also is home to many private schools.
Housing on the facility is limited; a rental partnership program by Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall provides rental options within the national capital region to military personnel and their families.