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Fort Detrick is a U.S. Army Medical Command installation located in Frederick, Maryland, USA. Its support a multi-governmental community that conducts biomedical research and development, medical material management, global medical communications and the study of foreign plant pathogens. It is home to the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC), with its U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), as well as to the National Cancer Institute-Frederick (NCI-Frederick). It will be home to the planned National Interagency Biodefense Campus. Fort Detrick is the largest employer in Frederick County, Maryland.
History Five farms originally constituted what is today known as “Area A”, or the main post area of Fort Detrick, where most installation activities are located.
Detrick Field (1931-1943)Fort Detrick traces its roots to Detrick Field, the small municipal airport established at the site in the 1930s. The field was named in honor of Squadron Surgeon Major Frederick L. Detrick who served in France during World War I and died in June 1931. The first military presence there was the encampment, on 10 August 1931 (two months after the Major's death), of the 104th Aero Squadron of the Maryland National Guard. Detrick Field was a cadet pilot training center until December 1941. The 2nd Bombardment Squadron, U.S. Army Air Corps was reconstituted at Detrick Field between March and September 1942, when it deployed to England to become the nucleus of the new Eighth Air Force headquarters.
Camp Detrick (1943-1956)The U.S. Biological Laboratories, responsible for pioneering research into decontamination, gaseous sterilization, and agent purification, were established at Detrick Field, re-christened Camp Detrick, in 1943.
Biological warfare researchDuring World War II, Camp Detrick became the site of intensive biological warfare (BW) research using various pathogens; this research was originally overseen by pharmaceuticals executive George W. Merck. There was a building on the base, Building 470 locally referred to as "Anthrax Tower". Building 470 was a pilot plant for testing optimal fermentor and bacterial purification technologies. The information gained in this pilot plant shaped the fermentor technology that was ultimately used by the pharmaceutical industry to revolutionize production of antibiotics and other drugs. Building 470 was torn down in 2003 without any adverse effects on the demolition workers or the environment. The facility acquired the nickname "Fort Doom" while offensive biological warfare research was undertaken there.
Biological tests performed on Seventh-day AdventistsThe U.S. General Accounting Office issued a report on September 28, 1994, which stated that between 1940 and 1974, DOD and other national security agencies studied hundreds of thousands of human subjects in tests and experiments involving hazardous substances.The quote from the study:
Many experiments that tested various biological agents on human subjects, referred to as Operation Whitecoat, were carried out at Fort Detrick, Maryland, in the 1950s. The human subjects originally consisted of volunteer enlisted men. However, after the enlisted men staged a sitdown strike to obtain more information about the dangers of the biological tests, Seventh-Day Adventists (sic) who were conscientious objectors were recruited for the studies.Staff Report prepared for the committee on veterans' affairs December 8, 1994 John D. Rockefeller IV, West Virginia, Chairman.[http://www.gulfweb.org/bigdoc/rockrep.cfm]
Fort Detrick (1956-2007)Camp Detrick became Fort Detrick in 1956, continuing its mission of biomedical research and its role as the world’s leading research campus for biological agents requiring specialty containment. On Veterans Day, November 11, 1969, President Richard Nixon asked the Senate to ratify the 1925 Geneva Protocol prohibiting the use of chemical and biological weapons. Nixon assured Fort Detrick its research would continue. On November 25, 1969, Nixon signed an executive order outlawing offensive biological research in the United States. Since that time any research done at Fort Detrick has been purely defensive in nature, focusing on diagnostics, preventives and treatments for BW infections. This research is undertaken by the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), transitioned from the Biological Laboratories and re-named in 1969.Many former laboratories and some land made available by the disestablishment of the offensive BW program were ultimately transferred to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services during the 1970s and later. The National Cancer Research and Development Center (now the National Cancer Institute-Frederick) was established in 1971 on a 69 acre parcel in Area A ceded by the installation.
Conspiracy theoriesIn the 1980s and '90s, some AIDS conspiracy theorists, notably Jakob Segal, claimed that Fort Detrick was the site where the United States government invented HIV.
Tenant units and organizations Each branch of the U.S. military is represented among Fort Detrick’s 7,800 military, federal and contractor employees. Four cabinet level agencies are represented by activities on the garrison: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and of course the U.S. Department of Defense.The following units and organizations (military and otherwise) are located on the Fort Detrick installation:U.S. Department of Defense
Historic sites on Fort Detrick Fort Detrick has three sites (and four structures) on the National Register of Historic Places:
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