Fort Detrick, Maryland is an Army Medical Research and Development Command (MRDC) installation. The work at Fort Detrick includes biomedical research and development, medical material management and the study of “plant pathogens.”
Find information about Fort Detrick, Maryland including the main commercial and DSN numbers for the base, information on basic services, base transportation, lodging for TDY and PCSing personnel, and inprocessing.
Mission & Units
Fort Detrick supports a range of important federal agencies including the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Department of Veterans Affairs, and other agencies.
The Fort is a multi-service environment that includes Army Medical Research and Development Command, plus the 21st Signal Brigade as its partner agencies. Support operations involve the following agencies:
- U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command
- U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases
- National Cancer Institute-Frederick
- National Interagency Confederation for Biological Research
- National Interagency Biodefense Campus
Important missions and units at Fort Detrick include:
- 14th Signal Battalion
- 21st Signal Brigade
- 302nd Signal Battalion
- 6th Medical Logistics Management Center (6MLMC)
- A Company, 53rd Signal Battalion
- Air Force Medical Evaluation Support Activity (AFMESA/SG5T)
- Air Force Medical Operations Agency (AFMOA/SGAL)
- B Company, 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion
- Joint Medical Logistics Functional Development Center (JMLFDC)
- Medical Communications for Combat Casualty Care (PM, MC4)
- National Cancer Institute (NCI-Frederick)
- National Center for Medical Intelligence (NCMI)
- Naval Medical Logistics Command (NMLC)
- Network Enterprise Center (NETC-SFG-EI)
- U.S. Army Center for Environmental Health Research (USACEHR)
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District
- U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity (USAMMDA)
- U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity (USAMRAA)
- U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC)
- U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID)
Before there was any hint of Fort Detrick in Maryland, there was a municipal airport called Detrick Field, which operated in the 1930s. The first military operation there was a National Guard encampment operated by the 104th Aero Squadron, and the field would later be renamed (see below) Camp Detrick to honor Major Frederick Detrick, a military surgeon who served in France during the First World War.
Detrick passed away two months before the first military camp at Detrick was established in 1931. That was accomplished by the 104th Observation Squadron of the 29th Division, Maryland National Guard which also happened to be Detrick’s unit.
Detrick Field saw its last flying missions take off in late 1941 and January 1942 following Pearl Harbor and the American entry into World War Two. The 104th and the cadet program were reassigned, and a new chapter was about to begin for the installation. Until 1943, the land Detrick Field was situated upon was leased, but in 1943 the government bought 154 acres, changed the name of the installation to Camp Detrick, and the base stopped services at the aviation center.
Around the same time, the Army established a new agency; U.S. Army Biological Warfare Laboratories. Camp Detrick would get a million-dollar overhaul and biological research began at the Fort, originally supervised by George W. Merck. The biological research that would happen at Detrick was so secretive that area residents were said to be completely unaware of the real nature of the facility until after World War Two.
By the time the Cold War was underway, changes in American military policy were happening. President Richard Nixon outlawed the use of chemical and biological offensive weaponry. In 1969, Nixon had pressed the Senate to ratify the Geneva Protocol (passed in 1925) to outlaw such weapons.
While research at Fort Detrick had in the past explored both defensive and offensive options, under the new guidance chemical and biological research would be carried out for defensive purposes only. This research was performed by the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.
Since then, Fort Detrick has been involved in research on Ebola, Anthrax, and many other biological agents. The installation was crucial in FBI investigations of the 2001 Anthrax attacks, which included suspicious packages mailed to U.S. citizens containing either unidentified powder or materials that were allegedly contaminated with anthrax, and there were developments in the case that pointed to a possible insider at Fort Detrick as a person of interest in the attacks.
Fort Detrick has not been without its problems; a 2009 announcement by the EPA that For Detrick was being added to the EPA Superfund list of heavily polluted and/or contaminated sites was followed by another announcement the following year regarding groundwater issues related to Fort Detrick Area B.
In contemporary times, Fort Detrick continues to be an important place for chemical and biological research, but in 2019 the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention issued a Cease And Desist Order resulting in certain laboratory operations at the base being temporarily closed for “breaches of containment.” Following more than half a year of closure, restrictions, and questions, labs at Detrick were allowed to resume operational status no later than April 2020.
Fort Detrick Main Base Address And Phone Numbers
1520 Freedman Drive
Fort Detrick, MD 21702
Important Fort Detrick Contact Numbers
- Emergency 911
- Child and Youth Services Forest Glen (301) 319-5487
- Child and Youth Services Fort Detrick (301) 619-7100
- Family Child Care (301) 619-3405
- Forest Glen Child Development Center (301) 319-5532
- Fort Detrick Child Development Center (301) 619-3300
- ID and CAC Card Processing (301) 619-7311
- Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) (301) 619-2711
- National Sexual Assault Hotline (800) 656-4673
- Operator (301) 619-8000
- Police (Non-Emergency) (301) 619-7114
- Red Cross (301) 662-5131
- School Age Center (301) 619-2901
- School Age Services (301) 619-2585
- SHARP Hotline (240) 674-2802
- Suicide Prevention Hotline (800) 273-8255
- Visitor Control Center (301) 619-0101
- Youth Services and Teen Center (301) 619-2538
- Financial Readiness Program (301) 619-3455
- Legal Assistance (301) 619-2221
- Office of the Staff Judge Advocate (301) 619-2065
- Dental Clinic (301) 619-7675
- Health Clinic (301) 619-7175
- TRICARE (877) 874-2273
- Veterinarian (301) 295-7643
- Government Housing (240) 379-6518
- Housing Office (301) 619-3224
Located 52 miles from Baltimore and about 88 miles from Aberdeen Proving Ground, Fort Detrick is well-situated for those who wish to enjoy the culture, travel, and lifestyle of the East Coast. Close to Baltimore and Chesapeake Bay, the Chesapeake Ship Graveyard, Deal Island with its annual Skipjack festival on Labor Day, and the Fort McHenry National Monument.
Sports fans will naturally want to visit Camden Yards, and at some point many military history buffs are drawn to the city of Annapolis, which has a lot of Navy culture ingrained in the area. Closer to home, there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventures including helicopter tours of the area, Gambrill State Park for hiking and exploring, and the entire area is rich in Civil War sites. There is even a National Museum of Civil War Medicine in nearby Fredrick.
Mount Airy is another go-to destination nearby with annual fests including a Spring Fling, the Festival on the Ridge, and the seasonal Christmas in Olde Town.
Inprocessing and Check-In
All incoming troops PCSing or TDY to Fort Detrick are directed to make arrangements with their sponsor for reporting to their gaining unit or training group. Those arriving after hours will report to the Staff Duty Officer at 1532 Porter Street on post. New arrivals must also report to the Military Personnel Division at 1520 Freedman Drive, to collect In Processing Checklists. Your sponsor is required to escort you during inprocessing.
Navy members reporting to Fort Detrick must check in with the Naval Medical Logistics Command upon arrival. Expect to begin in-processing at this time unless otherwise instructed. All those reporting for duty at the National Center for Medical Intelligence Military Members must begin at the Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center’s, Military Personnel Office.
Medical services are provided on an appointment-only basis by the Fort Detrick Richard Barquist Army Health Clinic. Services are offered here to active duty, active duty family members, military retirees and their retired family members. Emergency care in the area is available at Frederick Memorial Hospital, and requires TRICARE. There is also the option of using the VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) featuring:
- Outpatient primary care
- Well woman services
- Pharmacy services
- Laboratory services
Contact your TRICARE rep to discuss coverage options at Fort Detrick and network care provider options.
Childcare on post is handled by the Child Development Center, which features full-day and hourly care for children ages six weeks to kindergarten. Waiting lists may apply. All PCSing to Fort Detrick are directed to begin their childcare registration process by visiting MilitaryChildCare.com as soon as orders to Fort Detrick are in hand. You can also call the for assistance at (301) 619-3300.
If you are PCSing to Fort Detrick, track and manage your household goods shipments via the Defense Personal Property System at Move.mil, or you can get local assistance from the Fort Detrick Transportation Office at (301) 619-7179.
Dependent And Retiree ID Card Renewal, Replacement, New Issue
All ID card services at Fort Detrick are done at the Community Support Center. Walk-ins are discouraged and walk-in wait times can exceed two hours. All appointments should be scheduled online via the RAPIDS system. When you need ID card services, you will be required to provide two forms of unexpired ID, and at least one of those IDs may be required to meet REAL ID Act requirements. Call (301) 619-7311 for assistance.
Maryland schools run 180 days per year according to state law. There are many schools in the area, and parents may be in the district of Washington County Public Schools or the Waynesboro Area School district, depending on where they live.
To enroll a student in one of the local schools, parents will need to obtain an enrollment form from that school–contact the Fort Detrick School Liaison Office at 301-619-7143 for the required forms and more instructions.
Those who need to enroll a child in Kindergarten should know state law requires Pre-K students to be five years old by September 1, and to enter Kindergarten, the child’s fifth birthday must fall on or before 1 September of the school year. Children entering first grade in August must have completed public kindergarten.
Housing on-post is privatized and managed by Balfour Beatty Communities. All new arrivals are directed NOT to enter into legally binding agreements for housing until having processed through the Housing Services office.
According to the official site, new arrivals will apply for government housing after in-processing. Single or unaccompanied troops between the rank of E1 through E5 may be assigned on-post housing. Single or unaccompanied troops who are E6s “will be authorized basic allowance for housing (BAH) at the without dependent rate and will be required to reside off post.”
Furthermore, those who are “geographical bachelors” (those entitled to draw BAH at the with-dependent rate) voluntarily separated from their family members “are not authorized assignment to barracks” according to Army sources. Call (301) 619-3224 for assistance.
PCS and TDY Lodging
There is no temporary lodging on-post at Fort Detrick; Fort Detrick Army Lodging was closed permanently in 2004. Those PCSing or coming TDY to the area have in the past not been required to obtain statements of non-availability to be reimbursed for off-post lodging for this particular installation–check with your sponsor or the gaining command support staff to learn if there are procedures you must follow unique to your command when filing a travel voucher for this destination.
The closest airports to the Fort include:
- Frederick Municipal Airport
- Baltimore/Washington International
- Washington Dulles International
- Reagan National
The usual ride-sharing and commercial taxis and shuttles may be available depending on your time of arrival, tourist season, and other variables.
It’s best to make arrangements with your sponsor ahead of time to anticipate travel complications due to rush hour, construction, etc. This area of the country is notorious for long traffic jams during rush hour and other peak travel times–discuss your arrival at length with your sponsor.
Vehicle Registration And Driver’s License
As with most states, Maryland state law requires liability insurance and a valid driver’s license in order to operate a motor vehicle. Out-of-state military members on Temporary Duty (TDY) do not have to register vehicles from out of state but the registration for those vehicles must be current.
Permanent party military members are expected to register vehicles with the State of Maryland within one year.
The maximum speed for the installation is 25 MPH, with a further reduced speed (15 MPH) for housing areas. All vehicles must slow to 10 MPH when passing troop formations or those doing physical training. Hand-held cell phone use is not permitted while driving. Base decals are not required at Fort Detrick.