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Fort Detrick Base Guide

Fort Detrick is located in Frederick, Maryland, and employs approximately 10,000 service members and federal employees. The area is known for its opportunities in biomedical technology careers both on and off base and easy access to major metro areas, including Baltimore, Washington D.C., and Alexandria, Virginia. Find need-to-know info for Fort Detrick, including contacts, units, schools, housing, transportation, child care, and colleges.

Surrounding Area

The Fort Detrick community is near the urban centers of Baltimore, Washington D.C., and Alexandria, Virginia. The area is prominent in biomedical technology careers. Because of the proximity to larger cities, many historical sites, museums and tours are available throughout the year. Many natural areas are also open to visits for those who prefer the outdoors. Recreational attractions in the area include but are not limited to:

  • Gambrill State Park
  • Woodstock Tower Observation Site
  • Fort Frederick State Park
  • Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Site
  • Fort Stevens
  • Fort DeRussy
  • National Museum of the United States Army
  • Fort Garrison

Mission and Units

Fort Detrick supports biomedical research and development, and communication. The fort is the center of a multi-department community, bringing in skills from US Army Medical Research and Development and the 21st Signal Brigade. Fort Detrick has ties to medical developments for The Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Agriculture, Department of Homeland Security and Department of Health and Human Services. Important missions and units include:

  • 114th. Signal Battalion
  • 21st. Signal Brigade
  • 302nd. Signal Bn.
  • 53rd. Space Operations Squadron/Space Force/previously USASA Detrick
  • 6th. Medical Logistics Management Center/6MLMC
  • Air Force Medical Readiness Agency
  • Barquist Army Dental Clinic (DENTAC)
  • Barquist Army Health Clinic / BAHC
  • Co. B, 4th LAR Bn. (Marines)
  • National Center for Medical Intelligence
  • Naval Medical Readiness Logistics Command Detachment (NMLRC)
  • US Army Garrison (USAG) Fort Detrick
  • US Army Medical Materiel Agency (USAMMA)
  • US Army Medical Materiel Development Activity (USAMMDA)
  • US Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity (USAMRAA)
  • US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID)
  • US Army Medical Research and Development Command (USAMRDC)
  • Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR)

In-Processing and Check-In

Recent arrivals at Fort Detrick should consider their status upon arrival. Army service members should report first to their sponsor and then to the Military Support Center on Freedman Drive for in-processing during regular business hours. Bring orders, a DA 31 Leave form, and a current ID. The Military Support Center can be reached at (301) 619-2197.

Naval service members should first go to the Naval Medical Logistics Command on Nelson Street to begin checking in. Intelligence arrivals should report to the Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center Personnel Office on Porter Street.

In regards to housing, single service members should bring their orders as well as earning statements. All arrivals who need to rent a property off base should also report to the Housing Office on Freedman Drive after check-in for housing consultations.

Child Care

For children of active duty service members and Department of Defense, civilian employees, childcare services are available for children ages six weeks to five years old. Full or part-time child care and hourly options are available as well.

School-aged children can receive after-school care at School Age Program facilities. The Child Development Center at Fort Detrick can be reached for questions and requests at (301) 619-3300. School Age Services for older children can be reached at (301) 619-2910.

Housing

During in-processing, you may have already reached out to the housing office. The Housing Service Office is available to help find appropriate housing for service members both on and off post.

Located at 1520 Freeman Drive, Suite 226 on base, it is open during standard business hours. Balfour Beatty Communities manages housing at this facility. For information about Balfour Beatty Communities, availability and application needs, call (240) 379-6410.

The Army Barracks Management Program helps single service members find barracks housing with building managers. The Housing Service Office has information on the local community, resources, and how to find the best fit for families and service members alike. The Housing Service Office can be reached at (301) 619-3224.

Related: Basic Allowance for Housing Calculator

Commissary

1510 Porter Street
Fort Detrick, MD 21702
(301) 619-2990

The Commissary at Fort Detrick offers staple supplies to facilitate life on base. Standard grocery items are stocked here ready for daily shopping. For special orders from the deli, bakery or produce, reach out to the commissary to create custom orders in advance.

PCS and TDY Lodging

Currently, there is no on-base temporary lodging at Fort Detrick. Local options may include:

Fort Detrick does, however, have a doggie daycare. Pets must be fully vaccinated to use the facility. To kennel your pet, call (301) 619-3950.

Transportation

New arrivals entering Fort Detrick can use the Baltimore/Washington International, Washington Dulles International or Reagan National Airport. They are all about 50 miles from the base. Both Baltimore/Washington International and Reagan National Airports have USOs to help you with your arrival and transition.

Shuttle service from the airport will cost anywhere from $50-150 dollars from the airport. The shuttle picks up at baggage claim at BWI Airport and DCA. Ask at the Information Desk for the pickup site at IAD. Greyhound Bus service. MARC train service and taxi service are other arrival options. However, they may be more expensive and require reservations.

If you drive your vehicle, head north on I-270 from Washington DC until you find Route 15 North. Follow signs to Fort Detrick from Route 15. From Baltimore, hop on I-70 West until you reach 15 North, and then follow signs to the main gate.

When you arrive at this closed post, be sure to have your CAC Card, ID, driver’s license, registration and insurance when you stop at the visitors center to access Fort Detrick.

Vehicle Registration And Driver’s License

A vehicle decal is no longer a requirement to enter Fort Detrick. Provide your federal ID to enter. Vehicle registration, however, must happen with the state within 30 days of relocation, including vehicles belonging to dependents.

While on the post, no cellular use is allowed while driving unless hands-free. The maximum speed at Fort Detrick is 25 mph, and only 15 mph when passing housing zones. Seatbelts must be worn at all times. In addition, small children under 40 pounds must be secured in a child safety seat in the back seat. Failure to obey these laws will result in traffic fines.

Motorcycle drivers must pass a motorcycle safety course before being allowed to ride and must always wear protective gear.  If you are involved in any traffic accident, report the incident to the Provost Marshal’s Office.

Schools at Fort Detrick

Children of service members stationed at Fort Detrick will attend Frederick County Public Schools. Bus service for students who live 2 miles away is provided for grades Pre-Kindergarten through 12th.

For registration to Frederick County Public Schools, provide proof of residence, proof of child immunizations, the child’s social security number, any relevant prior school records, parent ID, and any information on the child’s medical needs. For questions, Frederick County Public Schools can be contacted at (301) 664-5000. The Fort Detrick School Liaison Officer should be the first point of contact at (301) 619-3247.

County schools are plentiful in the area. Some potential schools for service member children include:

  • Ballenger Creek
  • Deer Crossing
  • Green Valley
  • Lewistown
  • Middletown
  • Monocacy Valley Montessori
  • North Frederick
  • Parkway
  • Thurmont Primary
  • Ubana
  • Waverley
  • Wolfsville
  • Brunswick
  • Linganore
  • Walkersville
  • Crestwood
  • New Market
  • Oakdale
  • Windsor Knolls
  • Heather Ridge
  • Rock Creek School (Special Needs School)

Colleges and Universities

Fort Detrick service members can attend in-person classes at local colleges and universities, including Frederick Community College, Hood College, Mount St. Mary’s University, McDaniel College, and Hagerstown Community College. However, if the program you need is unavailable at these institutions, consider taking distance courses through the University of Maryland University College for graduate and undergraduate classes.

Distance learning courses can be taken worldwide. The Installation Education Center can direct you on how to find the program and institution you need to further your education and career, especially in the fields of biomedical research and medicine, including continuing education for military spouses and dependents.

Related: Ultimate GI Bill Guide

Contacts

1520 Freedman Drive, Room 125
Fort Detrick, MD 21702
(301) 619-2197

  • Adult Education Center (301) 619-2854
  • Barracks/Single Service Member Housing (301) 619-3224
  • Child Development Center (301) 319-5532
  • Commissary (301) 619-2990
  • Family Child Development Homes (301) 619-3246
  • Housing Office (301) 619-3224
  • ID/CAC Card Processing (301) 619-7311
  • School Age Care (301) 619-2901
  • School Liaison (301) 619-7143
  • Welcome Center (301) 619-0101
  • Youth Programs (301) 619-2901

Related: Ultimate Military Benefits Guide

Base History

Fort Detrick first became recognized for its military efforts in the 1930s when the Maryland National Guard settled the 104th Aero Squadron at the location. The site was given the name to honor Surgeon Major Frederick L. Detrick, who served in Belgium in World War I before participating in the 29th Division Air Service. He finished his career as a surgeon at Johns Hopkins University Hospital.

Later, in 1943 and into the 1950s, Fort Detrick was utilized for biomedical research after establishing Biological Laboratories. These efforts broke boundaries in decontamination, gaseous sterilization, and agent purification.

These achievements continue to date as the site serves as a hub for advanced biomedical research and development, medical materiel management, and long-haul telecommunications for the White House, Department of Defense, and other governmental agencies.

World War II brought new threats to the nation and its service members, including biological warfare. At the Camp Detrick laboratory, tools and procedures were developed to prevent and protect from such threats.

In 1969, the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases was established on-site, addressing more modern threats. In 1971, Fort Detrick was the site of the new U.S. Department of Agriculture. In 1978, the US Army Research and Development Command Headquarters moved to Fort Detrick as well.

Today, Fort Detrick continues to support medical developments for U.S. military branches and missions worldwide.

About the author

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Kena Sosa is an award-winning author, filmmaker and percussionist. She
earned her BA from OLLU and her MBEGT from SMU. She published two
award-winning children’s books. Kena has written for CBS/DFW Local and
Multicultural Review Magazine. She was the Guest Editor for the Fall/Winter
2023 ChildArt Magazine issue. Kena has written for Recon Media since 2023.