U.S. Army Garrison Devens Reserve Training Area Guide
Devens Reserve Forces Training Area, Massachusetts
Devens Reserve Forces Training Area is an Army base located across two towns (Ayer and Shirley) and both Middlesex County and Worcester County in New England,
As the name implies, Devens Reserve Forces Training Area (RFTA) is a training facility that supports the National Guard and Reserve. This base provides locations and support for tenant and transient training activities. Military exercises, deployment operations, and Guard/Reserve training support are the primary missions here.
Today, many people refer to Devens RFTA generically as “Fort Devens,” but the official name is the U.S. Army Garrison Devens Reserve Training Area. Learn more about Devens RFTA, including information about base services, history, child care, local schools, and more.
Devens Reserve Forces Training Area History
This area began in 1917 as Camp Devens, created as a temporary headquarters for training those headed into combat during World War One. In 1930, the base was redesignated as Fort Devens.
At the start of World War Two, Fort Devens was used as a processing center for New England draftees. Fort Devens would also serve as a World War Two POW camp to detain “enemy aliens,” meaning those born into Italian, German, and Japanese families at the time.
Fast forward to the sixties, with Fort Devens becoming the home of the 10th Special Forces Group Airborne from 1968 until a move to Fort Carson, Colorado in 1995. Come 1996, Fort Devens was closed in 1996.
But like many other American bases, the closure didn’t last long. It was reactivated in 2007, and in 2011, a new Reserve Center was dedicated, covering 57 acres of the original base.
Today, the Army Reserve still operates on this portion of Devens RFTA, with other organizations also using some of the original training site including a prison support facility called Federal Medical Center.
Devens RFTA Surrounding Area
As the Welcome message on the Devens RFTA official site notes, the base is adjacent to Ayer, Harvard, Shirley, and Lancaster communities.
All share borders with the installation. Property in the area is typically rural and residential, but there are industrial operations in nearby cities, including Worcester, Fitchburg, and Leominster.
Devens is a reserve installation but partners with nearby Hanscom Air Force Base base housing, schools, and family support services such as Child Development Centers and after-school programs.
The most important thing to know about Devens RFTA is that this is an expensive area of the country to live in, and you may qualify for a Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) if you are assigned here.
The closer you get to Boston, the higher the cost of living in this part of the country. It’s smart to research local expenses for housing, childcare, insurance, rent, and real estate long before you move.
Devens RFTA Mission and Units
Devens RFTA is a training ground, and the primary mission here is” building and sustaining combat readiness.” Devens RFTA supports some 130,000 troops annually on approximately 4,800 acres, with 26 large training areas and 25 firing ranges.
Important tenant units at Devens include, but are not limited to:
- 11th Battalion, 98th Regiment
- 174th Infantry Brigade, First Army Division East
- 1st BN 25th Marines
- 2200 Military Intel Readiness
- 325th Expeditionary Military Intelligence Battalion
- 401st CM CO#6th Battalion, 98th Regiment
- 7th Battalion, 98th Regiment
- 826th Military Intelligence Battalion
- 99th RSC East#A. Co.
- 1/304th Regiment, 98th Division
- Army Reserve Career Division 1st Battalion
- Det 1, 3200th Strategic Intelligence Group
- HQ 25th Marine Regiment
- TASS Training Center
- U.S. Army CID, Major Procurement Fraud Unit
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – New England District
In-Processing and Check-In
All new arrivals are directed to check in with their command support staff. You will pass through a 100% ID check at the front gate when you arrive.
All IDs, including driver’s licenses, vehicle registration, and military IDs, must be current and unexpired. Expect to hand-carry your inprocessing documents to your check-in unless directed by your gaining unit.
Devens RFTA PCS and TDY Lodging
Contact the Devens RFTA Billeting Office at (978) 615-6054 to make reservations for PCS or TDY travel to the base.
Fort Devens Child Care
There is no childcare offered at Fort Devens. Hanscom Air Force Base operates a Child Development Center (call 781-225-5640), but be advised that those who live and work on the base have priority.
Fort Devens Housing
There is no government housing on Fort Devens. Army.mil advises, “Contact the Relocation Office at Army Community Service located at 61 Quebec Street, telephone 978-796-3119 for rental information.”
Government housing is available at nearby Hanscom Air Force Base (23 miles away) and at Natick Soldier Systems Center (40 miles away). Contact these bases to learn more.
Devens RFTA Commissary
There is no Commissary at Devens RFTA. The nearest Commissary is at Hanscom Air Force Base, which is approximately 23 miles away from Devens.
Fort Devens Transportation
The nearest major airports to Devens RFTA is Worcester (ORH) Airport (23 miles), Manchester (MHT) (28 miles), and Boston (BOS) (33 miles). The usual ride-sharing, commercial taxis, and shuttles may be available depending on when you arrive and other variables. Coordinate your arrival with your gaining unit for best results.
Vehicle Registration And Driver’s License
Your ID, license, title, and registration must all be valid to operate a privately owned vehicle at Devens. Furthermore, you are required to apply for a Devens Installation Access Badge by completing this form and submitting it to the Devens ID Card section. Call them at (978) 615-6140 to learn more about this process.
Army.mil notes 59 public schools and 12 private schools in North Central Massachusetts. This area features a school choice program allowing students to attend a public school in the town of their choice rather than having attendance selected by zip code. Local schools include, but are not limited to:
- Applewild Preschool
- Guild of St. Agnes Early Education and Care
- Evergreen Garden
- Francis W. Parker Center
Fort Devens Colleges and Universities
Fort Devens is served by the Army Education Center, Building 680, 43 Quebec Street. You can discuss your needs with the Education Services Specialist at 978-615-6247. This center provides education support for soldiers in all the New England States. Services include but may not be limited to:
- Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES)
- Testing including CLEP, ACT, SAT
- AARTS Transcripts
- Veterans Education Benefits information
- Army Personnel Testing
Related: Ultimate GI Bill Guide
Devens RFTA Contacts
Devens Reserve Forces Training Area
31 Quebec Street
Building 679, Box 1
Fort Devens, MA 01434-4479
- (DSN) 312-256-2126
Important Devens RFTA Contact Numbers
- Command (978) 615-6500
- Police/Fire/Medical (978) 615-6067
- Public Affairs Office (978) 615-6153
- Training Scheduling (978) 615-6057/6056
- Billeting (978) 615-6054
- Training Aids Support Center (TASC) (978) 615-6060/6061
- Range Control (978) 615-6071
- Army Community Services (978) 615-6278
- ID Card (978) 615-6140
- AAFES (978) 772-6838
Related: Ultimate Military Benefits Guide.
You can also review our complete list of Military Bases By State.
About the author
Editor-in-Chief Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.