Fort Detrick is a U.S. Army Medical Command center in Maryland. It started as the home for the U.S. Army Biological Warfare Laboratories (USBWL) in 1943.
For the next couple decades, it would serve as home for some of the United State’s chemical warfare testing. Especially during World War 2, biological warfare research was the primary purpose of Fort Detrick.
After WW2, the government expanded Fort Detrick and continued testing of chemical weapons. Starting in the 1940s, human volunteers were used for research, including many Seventh-day Adventists who were conscientious objectors during the war.
The post officially became Fort Detrick in 1956 as chemical research continued. In 1969, President Nixon signed a treaty banning testing of chemical weapons by the United States, which changed the focus dramatically for Fort Detrick.
Today, around 5,000 people still work at Fort Detrick. In 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency named it one of the most polluted places on the planet. It still plays an important role in the local economy however. Today, Fort Detrick is home to the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command and the many units under them. In addition the US Department of Homeland Security’s National Bioforensic Analysis Center is located at Fort Detrick.