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Washington DC MTD
Fort George G. Meade

Fort George G. Meade


Fort Meade became an active Army installation in 1917. Authorized by an Act of Congress in May of 1917, it was one of 16 cantonments built for troops drafted for the war with the Central Powers in Europe. The present Maryland site was selected on June 23, 1917 because of its close proximity to the railroad, Baltimore port and Washington D.C. The Post was originally named Camp Meade for Major General George Gordon Meade, whose victory at the Battle of Gettysburg proved a major factor in turning the tide of the Civil War in favor of the North.


During World War I, more than 400,000 Soldiers passed through Fort Meade, a training site for three infantry divisions, three training battalions and one depot brigade. During World War I, the Post remount station collected over 22,000 horses and mules. Major Peter F. Meade, a nephew of General Meade, was the officer in charge of the remount station. In 1928, the Post was re-designated Fort Leonard Wood, but Pennsylvania congressmen, angry at removing the name of native son George Meade, held up Army appropriations until the Army agreed to name the new permanent installation Fort George G. Meade on March 5, 1929.


Fort Meade became a training center during World War II, its ranges and other facilities used by more than 200 units and approximately 3,500,000 men between 1942 and 1946. The wartime peak-military personnel figure at Fort Meade was reached in March 1945, with 70,000. In September 1943, the first shipment of 1,632 Italian and 58 German prisoners arrived at Fort Meade. Some of those prisoners, including a highly decorated German submarine commander named Werner Henke, died during their captivity and were buried at Fort Meade. Over 150,000 American women served in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) during World War II. Members of the WAC were the first women other than nurses to serve within the ranks of the United States Army.


In August 1990, Fort Meade began processing Army Reserve and National Guard units from several states for the presidential call-up in support of Operation Desert Shield. In addition to processing reserve and guard units, Fort Meade sent two of its own active duty units, the 85th Medical Battalion and the 519th Military Police Battalion, to Saudi Arabia. In all, approximately 2,700 personnel from 42 units deployed from Fort Meade during Operation Desert Shield/ Desert Storm.


Today, Fort Meade enables critical national security missions by providing its customers and community the facilities and infrastructure they require, the quality of life they deserve and a safe, secure environment in which to work and live. Fort Meade combined with the NSA is the largest employer in the State of Maryland and the fourth largest workforce of Army installations in the continental United States with approximately 40,000 military, civilian and contractor personnel. Fort Meade is also one of the largest joint service centers in the United States.


The primary mission at Fort Meade is to provide “base operations support for facilities and infrastructure, quality of life and protective services in support of Department of Defense activities and Federal agencies.” With this mission in mind, Fort Meade supports more than 78 partner organizations from all five branches on the military and to a number of federal agencies. Supported federal agencies include the National Security Agency, the Defense Information School, the Defense Courier Service and the U.S. Army Field Band.

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