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The History of Fort George G. Meade
The History of Fort George G. Meade
Old Photo of Fort Meade Photo of General George G. Meade

Fort George G. Meade became an Army installation in 1917. Authorized by an Act of Congress in May 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. Actual construction began in July. The first contingent of troops arrived here that September. 

The post was originally named Camp Meade for Major General George Gordon Meade, whose defensive strategy 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 100,000 men passed through Fort Meade, a training site for three infantry divisions, three training battalions and one depot brigade.

In 1928, when the post was renamed Fort Leonard Wood, Pennsylvanians registered such a large protest that the installation was permanently named Fort George G. Meade on March 5, 1929. This action was largely the result of a rider attached to the Regular Army Appropriation Act by a member of the House of Representatives from the Keystone State. 

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--70,000. 

With the conclusion of World War II, Fort Meade reverted to routine peacetime activities, but was later to return to build-up status. Many crises, including Korea, West Berlin and Cuba, along with Vietnam-related problems, were to come. 

One key post-World War II event at Fort Meade was the transfer from Baltimore, on June 15, 1947, of the Second U.S. Army Headquarters. This transfer brought an acceleration of post activity, because Second Army Headquarters exercised command over Army units throughout a then seven-state area.  A second important development occurred on January 1, 1966, when the Second U.S. Army merged with the First U.S. Army. The consolidated headquarters moved from Fort Jay, N.Y. to Fort Meade to administer activities of Army installations in a 15-state area.  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 provides support and services for more than 50 tenant units which include the Defense Information School Headquarters, the U.S. Army Field Band, and the National Security Agency

Find additional information about Fort Meade at the Fort Meade Museum

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