Fort Myer

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Fort Myer
Arlington County, Virginia
HonorGuardTab1Bn3InfRegtTab.jpg
United States Army Military District of Washington Insignia.svg
Shoulder sleeve insignia of units stationed at Fort Myer
Type Military Base
Site information
Controlled by United States
Site history
Built 1861 (First as Fort Cass,[citation needed] and June 1863 as Fort Whipple)
In use 1861 – present
Battles/wars
Fort Myer Historic District
Orville Wright flying at Fort Myer, September 9, 1908
Location Arlington County, Virginia
Built 1887
Architect US Army
Architectural style Late Victorian
Governing body United States Army
NRHP Reference # 72001380
VLR # 000-0004
Significant dates
Added to NRHP November 28, 1972[2]
Designated NHLD November 28, 1972[3]
Designated VLR June 19, 1973[1]
Garrison information
Past
commanders
Colonel Fern O. Sumpter[4]
Garrison 3rd US Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard)
United States Army Band (Pershing's Own)

Fort Myer is a U.S. Army post adjacent to Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington County, Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. It is a small post by U.S. Army standards and has no ranges or field training areas. Fort Myer is home to the 3rd United States Infantry Regiment, the oldest infantry regiment in the United States Army.[5]

As a result of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) initiative to create more efficiency of efforts, the Army’s Fort Myer and the Marines’ Henderson Hall became the first Joint Base in the Department of Defense. Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall (JBMHH) consists of military installations at Fort Myer, Virginia, Crystal City, The Pentagon, Fort McNair, the District of Columbia, and Henderson Hall – Headquarters Marine Corps, Virginia. These installations and departments serve over 150,000 active duty, DoD civilian, and retired military personnel in the region.[6]

History[edit]

Fort Myer traces its origin to the American Civil War. It was originally established as Fort Whipple, after Brevet Major General Amiel Weeks Whipple, who died during the American Civil War in May 1863. Whipple Field was named in his honor. On Feb. 4, 1881, the post was renamed for Brigadier General Albert J. Myer, who established the Signal School of Instruction for Army and Navy Officers there in 1869. Since then it has been a Signal Corps post, a showcase for the US Army's cavalry, and, since the 1940s, home to the US Army's elite ceremonial units - The US Army Band ("Pershing's Own") and the US Army's 3d Infantry Regiment ("The Old Guard").

The National Weather Service was originated there by General Albert J. Myer in 1870.[7]

Fort Myer was the site of the first flight of an aircraft at a military installation. Several exhibition flights by Orville Wright took place there in 1908 and 1909. On September 18, 1908 it became the location of the first aviation fatality, as Lt. Thomas Selfridge was killed when on a demonstration flight with Orville, at an altitude of about 100 feet (30 m), a propeller split, sending the aircraft out of control. Selfridge suffered a concussion in the crash and later died, the first person to die in powered fixed-wing aircraft. Orville was badly injured, suffering broken ribs and a leg.

Quarters One on Fort Myer, which was originally built as the garrison commander's quarters, has been the home of the Chief of Staff of the United States Army since 1908 when Major General J. Franklin Bell took up residence. It has been the home of every succeeding Chief of Staff, except for General John J. Pershing.

The first radio telecommunications NAA was at Fort Myer in 1913. The US Navy built "The Three Sisters" which were three radio towers that established the first communication across the sea to Paris, France in 1915.[8]

During World War I, Fort Myer was a staging area for a large number of engineering, artillery, and chemical companies and regiments. The area of Fort Myer now occupied by Andrew Rader Health Clinic and the Commissary were made into a trench-system training grounds where French officers taught the Americans about trench warfare.

General George S. Patton Jr., who was posted at Fort Myer four different times, started the charitable "Society Circus" after WWI.[9] He ultimately was Post Commander and commanded the 3rd Cavalry Regiment that was stationed at Fort Myer from the 1920s to 1942 when the regiment was sent to Georgia to get mechanized.

In late 2001 troops deployed in response to the September 11th attacks were bivouacked at Fort Myer. These troops were under Operation Noble Eagle.[10] These included both active and National Guard Military Police units from around the nation. In 2005 the last remaining deployed responders were demobilized.[11]

Operations[edit]

Fort Myer is headquarters to service personnel working throughout the National Capital Region. The post provides housing, support, and services to thousands of active-duty, reserve, and retired military, members of the U.S. Coast Guard, and their families stationed in the United States Army Military District of Washington. The JBMHH’s mission is to operate the Army’s community[clarification needed] and support Homeland Security in the nation’s capital.

Stationed here are: The First and Fourth battalions of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, (The Old Guard) — and since August 2011, 'A' Company (Commander in Chief's Guard), which was stationed at Fort McNair, D.C; The U.S. Army Band “Pershing's Own”; the grave site of Black Jack, the riderless horse in the state funerals of General of the Army Douglas MacArthur and U.S. Presidents John F. Kennedy, Herbert Hoover, and Lyndon B. Johnson, is located on Summerall Field, 200 feet (61 m) northeast of the parade ground's flagpole.

Due to its proximity to Arlington National Cemetery, this is also the base of operations for most Services' Honor Guards and burial teams. A large percentage of burials in Arlington National Cemetery originate from Old Post Chapel, one of the two chapels on Fort Myer.[citation needed] Visitors are also given access to the caissons, stables and the Old Guard Museum. Black Jack, the riderless horse that rode in the funeral procession for John F. Kennedy, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and others, is buried on the grounds near the stables.[5]

The military's largest child development center, named the Cody Child Development Center (CDC), is located here.[citation needed]

Commemorative[edit]

It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. On September 1, 1970, the United States Postal Service issued its first day cover of a postcard celebrating the 100th anniversary of Weather Services at Fort Myer.

On June 13, 2011, the first book written about this US Army Post was published, "Images of America - Fort Myer", which contains a newly found, first-time published note from Abraham Lincoln which established the connection with General Whipple.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Virginia Landmarks Register". Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Retrieved 05-12-2013. 
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  3. ^ "Fort Myer Historic District". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-06-26. 
  4. ^ "Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall". Jbmhh.army.mil. Retrieved 2014-01-11. 
  5. ^ a b Judy Colbert (14 October 2008). Virginia Off the Beaten Path: A Guide to Unique Places. Globe Pequot. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-7627-4881-5. Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  6. ^ "Myer-Henderson Hall | The United States Army". Jbmhh.army.mil. Retrieved 2014-01-11. 
  7. ^ Grice, Ed., Gary K. "THE BEGINNING OF THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE: THE SIGNAL YEARS (1870 - 1891) AS VIEWED BY EARLY WEATHER PIONEERS; Chapter: Evolution to the Signal Service Years (1600-1891)". NOAA's National Weather Service Public Affairs Office. Retrieved 4 January 2014. 
  8. ^ "ARL-030". Virginia Historical Marker. Retrieved December 13, 2013. 
  9. ^ Michael, John (20 April 2011). "Society Circus on Fort Myer Virginia Between Wars". Ft. Myer, VA: historic-fortmyer.com. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  10. ^ Operation Noble Eagle
  11. ^ Campbell, Jeffrey. "Specialist". 144th Military Police Company. Department of Defense. Retrieved 2 June 2011. 
  12. ^ Michael, John (1 Jan 2010). "About Historic Fort Myer Virginia". Ft. Myer, VA: historic-fortmyer.com. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 

Coordinates: 38°52′49″N 77°04′47″W / 38.880343°N 77.079735°W / 38.880343; -77.079735

External links[edit]