The United States Army Military District of Washington (MDW) is one of nineteen major commands of the United States Army. Its headquarters are located at Fort Lesley J. McNair in Washington, D.C. The missions of the units in the Military District of Washington include ceremonial tasks as well as a combat role in the defense of the National Capital Region.
|United States Army Military District of Washington|
|Active||12 March 1862–1869, 1921-present|
|Branch||United States Army|
|Garrison/HQ||Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.|
|Nickname(s)||Guardian of the Nation's Capital|
("This We Guard")
|Major General Allan M. Pepin|
|Harry H. Bandholtz|
John T. Cole
|Distinctive unit insignia|
Besides Fort McNair, the following installations are included under the umbrella of the MDW's command:
The Military District of Washington also represents the U.S. Army in the Joint Force Headquarters National Capital Region (JFHQ-NCR), as well as oversight of all ceremonial operations in Arlington National Cemetery.
The current Commanding General of the Military District of Washington is Major General Allan M. Pepin. The Military District of Washington Chief of Staff, and liaison to the JFHQ-NCR, is Colonel Gregory B. Beaudoin. The Commanding General, Chief of Staff, and Command Sergeant Major of the Military District of Washington hold the same positions at the JFHQ-NCR, which supervises military planning for the defense of the National Capital Region.
The MDW can trace its origin back to the American Civil War when it was formed on March 12, 1862, as the Military District of Washington, and it included the areas of the District of Columbia, Alexandria, Virginia, and Fort Washington, Maryland. It was first under the command of Bvt. Major General James S. Wadsworth. It became part of the Department of Washington under the 22nd Army Corps on February 2, 1863 and it was disbanded in 1869.
The MDW was reformed in 1921 when the War Department created the District of Washington. Today MDW is one of the Army's major commands. Its installations include Fort McNair, the nation's third-oldest military post still in use, and Fort Myer, Gen. Philip Sheridan's cavalry showplace and site of the first military aircraft flight.
The District of Washington initially included Fort Washington, Md., Fort Hunt, Va., the District of Columbia and Fort Myer. With the dissolution of the District of Washington in 1927, the commanding general of the 16th Infantry Brigade at Fort Hunt became responsible for conducting military ceremonies and administering discipline to service members in the nation's capital.
In 1942, about five months after the U.S. entered World War II, the War Department created the U.S. Army Military District of Washington to plan for a ground defense of the nation's capital.
MDW was headquartered during those years in "temporary" buildings at Gravelly Point, Virginia., near Washington National Airport. It moved to Second Street, S.W., in Washington, D.C., in the early 1960s, and to its present headquarters at Fort Lesley J. McNair in 1966.
During the World War II era, MDW was gradually reorganized as a service-and-support command. One of MDW's main responsibilities was servicing the newly built Pentagon through the Army Headquarters commandant. The United States Army Band, "Pershing's Own," also became an integral part of the command's ceremonial mission during this period.
At the end of World War II, the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) was deactivated in Germany. This regiment, the oldest U.S. infantry unit, was reactivated in 1948 and assigned to MDW to meet the command's tactical commitments and for military ceremonies.
Although MDW's mission has remained the same, it has gained, lost and regained various installations and support responsibilities over the years. Vint Hill Farms and Arlington Hall Station, both in Virginia, and Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., were once part of MDW. Cameron Station and Davison Army Airfield, near Fort Belvoir, joined MDW in the 1950s.
In 1980 MDW gained responsibility for the administration and daily operation of Arlington National Cemetery, in addition to the ceremonial support the command has always provided.
In 1987 MDW's support responsibilities for the Pentagon were transferred elsewhere. Fort Belvoir became a major subordinate command in 1988.
In 1992 Davison Aviation Command was reorganized as the Operational Support Airlift Command, with responsibilities for fixed-wing Army aircraft support throughout the United States. Additionally, they provide rotary-wing (helicopter) support to Army leadership and distinguished officials in the National Capital Region.
In April 1993, MDW reorganized its MACOM staff and the Fort Myer Military Community formed a garrison staff to support Forts Myer and McNair, and Cameron Station.
On 1 October 1993, Fort Meade, and Fort Ritchie in Maryland, and A.P. Hill in Virginia joined the MDW family of installations. The command more than doubled in size as MDW went from four posts totaling 9,802 acres (39.67 km2) to eight posts totaling 91,889 acres (371.86 km2). The number of service members and civilians on MDW installations also increased from 16,166 to 61,531.
Cameron Station officially closed on 30 September 1995. Most of the organizations were relocated to either Fort Belvoir or Fort Myer.
Fort Hamilton, New York, became the newest member of MDW's family of installations when it was transferred to MDW from U.S. Army Forces Command 6 October 1997. The post is 172 years old.
On 10 June 2010, Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh rescinded MDW's responsibility for the administration and daily operation of Arlington National Cemetery. However, MDW still maintains ceremonial support for funerals and guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Since its inception in 1942, the Military District of Washington has been involved in protecting and staging special event ceremonies. These ceremonies include inauguration ceremonies starting with Franklin Roosevelt's 4th inauguration on 20 January 1945. the MDW is also responsible for state funerals. They include anyone within Washington who is granted a state funeral. This includes former Presidents, Senators, Representatives, and other dignitaries. The MDW is extensively involved in the planning of and execution of a state funeral including advice and consent from the family and ceremonial support outside of Washington. The latter included a state funeral held for Richard Nixon held in the shadow of his boyhood home when he died following a stroke in April 1994.
Current units commanded by the district include;
This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (July 2021)
|Portrait||Name||Took office||Left office||Term length|
James S. Wadsworth
|17 March 1862||7 September 1862||174 days|
Harry Hill Bandholtz
|1921||1923||~2 years, 0 days|
John T. Lewis
|14 May 1942||6 September 1944||2 years, 115 days|
Charles F. Thompson
|6 September 1944||14 July 1945||311 days|
Robert N. Young
|14 July 1945||15 June 1946||336 days|
Claude B. Ferenbaugh
|15 June 1946||6 November 1947||1 year, 144 days|
Hobart R. Gay
|6 November 1947||6 August 1949||1 year, 273 days|
John T. Cole
|6 August 1949||28 February 1950||173 days|
Thomas W. Herren
|1 March 1950||8 March 1952||2 years, 7 days|
Edwin K. Wright
|8 March 1952||26 February 1954||1 year, 355 days|
John H. Stokes Jr.
|15 April 1954||5 February 1956||1 year, 296 days|
John G. Van Houten
|6 February 1956||May 1959||~3 years, 84 days|
Charles K. Gailey Jr.
|May 1959||May 1961||~2 years, 0 days|
Paul A. Gavan
|May 1961||July 1963||~2 years, 61 days|
Philip C. Wehle
|August 1963||August 1965||~2 years, 0 days|
Curtis J. Herrick
|2 October 1965||31 May 1967||1 year, 241 days|
Charles S. O'Malley Jr.
|1 June 1967||1 September 1969||2 years, 92 days|
Roland M. Gleszer
|1 September 1969||April 1972||~2 years, 213 days|
James B. Adamson
|1 May 1972||12 November 1973||1 year, 195 days|
Frederic E. Davison
|12 November 1973||22 September 1974||314 days|
Ronald J. Fairfield Jr.
|22 September 1974||1 August 1975||313 days|
Robert G. Yerks
|1 August 1975||15 July 1977||1 year, 348 days|
Kenneth E. Dohleman
|1 August 1977||1979||~2 years, 0 days|
|1979||1981||~2 years, 0 days|
Jerry R. Curry
|1981||1983||~2 years, 0 days|
John L. Ballantyne III
|1983||1986||~3 years, 0 days|
Donald C. Hilbert
|1986||1990||~4 years, 0 days|
William F. Streeter
|1990||20 May 1993||~3 years, 0 days|
Fred A. Gorden
|20 May 1993||29 August 1995||2 years, 101 days|
Robert F. Foley
|29 August 1995||13 August 1998||2 years, 349 days|
Robert R. Ivany
|13 August 1998||28 July 2000||1 year, 350 days|
James T. Jackson
|28 July 2000||2003||~3 years, 0 days|
Galen B. Jackman
|2003||21 July 2005||~2 years, 0 days|
Guy C. Swan III
|21 July 2005||5 June 2007||1 year, 319 days|
Richard J. Rowe Jr.
|5 June 2007||23 June 2009||2 years, 18 days|
Karl R. Horst
|23 June 2009||3 June 2011||1 year, 345 days|
|3 June 2011||24 June 2013||2 years, 21 days|
Jeffrey S. Buchanan
|24 June 2013||9 June 2015||1 year, 350 days|
|9 June 2015||28 April 2017||1 year, 323 days|
Michael L. Howard
|28 April 2017||4 June 2019||2 years, 37 days|
|4 June 2019||8 June 2021||2 years, 4 days|
|8 June 2021||Incumbent||349 days|