The complete guide to Aberdeen Proving Ground - We Are The Mighty
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The complete guide to Aberdeen Proving Ground

Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) in Maryland is one of the lesser-known Army installations. That’s probably because it’s largely an R&D installation. It’s also home to nearly 80 tenant commands and hosts satellite operations and commercial activities, too. Aberdeen focuses on five core areas – public health and medical research, testing and evaluation, research and development, Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives (CBRNE), and efforts relating to the Army Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Sensors and Reconnaissance Team (C4ISR). Speaking of bio attacks, these are the Marines that go right in after chem warfare.

Overview

Aberdeen is definitely not a military town, which makes this a unique duty installation. The town boasts a booming tech sector and all the warmth and community you might expect from a small town. That means there’s a low cost of living. That’s to say nothing of the strategic location between Washington, D.C. and New York make it ideal for nearly everyone. In fact, Aberdeen has excellent schools, a lower-than-average cost of living, and plenty of entertainment options. Of course, there’s so much more to love about the area too, including 140 miles of scenic shores, over 6,600 acres of state parks, and closeness to everything you might need. 

Aberdeen Proving Ground Location

Located in Harford County, Aberdeen is adjacent to the I-95 corridor.  

Directions

Take I-95 West to I-695 toward Baltimore. Then, merge onto MD-295N. Next, take the Harbor Tunnel Thruway. This becomes I-95. Next, take exit 80 to merge onto Md-543 S. Finally, turn right to enter the main gate. 

Transportation

Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) is the closest airport to Aberdeen Proving Ground. 

If BWI isn’t accessible, you might explore arriving at Washington Dulles International Airport located in Dulles, Virginia or Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia. 

Train transportation is available using MARC Train services. Amtrak offers regional and express service to Aberdeen as well. 

medical training
Aberdeen Proving Grounds firefighters preform CPR on a simulated patient during a downed aircraft exercise at Aberdeen Proving Ground – Edgewood Area on July 29, 2022. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Tom Lamb)

Gates and Hours

APG has two access regions – APG North and APG South. Each of these regions includes two gates. The Visitor Control Center is located at the Main Gate.

Harford Blvd Gate, Monday – Sunday 0500 – 2400

Maryland Blvd Gate – Main Gate, 24/7

Route 24, Hoadley Rd Gate 24/7

Wise Rd Gate, Monday – Friday 0600 – 1800

Contacts at Aberdeen Proving Ground

APG School Liaison (410) 278-2857

Army Emergency Relief (410) 278-2453

Auto Craft Center (410) 278-5178

Badging Office (410) 306-2380

Barber Shop (APG North) (410) 272-7886

Barracks/Single Service Member Housing (410) 306-2012

Base Operator (410) 278-5201

Beauty Shop / Exchange Service (410) 272-6396

Carlson Wagon Lit Travel – Official (410) 273-1100

Central Registration/Resource and Referral (410) 278-7479

Chapels (410) 278-4333

Child Development Center (APG North) (410) 278-5748

Civilian Personnel Office (410) 278-1583

Clothing Sales (APG North) (410) 272-6828

Commissary Officer (410) 278-3101

Dental Clinic (APG North) (410) 278-1795

Education Center (410) 306-2042

EFMP Enrollment (410) 278-5475

EFMP Family Support (410) 278-2420

Employment Readiness Program – ACS (410) 278-2435

Exchange (410) 278-5784

Finance – DFAS (410) 306-2364

Fire & Emergency Services (410) 306-0501

Garrison Library (410) 278-3417

Health Benefits Advisor-TRICARE (410) 278-1724

Hospital/Medical Treatment Facility (410) 278-5475

Housing Office (410) 306-2002

ID/CAC Card Processing (410) 306-2353

KIRK U. S. Army Health Clinic (410) 278-5475

Legal Services/JAG (410) 278-1583

MP Desk (410) 306-2222

MWR Leisure Travel Services (410) 278-4907

MWR Operations Team (410) 306-4522

Operator (410) 306-1403

Personnel Support Office (410) 306-2333

Shoppette (410) 278-2857

Thrift Store (APG North) (410) 272-8572

Transition Assistance Program (410) 306-2320

Transportation Office Inbound /Outbound (410) 306-2056

Troop Store (APG South) (410) 612-9306

Unaccompanied Member Housing (410) 306-3074

VA Facilities Perry Point VA Medical Center (410) 642-2411

Veterinary Treatment Facility (410) 278-3911

Welcome/Visitors Center (410) 278-2330

Youth Programs/Sports (410) 306-2297

maryland state police
The Maryland State Police land a Leonardo AW139 helicopter to airlift a simulated patient during a downed aircraft exercise at Aberdeen Proving Ground – Edgewood Area on July 29, 2022. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Tom Lamb)

Mission and Units

Aberdeen’s mission is to provide test and test support services in both real and simulated training environments. It also aims to provide expert knowledge and tech services while developing leading edge instrumentation and testing methodologies.

Major commands at APG include the 20th CBRNE Command Army Contracting Command – Aberdeen Proving Ground (ACC-APG). You’ll also find the Army Evaluation Center (AEC), the Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity (AMSAA), the Army Research Laboratory (ARL), and the Army Test & Evaluation Command (ATEC). 

Aberdeen Proving Ground History

APG traces its history to 1917. America needed facilities to test war munitions. However, the Sandy Hook Proving Ground was incapable of further expansion. Demands for testing increased so the Secretary of War asked Sandy Hook’s commanding officer, Col. Colden Ruggles, to find a new location to test munitions.

Of course, the qualifications for a new proving ground were specific. It needed to be near a major industrial and manufacturing center, but far enough away from civilians so year-round testing wouldn’t be an issue. Enter the Chesapeake Bay and what we now know as the Aberdeen Proving Ground.

Initially, the site was all farmland. However, farmers were reluctant to leave. It ended up taking a Congressional act and two presidential proclamations to get them to abandon the land that would become Aberdeen. Farmers eventually received $200 an acre and resettled in other parts of Maryland. 

The War Department took formal possession of the land in October, 1917. Testing began at once.

Since then, the name of the installation and its central focus has adapted to fit the needs of the nation’s defense. These days, Aberdeen’s mission has evolved to keep pace with the changing landscape of war. 

aberdeen band
Soldiers from the 229th and 287th U.S. Army bands play during a change of command ceremony at the Myer Auditorium on Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.

Things to Do Around Aberdeen Proving Ground

Annapolis, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and even New York are all within reach when you call Aberdeen home! That’s to say nothing of the majestic Chesapeake Bay area.            

Hotels

Its ideal location means that there are several hotels near Aberdeen. 

BaySide Inn & Suites (410) 272-3666

Hilton Garden Inn Aberdeen (410) 272-1777

Holiday Inn Express Aberdeen-Chesapeake House (410) 272-8100

Home2 Suites by Hilton (410) 272-0203

La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Aberdeen-APG (410) 273-2000

Food Scene

Foodies will love being stationed at Aberdeen. With its closeness to so many major cities, you’ll have the world’s cuisine at your fingertips. If you’re interested in staying closer to home, Maryland is famous for its crab and seafood. There’s nothing better than hunkering down at a crab shack to watch a game. 

Activities

Annapolis and Baltimore are both easy reaches for interactive weekend activities. Don’t miss out on the Ft. McHenry National Monument. Equally exciting is the Baltimore Museum of Art. Similarly, don’t forget about exploring the nautical history of Annapolis.  

aberdeen ceremony
The 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command Salute Battery renders honors at the change of command ceremony on Aberdeen Proving Ground. (U.S. Army photo by Andrew D. Monath.)

Aberdeen Proving Ground Housing

As you might expect, single Soldiers E1-E5 live on post in barracks. Unaccompanied housing is also available for single Airmen. Call the Unaccompanied Member Housing office for more information. 

Of course, all other permanent party service members and families have the choice of living on or off post. Corvias Property Managements owns and manages three separate communities of post housing.

If you choose to live off post, nearby Aberdeen is an excellent option, as the cost of living is relatively low for the area.  

Schools Near Aberdeen Proving Ground

While there are no DoDEA schools on post, mil-kids who call APG home have several options. If you live on the north side of post, your child will attend Roye-Williams Elementary, Aberdeen Middle School or Aberdeen High School. Mil-kids who live on the south side of the post or Edgewood area will attend Edgewood Elementary, Edgewood Middle or Edgewood High School. Moreover, school bus transportation is provided for students,. Even more exciting, these schools offer breakfast and lunch daily. The best thing to do is to speak with the School Liaison Office for more information. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you visit Aberdeen Proving Ground?

Currently, visits to APG require a DoD ID. However, visitors who don’t have official DoD IDs have to stop at the Visitor Control Center. 

What do they do at the Aberdeen Proving Ground?

APG is a testing and research facility. 

Why is it called a proving ground?

The name comes from a way-back term. It means that munitions needed to be ‘proven’ to use useful and capable. 

What units are stationed at Aberdeen Proving Grounds?

The major unit at Aberdeen is the 20th CBRNE Command. This unit supports homeland and overseas operations to defend against WMD and IED threats. 

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