Fort Baker Biological Lab for (LAIR) Letterman Army Institute of Research on the Presidio

Today Fort Baker is a part of the Golden Gate National Park where they have a children’s museum and activities on the location of the US Army’s Biological Research Field Laboratory that was closed down when an outbreak of Q Fever swept the base in 1979. The Army called it an accident as they were experimenting on Sheep and goats that just so happen to have Q Fever, and the disease infected the base. There could be no other reason because the US signed onto the International Treaties that banned biological weapons in 1972.

But the Army used Q Fever (Coxilella Burnetii) in Biological Warfare Experiments from 1951 through 1967 at the Dugway Proving Grounds. See Main article “245 biological experiments on US citizens in cities and bases, Navy Biological Warfare Lab in SF Bay

  • Biological testing involving human subjects by the Department of Defense, 1977 hearings before the Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research of the Committee on Human Resources, United States Senate, Ninety-fifth Congress, first session … March 8 and May 23, 1977
  • p 135
  • Biological testing involving human subjects by the Department of Defense, 1977 hearings before the Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research of the Committee on Human Resources, United States Senate, Ninety-fifth Congress, first session … March 8 and May 23, 1977
  • p. 136

    During Desert Storm the Army claimed that the disease Q Fever had infected its soldiers in the field and that this was the first time it was seen by the military. That does not square with the records above. If they truly did not know about it, what does that say about the waste and lack of care in preserving documents?

    See: Anderson, A. D., Smoak, B., Shuping, E., Ockenhouse, C., & Petruccelli, B. (2005). Q Fever and the US Military. Emerging Infectious Diseases11(8), 1320-1322. https://doi.org/10.3201/eid1108.050314.

    Given that all of this research is classified at the time, has anyone in the military ever decided to keep track of research so as to avoid accidents like this or to build on previous research instead of inventing the wheel every time a disease crops up?

    LAIR Letterman Army Institute of Research (LAIR) was at the Presidio next to Letterman Army Hospital. Fort Baker was the field laboratory for both entities and the NRC regulated the Radiological Labs at all three locations. Here are is a the cover letter and map of the Radiation facilities from December 6 1991.

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