Dugway Proving Ground, UT Image 1
    Dugway Proving Ground, UT Image 2

    Dugway Proving Ground, UT History

    Dugway Proving Ground is where the Army develops and tests biological and chemical weapons, tactics, and defenses, what are often called NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) hazards. DPG was established in 1942, shortly after the US was suddenly drawn into World War II. The Great Salt Lake Desert was an excellent location for this weapons development, being remote, thinly populated, and easy to secure.

    A variety of tactical and strategic weapons have been tested here, including flamethrowers, fire bomb testing, and various chemical and biological weapons and countermeasures were developed by wars' end. Two enemy "villages" were built at DPG during World War II to test weapons on realistic targets, and these were rebuilt many times after being destroyed by many means, including carpet bombings, firebombings, and in one test a "Bat Bomb."

    The depot was phased out after the war, and inactivated by August 1946, but then reactivated during the Korean War and received permanent army installation status in 1954. In 1958 the US Army's chemical, biological and radiological weapons school in Maryland was relocated to Dugway Proving Grounds.

    During the Cold War, DPG was an active center for preparing against a feared nuclear/radioactive, biological, or chemical attack, and since the start of the War on Terror preparations against the same have continued. Not all of the activity at Dugway has been so grim; in 2004 DPG was the landing ground for NASA's Genesis spacecraft, and over the years DPG facilities and expertise with NBC hazards have been used by NASA and other agencies to test equipment for spaceflight and exposure to alien environments, including simulations of Mars.

    Currently, DPG is still in use by the military as a chemical and biological defensive testing center, and roughly covers 799,000 acres, most of Tooele County, Utah.