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Why Fort Ritchie? Russian state TV shows strike targets in Maryland

One of the entrances to Fort Ritchie, a former Army post in Cascade, Md., that was closed by the BRAC commission in 1998 and is now available for redevelopment.
One of the entrances to Fort Ritchie, a former Army post in Cascade, Md., that was closed by the BRAC commission in 1998 and is now available for redevelopment. (Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)

Maryland doesn’t stand much of a chance should the United States and Russia come to nuclear blows.

It’s not only next to Washington, but also home to Fort Meade and the National Security Agency, Aberdeen Proving Ground and the Camp David presidential retreat.

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Camp David, nestled in the Catoctin Mountains near Thurmont, was among five targets listed on Russian state television for that nation’s hypersonic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead within five minutes.

The bellicose threat by Dmitry Kiselyov, host of Russia’s main weekly TV news show “Vesti Nedeli,” came after Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the U.S. not to deploy new missiles to Europe.

Other targets included the Pentagon, the Jim Creek Naval Radio Station in Washington State, McClellan Air Force Base outside Sacramento, Calif., and Fort Ritchie, a few miles northwest of Camp David.

Camp David, the Pentagon and Jim Creek, a powerful radio station that broadcasts to ships and submarines around the world, make sense, but those last two are peculiar. Both McClellan and Fort Ritchie were closed in the 1990s.

Since 1997, state and local officials have struggled to find new uses for Fort Ritchie, which sprawls across 600 acres in Washington County with old stone buildings, spruce trees and two lakes.

Recently, a South Korean developer backed out of plans to buy most of the base for $6 million, according to the Herald-Mail in Hagerstown.

Perhaps, the developer heard about Russia’s targeting.

While Fort Ritchie may be fallow ground, it is just a handful of miles from Raven Rock Mountain Complex, a nuclear bunker across the border in southern Pennsylvania considered by some an “underground Pentagon.” Some believe that Raven Rock was the “secure undisclosed location” used by Vice President Dick Cheney in the aftermath on the 9/11 attacks.

So Russia, what do you have against Fort Ritchie?

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