Fort Myer is the previous name used for a U.S. Army post next to Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington County, Virginia, and across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.
Fort Myer was established as Fort Whipple, after Brevet Major General Amiel Weeks Whipple, who died in May 1863, during the Civil War. Whipple Field was named in his honor. It had a perimeter of 658 yards, and places for 43 guns. On Feb. 4, 1881, the post was renamed for Brigadier General Albert J. Myer, who established the Signal School of Instruction for Army and Navy Officers there in 1869. Since then it has been a Signal Corps post, a showcase for the US Army's cavalry, and, since the 1940s, home to the US Army's elite ceremonial units—The US Army Band ("Pershing's Own") and the US Army's 3d Infantry Regiment ("The Old Guard"). The National Weather Service was originated there by General Albert J. Myer in 1870. Fort Myer was the site of the first flight of an aircraft at a military installation. Several exhibition flights by Orville Wrighttook place there in 1908 and 1909. On September 18, 1908 it became the location of the first aviation fatality, as Lt. Thomas Selfridge was killed when on a demonstration flight with Orville, at an altitude of about 100 feet (30 m), a propeller split, sending the aircraft out of control. Selfridge suffered a concussion in the crash and later died, the first person to die in powered fixed-wing aircraft. Orville was badly injured, suffering broken ribs and a leg.