A military caretaker or caretaker detachment is a group of one or more personnel assigned to maintain for future use a military base, fortification, or other facility that is ungarrisoned but not abandoned. Naval reserve fleets and military aircraft in long-term storage are also maintained by caretakers. Whether the personnel are military or civilian varies by country, branch of service, and time period.
From 1688 through 1802 the Corps of Invalids was used for garrison and caretaking duties in the British Isles, freeing more capable troops for overseas service.
United States use
Some of the smaller US Army installations had only a single ordnance sergeant as a caretaker during that rank's existence from 1832 to 1920. Between wars many coastal fortifications would be among military facilities in caretaker status. For coast artillery forts, General Order No. 83 of 1913 specified caretaker detachment composition and duties in detail, requiring a minimum of one non-commissioned officer of coast artillery and three privates for each fort, also with an ordnance sergeant "when practicable". In late 1914 55 US coastal forts (including seven in Hawaii and Panama) were garrisoned, while 39 (including six overseas) were not; the latter were under construction or in caretaker status.
- Dean, C. G.T. (August 1944). "The Corps of Invalids". Royal United Services Institution. Journal. 89 (555): 282–287. doi:10.1080/03071844409434746. ISSN 0035-9289.
- United States War Department (December 30, 1913). "General Order No. 83". General Orders.
- United States House (1914). "Hearings Before the Committee on Military Affairs". Army Appropriation Bill, 1916. pp. 611–614. Major General Erasmus M. Weaver Jr., Chief of Coast Artillery, testifies to Congress on coast artillery matters including an explanation of caretakers in that service.
- Berhow, Mark A., Ed. (2015). American Seacoast Defenses, A Reference Guide, Third Edition. McLean, Virginia: CDSG Press. ISBN 978-0-9748167-3-9. OCLC 1048629647.
- Gaines, William C. (May 2009). "Coast Artillery Organizational History, 1917–1950" (PDF). Coast Defense Journal. Vol. 23 no. 2. pp. 4–51. US regular army coast artillery regimental history sketches 1920–1945, usually including caretaker detachments.