If you thought the U.S. Military only had bases around America, get ready for this. There are military bases all across the globe. Naturally, there are some that are more well-known than others, but they all serve as strategic points on the globe where the top military personnel in the world are trained and stationed. Which base would you want to be stationed at?
Eielson AFB – Alaska
Santa Claus has to have some sort of protection around him, doesn’t he? AFB Eielson is located outside of the city of North Pole, Alaska. The base was built in 1941 and is controlled by the United States Air Force. The weather there, however, is not for the faint of heart. The temperature hovers around four degrees for a quarter of the year.
However, during the summer, the community is very lively. Festivals are hosted and the Northern Lights can be seen from out there. So overall, if you are a fan of cold weather then this would be a good place to be stationed. Those who are fond of the warmth might hate this spot!
U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan – Seoul, South Korea
Founded not too long ago in 2006, the Yongsan Garrison Base is located in the Yongsan District of Seoul, South Korea. This is the only American military base that provides the experience of living right in the middle of a huge international city.
There is one major roadblock about this location and that is it’s going to be closed but the date hasn’t been decided yet. So for anyone who wants to experience this style of living where the street food is simply amazing then you better request to get stationed there sooner rather than later.
Naval Air Station Sigonella – Sicily, Italy
The Naval Air Station Sigonella base is located in one of the most beautiful locations on the map. If you happen to get stationed here there are tons of things for you to do. The base was built on June 15, 1959. One odd fact about this place is that it is home to the most active volcanoes, and the public is allowed to hike into them!
That doesn’t seem too safe but it should get your adrenaline pumping. One thing that is highly discouraged is to bring up the Mafia in conversation. Allegedly, they are still underground quietly at play.
Fort Carson – Colorado Springs
In 1942, the Fort Carson base was built in Colorado Springs. This desirable location isn’t far from the Olympic Training Center, and outdoor enthusiasts would absolutely love being stationed here. There are endless hikes like Pikes Peak and Cheyenne Mountain.
You would also be in close proximity to the Garden of the Gods. There is a reason they call it the best hometown in the army. Up next, another dreamy location. However, you’ll be at the mercy of hurricanes!
Naval Air Station Key West – Florida
The state of Florida has a strong military presence. More than 55,000 members of the military are based in the sunshine state, with most serving in the Air Force.
Equipped with that knowledge, do you think any outside forces would want to try and attack the Naval Air Station base? There would be a lot of firepower waiting for any opposition! Being stationed in Florida wouldn’t be the worst thing, with beautiful warm water and tropical conditions near year-round.
Naval Air Station Oceana – Virginia Beach
The Virginia Beach Naval Air Station Oceana was built in 1943 and is one of the largest and most advanced air stations in the world. It is a United States Navy Master Jet base so that means that jet noises in the surrounded areas can be heard very often as the Navy performs around 219,000 operations per year!
At one point the base was almost closed, and there were talks of the city of Virginia Beach buying 3,400 homes around the base that was at risk for jets crashing. However, that never happened and the base still remains active.
Naval Base Point Loma – San Diego
Commanded by Captain Brien W. Dickson, the Naval Base Point Loma has been in use since 1959. Located in the always sunny San Diego, this is one of the nicer bases to be stationed at. Much of architecture was built back in the ’30s and ’40s so it adds a vintage vibe.
Just down the highway, you can even run into the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar where Tom Cruise made it look pretty cool in Top Gun. San Diego is rich in militant operations and people so if you’re in that field you will feel right at home coming here.
Naval Support Activity Naples – Italy
In case you weren’t aware, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world happens to be Naples. This base was built back in 1951 and is actually found at the Naples airport. This makes it a breeze for those stationed there, wanting to travel. The commander here is none other than Navy Captain Douglas W. Carpenter.
This base is home to U.S. Sixth Fleet and U.S. Naval Forces Europe. The naval base is controlled by the Italians and can be managed anytime by any of their authorities.
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard – Maine
This base is as old as they come, being built in 1800. It includes 54 acres of some of the greatest views you could ever see. In fact, this base is different for a special reason.
A lot of Navy bases are found on the water (for obvious reasons) so they come packed with scenic views, but Portsmouth is special because of the small, historic, town it sits in, first settled in 1623 (Matador Network). Portsmouth has also been making subs since 1917.
Naval Base Guam
The naval base of Guam is located at Apra Harbor. The current commander is CAPT Hans E. Sholley. They say the best amenity this base has is that there are four spectacular beaches to enjoy. The water is clear and warm, with beautiful snorkeling and coral. Plus, the beaches in Guam never get too crowded.
One of the cons of this base is that it is literally in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. That could lead to a serious case of island fever. This base is a sailor’s dream, however. Living here allows for quick travel to Hawai’i, Japan, Fiji, and Australia.
Hunter Army Airfield – Georgia
Lt. Col. Jose Aguilar is the commander of the Hunter Army Airfield located in Savannah, Georgia. Georgia has over 60,000 military personnel but the army division makes up more than two-thirds of that. There aren’t that many Coast Guards located in Savannah, Georgia, but the mission is to implement daily search and rescue (SAR) coverage for 450 miles of shoreline, averaging more than 250 SAR cases a year, according to The Balance.
They have a bevy of other missions that include drug interdiction, aids to navigation, law enforcement, and several others. They seem to have a solid system in place.
Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps Base Hawaii – O’ahu
The Marine Corps Base on the island of O’ahu began construction under President Woodrow Wilson’s term when he designated 322 acres of land towards the base in 1918. What many Americans may not realize, is that on December 7, 1941, this base (at the time named Naval Air Station Kaneohe Bay) was the first to be attacked, nine minutes before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Twenty people were killed at Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps Base that day.
This Marine Corps base is also the host to RIMPAC, Rim of the Pacific, which is the biggest multinational military exercise in the world (Matador Network).
Morón Air Base – Spain
The Morón Air Base located in southern Spain has been in use since 1953. It was first used to train fighter pilots for the Spanish Army Air Force. The service members here don’t waste their chance to take in the Spanish culture.
The mission here is to provide an expandable forward operating base to help transient/bed-down of aircraft operations; to provide the staging of aircraft and personnel in support of US and NATO plans, exercises and contingency operations (Military.com). They have a mission to provide the greatest support for Team Morón and transiting forces.
Fort Buchanan – San Juan, Puerto Rico
Fort Buchan was built in 1923 as a strategic place for Americans to defend the Canal Zone during World War II. A military training area was established along six miles of coastline on the south shore of San Juan Bay. This is also where Puerto Rican soldiers were trained and deployed from, serve in the Korean War.
When Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit Puerto Rico in September of 2017 the Puerto Rico National Guard Readiness Center launched into action, conducting door-to-door wellness checks while providing food and water. After putting $33.5 million into the center, disasters of 2017 kept Fort Buchanan plenty busy.
U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart – Germany
24,000 Americans live at the Garrison Stuttgart in Germany. This unique military base is home to military personnel who work with the European and Africa Command. From here, the U.S. special operations forces conduct important investigations and consult with troops in Europe and Africa to combine forces when needed.
It’s an important base for quicker reaction time to terrorism around the world, as troops here experience full-scale exercise training to react to explosive devices, active shooters, and catastrophic accidents. Here the military works closely with their host country, Germany.
Naval Air Station Whidbey Island – Washington
Captain Geoff Moore is the person lucky enough to command the Naval Air Station Whidbey Island located in Oak Harbor, Washington. This station has been in use since 1942 and is an amazing naval aviation base in the Northwest that has been accredited five-stars as one of the best places to be stationed.
A couple of Navy pilots based at the naval air station had a bit too much fun while on the job in November of 2017. Residents of central Washington looked up to the sky to see the outline of a penis, drawn by a Navy plane during an exercise. Vice Admiral Mike Shoemake made a statement after the incident, “The U.S. Navy owes you, your parents, and your students an apology for the unacceptable obscene contrails that were created by one of my aircraft on Nov. 16.”
Joint Base Charleston – South Carolina
Built in 1941, Joint Base Charleston is located partially in North Charleston and partially in Goose Creek, South Carolina. The location puts this station in America’s friendliest city according to Conde Nast Traveler. The base is a multi-use federal complex, which includes the Air Force, Navy, and the Coast Guard, as well as Army and Marines. The Charleston Joint Base provides important training for the Department of Defense on nuclear power.
The Naval Nuclear Power Training Command was caught up in controversy when it discharged 72 sailors under “Don’t ask, don’t tell” 2000 policy. It made national news when a sailor and his attorney contacted news media to tell his story, which led to the charges against two sailors being dropped.
Naval Postgraduate School – Monterey, CA
As if living in California wasn’t already enough. The Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey is a great place to set up shop. When you’re here, you’re on a student schedule so the work hours are reasonable and there are no deployments. The factors that make it a great place are piled high.
Many notable astronauts have graduated from the school, as well as several students who went on to hold high positions in the Navy. Astronaut Eugene Cernan graduated from the school and was the last person to have walked on the moon. During his career, he spent 566 hours and 15 minutes in space!
Incirlik Air Base – Turkey
Built in 1951, but was not in use until 1955, the Incirlik Air Base located in Turkey is controlled by both the Turkish Air Force and United States Air Force. This station is only 30 miles from the Mediterranean Sea if that’s something that interests you.
The U.S. Engineering Group starting production of the base located roughly 250 miles southeast of Ankara, Turkey, in 1951. The U.S. Air Force originally wanted to use the base as an emergency staging and recovery site for medium and heavy bombers (Incirlik.af). Their usage of it now is better than the initial plans.
Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base – New Orleans
This base was built in 1942 and has endured the battle of World War II. For those who have been to New Orleans know that the city is always lively. This base is a nice change of pace.
Naval Air Station, Joint Reserve Base, New Orleans, Louisiana can be found 20 minutes from downtown New Orleans and you can find Louisiana Air National Guard, VFA-204, VR-54, VP-94, U.S. Air Force Reserve, U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. Customs Service at this station. The base was redesignated in May 1994 to add “Joint Reserve Base” (The Balance).
Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego
The Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, or more commonly referred to as the MCRD San Diego is located between the San Diego Bay and the Interstate 5. The MRCD San Diego’s main mission is the initial training of enlisted recruits living West of the Mississippi. Over 21,000 recruits are trained there each year. It is also home to the Marine Crops’ Recruiter School and Western Recruiting Region’s Drill Instructor School.
Yet, some politicians have been pushing for the closure of the base since it occupies valuable land adjacent to the city’s harbor and airport. However, the Marine Corps has demonstrated much disdain to the idea of closing it due to the memorials on the base as well as the cost of relocating.
Camp Rhino – Afghanistan
Forward operation base Rhino, also known as Camp Rhino, was the first United States land base that was established in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001. It was located in the Registan Desert, 100 miles southwest of Kandahar, the second-largest city in Afghanistan.
The base was used from November 2001 to January 2002, and at one point contained around 1,100 United States Marines, U.S. soldiers, Navy Seabees, reporters, and more. Camp Rhino is recognized as being one of the strategic positions in Afghanistan that made ground war possible and led the Taliban to retreat into the mountains of Toras Bora.
Marine Barracks – Washington, D.C.
The Marine Barracks in Washington, D.C was established in 1801, is a National Historic Landmark, and is the oldest post in the United States Marine Corps. Located at the corner of 8th and I Streets, it has been the official residence of the Commandant of the Marine Corps since 1806 and the main ceremonial ground for the Corps.
It is also the home of the U.S. Marine Drum and Bugle Corps and the U.S. Marine Band. The buildings are some of the oldest in Washington and the location was chosen by President Thomas Jefferson and Lt. Col. William Ward Burrows because it was within marching distance of both the Navy yard and the Capitol.
Marine Corps Recruit Depot – Parris Island, South Carolina
MCRD Parris Island is located in Port Royal, South Carolina, 5 miles south of Beaufort, the city that is typically associated with the base. It is an 8,095-acre military installation that is used as a training facility for male recruits living east of the Mississippi River and for females from all over the United States.
Marines were first assigned to Parris Island in 1891 and was attached to the Naval Station Port Royal. Military buildings and homes were first constructed between 1891 and World War I and were officially designated as a Marine Corps Recruitment Depot in 1915. The Marines train about 17,000 recruits each year on the island which was featured in Stanley Kubrick’s film Full Metal Jacket.
Mountain Warfare Training Center – California
The Mountain Warfare Training Center is a United States Marine Corps location in the Toiyabe National Forest, North of Bridgeport, California. The mission of the training center is to prepare the USMC, Joint, and Allied forces to operate in mountainous, high altitude, and cold weather environments.
The MWTC also helps other USMC and Department of Defense agencies in the development of warfighting doctrine and specialized equipment in mountain and cold weather operations. The MWTC is one of the Marine Corps most isolated posts and was established in 1951 for providing cold weather training for units on the way to Korea.
Dimona Radar Facility – Israel
Staffed by only 120 United States military personnel, the Dimona Radar Facility is located near Dimona, Israel. It consists of two 1,300 feet tall radar towers. These towers are designed to track ballistic missiles through space and provide ground-based missiles with the targeting needed to intercept them before coming into contact with the earth.
Using extremely advanced radar technology, it can detect missiles up to 1,500 miles away. The towers are owned and operated by the United States Military and provide only second-hand intelligence to Israel. They are the tallest towers in Israel and the tallest radar towers in the world.
Camp Zama – Japan
Camp Zama is a United States Army post located in the cities of Zama, Sagamihara, in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, 25 miles southwest of Tokyo. It is located on the former site of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy and is the earliest barrack in Japan. Close to the Sagami River near the foothills of the Tanzawa Mountain Range, it is home numerous different branches of the U.S. Japanese military.
Although the camp was once considered to be rural, it has since developed into an urban area with new housing developments, living communities, and shopping centers. This has led to a rise in population, and therefore traffic, making commuting to and from the base extremely difficult.
Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton – California
Camp Pendleton is the major West Coast base of the United States Marine Corps. It is located in San Diego County, bordered by Oceanside to the south, and Cleveland National Forest, Orange and Riverside counties to the north, and Fallbrook to the east. The base was established in 1942 to train U.S. Marines for combat in WWII.
In 1944, it was established as a “permanent installation” and became home to the first Marine Division in 1946. It was named after Joseph Henry Pendleton, who was a long-time advocate of a Marine Corps base on the West Coast. The base is now used for year-round marine training and other branches of the military, because of its geographical location and water access.
Guantanamo Bay Naval Base – Cuba
The Guantanamo Bay Naval Base is also called GTMO because of the airfield designation code or Gitmo because of the pronunciation of the code by the U.S. military. It is a U.S. military base located on 45 miles of land and water at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. It is the oldest overseas United States Naval Base although it has been considered as illegal by the Cuban government under international law, who claim that it was imposed on Cuba by force.
Since 2002, the base has also doubled as a military prison for unlawful combatants during the War on Terror. However, there have been rumors of tortured prisoners and the apparent denial of protection under Geneva Conventions.
Crete Naval base – Greece
The Crete Naval Base is a major naval base of the Hellenic Navy and NATO, located at Souda Bay in Crete, Greece. The base is also known as the Naval Support Activity Souda Bay and is the largest and most prominent naval base for the United States and Nato in the Mediterranean Sea.
It has the only deepwater port in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean that is capable of holding the largest aircraft carriers. This makes the base crucial for the security of the region because the only other options are located in Norfolk in the United States and Dubai in the Persian Gulf.
Thule Air Base – Greenland
Thule Air Base is the United States Air Force’s northernmost base located 750 miles north of the Arctic Circle and 947 miles from the North Pole on the northwest side of Greenland. The environment includes icebergs in the North Star Bay, two islands, a polar ice sheet, and Wolstenholme Fjord, which is the only place on Earth where four glaciers join together.
Thules’ airfield handles more than 3,000 US and international flights per year and is home to the northernmost deep water port in the world. It is also the only United States Airforce base assigned with a tugboat that is used to help with ship movements in the summer as well as for sightseeing tours.
Naval Support Activity – Bahrain
The Naval Support Activity Bahrain (NSA Bahrain) is a United States Navy base, located in the Kingdom of Bahrain, and the home to the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and United States Fifth Fleet.
It is the primary base in the region for the naval and marine activities that supported Operation Enduring Freedom which was formerly Operation Iraqi Freedom, which was then changed to Operation New Dawn after the Iraq War. The commander U.S. Navy Captain Cory R. Howes is responsible for the base, as well as the Navy Region Europe, Africa, and Southwest Asia and Camp Lemonier in Djibouti.
Camp Lemonnier – Dijibouti
Camp Lemonnier is a United States Expeditionary base located a Djibouti’s Djibouti-International Airport and home to the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa of the U.S. Africa Command. Camp Lemonnier is the only permanent military base in Africa. It was established as the primary base in the area for Operation Enduring Freedom-Horn of Africa.
It now serves as where the U.S. and Coalition forces are operating in the Horn of Africa. Lemonnier also serves as a hub for aerial operation in the Persian Gulf region and is the centerpiece of a network of six U.S. drone and surveillance bases around the continent.
Ramstein Air Base – Germany
Ramstein Air Base is a United States Air Force base in the Rhineland-Palatinate state in southwestern Germany. It is the headquarters of the United States Air Force Base in Europe-Air Forces Africa, and NATO Allied Air Command. The base is part of the Kaiserslautern Military community, which is the largest U.S. community overseas being home to more than 54,000 American service members and US civilian employees.
The Ramstein Air Base has also been mentioned and featured countless times throughout popular culture demonstrating its importance to the United States as well as Europe.
Francis E. Warren Air Force Base – Wyoming
Francis E. Warren Air Force Base is located 3 miles west of Cheyenne, Wyoming. Named after once governor of Wyoming Francis E. Warren in 1930, it is one of the most strategic missile bases in the United States. The base is home to the 90th Missile Wing and the Twentieth Air Force, which commands all of the United States Air Force intercontinental ballistic missiles.
It is the oldest continuously active military installation within the Air Force and was established in 1867 by the United States Army. It was then given to the Air Force in 1947 until today. An unusual aspect of the base is that it didn’t have a runway for fixed-wing aircrafts and its only runway was a single dirt strip.
Andersen Air Force Base – Guam
Andersen Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base four miles northeast of Ygo near Agafo Gumas in the United States territory of Guam. It is 30 miles from Naval Base Guam and is also under the command of Joint Region Marianas. The host unit at Andersen is the 36th Wing assigned to the Pacific Air Forces Eleventh Air Force.
Although the 36th Wing is a non-flying wing, its mission is to provide support to deployed air and space forces of USAF and foreign air forces to Andersen. It is the most important base west of Hawaii and is the only one that can permanently base U.S. strategic bombers.
Pacific Missile Range Facility – Hawaii
The Pacific Missile Range Facility is a United States naval facility located five miles northwest of Kauai County, Hawaii. It is the world’s largest instrumented, multi-dimensional testing and training missile range. They chose this location because it is isolated, with a year-round tropical climate.
It is the only range in the world where submarines, surface ships, aircraft, and space vehicles can operate as well as be tracked simultaneously. With the base itself being 2,385 acres, it comes with 1,100 square miles of underwater range, and 42,000 square miles of controlled airspace. The base also has a 6,000-foot runway, as well as 70 housing units for those with access to the base.
The Pentagon – Washington, D.C.
Located in Arlington County, Virginia, the Pentagon is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense. It is a symbol of the United States military and is one of the world’s largest office buildings with about 6,500,000 square feet, in which 3,700,000 square feet are used as offices.
It is five sides with five above-ground stories, two basement level, and five ring corridors per floor with a total of 17.5 miles of corridors. Approximately 23,000 military and civilian employees work there with 3,000 non-defense support personnel. The building was also attacked on September 11, 2001, in which a hijacked airplane was flown into the western side of the building.
Naval Station Rota – Spain
Naval Station Rota is a Spanish Naval base commanded by a Spanish Rear Admiral, yet is fully funded by the United States. Located in Rota in the Providence of Cádiz, by the town of El Puerto de Santa Maria.
Naval Station Rota is the largest military community in Spain and houses U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps personnel along with small numbers of U.S. Air Force. Rota has been in use since 1953 and now covers more than 6,000 acres. Over the centuries, it has been recognized as being of crucial maritime and strategic importance due to its location.
The United States Naval Research Laboratory – Washington, D.C.
The United States Naval Research Laboratory is the corporate research lab for the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. The laboratory conducts basic scientific research, applied research, technological development, and prototyping.
The Naval Research lab is one of the first United States Government research and development labs which opened in 1923 under the urging of Thomas Edison although it is now under the Office of Naval Research. It is estimated that around $1 billion a year is put into the research occurring within the walls of the building. Some of the laboratories specialties include plasma physics, space physics, materials science, and tactical electronic warfare.