Major U.S. Military Bases and Installations

Find out which states have the most military installations

Map of the U.S. with all relevant states raised up. Title reads: States with major military installations: California, alaska, colorado, texas, missouri, michigan, ohio, kentucky, tennessee, alabama, georgia, florida, virginia, pennsylvania, new york

Image by Ran Zheng © The Balance 2019

The mission of the Department of Defense is to provide the forces needed to deter war and to keep the peace. The department's headquarters is at the most well-known military base in the world: the Pentagon in Washington, DC. Here are some of the other major bases across the United States. 

01
Alaska Military Bases

Helicopter on Alaska Icefield
Alaska Glacier Helicopter Tour Photo (c) Linda Garrison

The Army and the Air Force make up more than 75 percent of the manpower in Alaska at the Fort Wainwright, Fort Greely, and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.  Most of the training operations prepare service members for operating in inhospitable winter climates whether on the ground or in the air.  Missile defense and detection mission is a high priority for the Alaskan Soldiers and Airmen stationed there.

Clear Air Force Station is one of many early detection centers for Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) coming over the Pacific or the North Pole. 

The Coast Guard has a large presence in Alaska with a variety of missions along the coastline and in the Bering Sea.

The Naval Special Warfare Detachment Kodiak is a tenant of the base and uses the training areas for Winter Warfare for Navy SEAL Training.

02
Alabama Military Bases

Female Soldier Helping Another Soldier with Shirt
Sean Murphy/Getty Images

Alabama is home to only a few military bases but they're some of the most important with regards to Army aviation. Fort Rucker holds most of the Army personnel of the state and is known as the Center of Army Aviation. 

Another important Army testing and research facility is the Redstone Arsenal and employs more than 35,000 civilians, contractors, and active duty. Located in Northern Alabama near Huntsville, close to the NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center much of the technology gained from these commands go into the Army Missile and Rocket Programs.

Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base houses nearly 10,000 active duty and reservists and the Air University as well as the 908th Airlift Wing.

Alabama's Gulf Coast is protected by the Coast Guard Base Mobile Sector as well as the USCG Aviation Training Center dedicated to training pilots and aircrews in aviation tactics and maintenance.

03
California Military Bases

U.S. Marine Corps servicemen standing around a table
Capt Breck Archer [Public domain from defenseimagery.mil.], via Wikimedia Commons

California is home to more military installations than any other state, with a total of 32. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and National Guard/Reserve bases are located across California. 

Some of California's largest bases include:

  • Naval Base San Diego: Home to the Pacific Fleet based on 32nd Street in downtown San Diego and houses more than 50 warships and other vessels. More than 200 commands and over 35,000 military and civilians are employed by the San Diego Naval Base.
  • Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton/Marine Corps Air Station is home to more than 40,000 Marines and sailors. The base has more than 17 miles of shoreline which allow Marines to conduct amphibious operations. It's close to Los Angeles.
  • Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms is a live-firearms training base that promotes readiness training for operational forces.
  • Edwards Air Force Base is the second largest Air Force base and home to the 412th Test Wing where they test and develop new technology and equipment. 
  • Fort Irwin is near Barstow and is the Army's National Training Center for brigade-level maneuver warfare training center, providing training for ground and aviation brigades.
  • Coast Guard: With California's long coastline, there are some 20 Coast Guard stations and air bases throughout the state.  

04
Colorado Military Bases

The Carson Army Base is home to more than 25,000 members of the Armed Forces in Colorado Springs. 

The remaining members in the state are located at the following Air Force bases:  Peterson Air Force Base (also in Colorado Springs), Schriever Air Force Base, and Buckley Air Force Base make up the nearly 10,000 Air Force members.

The Air Force Academy is a four-year college specifically designed to create Air Force officers.

05
Florida Military Bases

Coast Guard boats in action
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Florida has personnel from all branches of the armed services. 

Important commands in the state of Florida include

  • Special Operations Command near Tampa headquarters is located at MacDill Air Force Base. 
  • Naval Air Station - Pensacola is the cradle of naval aviation. Its tenant commands include the Naval Aviation Schools Command, Naval Air Technical Training Center, Marine Aviation Training Support Group 21 and 23, the Blue Angels, and the headquarters for Naval Education Training Command, which combines direction and control of all Navy education and training.
  • Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center, Panama City: All divers attend training at the Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center (NDSTC) here. NDSTC trains military divers from all branches of the service.
  • The Coast Guard has more than 15 Florida bases.  Drug interdiction, migrant immigration on the open seas, and saving lives of boaters in the open ocean and inter-coastal waterways are the main missions of the Coast Guard in Florida.
  • The Air Force is well represented in Florida with training facilities and homes for Air Force Special Operations pilots, aircraft, and ground troops. 
  • Hurlburt Field is home to the Air Force Special Operations Command and the 1st Special Operations Wing located in the Florida Panhandle not far from Pensacola.
  • Eglin Air Force Base is a joint Special Operations base housing commands such as Army Special Forces 7th Group, Army Ranger Training Course, and the Joint/Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal School.

06
Georgia Military Bases

army rangers
gettys

Georgia has personnel in various Army, Air Force, and Navy bases throughout the state. The Army bases include Fort Benning, Fort Stewart, and Fort Gordon,. 

The Air Force makes up the next biggest percentage of military members with nearly 10,000 members at the bases Moody AFB, Robins AFB, and Reserve Air Base Dobbins ARB. 

 

07
Kentucky Military Bases

kentucky - Fort Campbell
gettys

The Army's Fort Knox is the sixth largest urban community in Kentucky. 

Fort Campbell is home to the 101st Airborne Division, 5th Special Forces Group, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR) and a host of other Army Air Assault, Infantry Battalions, and support team elements.

The Coast Guard is located in Louisville and guards the Ohio River and its many navigable tributaries through the state.

08
Michigan Military Bases

US Coast Guard

The peninsula of Michigan surrounded by the Great Lakes requires a massive Coast Guard presence. Coast Guard Sector Detroit is responsible for the operational and administrative oversight of 11 subordinate commands operating around the state of Michigan in direct support of Coast Guard missions, including: search and rescue, law enforcement, aids to navigation, ice breaking, ice rescue and maritime homeland security. 

The Air Force is represented by Selfridge Air National Guard Base and is operated by the Michigan Air National Guard in Harrison Township, Michigan. 

09
Missouri Military Bases

Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force

In Missouri, the Army makes up the majority of military personnel in the state at Fort Leonard Wood. There are also Marine, Air Force, and Navy detachments who also share in the benefits of the training mission.

The Air Force has the Whiteman Air Force Base which is home to the B-2 Stealth Bomber.  The base operates as the as the B-2 launch point for targets anywhere in the world.

The Coast Guard Sector Base in St Louis is responsible for the Upper Section of the Mississippi River. 

10
New York Military Bases

United States Military Academy over Hudson River
Lee Snider / Getty Images

New York is home to the Army's Officer Training Program at West Point - The United States Military Academy as well as the Army's 10th Mountain Division in Fort Drum. 

The Coast Guard has a strong presence in the Hudson River around New York City. Coast Guard bases are located in Buffalo, Staten Island, Montauk and New York City.

The Air Force uses the Stewart Air National Guard Base as part of the Military Airlift Command.

11
Ohio Military Bases

Wright Patterson AFB
gettys

Wright Patterson Air Force Base is one of the Air Force's largest and most important installations. It is home to the world's first operational airfield.
Missions for base units vary from acquisition and logistics management, to research and development, advanced education, heavy airlift flight operations, intelligence, and a vast array of other activities.

Ohio Coast Guard Bases patrol the Ohio River and its navigable tributaries and the Great Lakes stationed out of Cleveland. 

12
Pennsylvania Military Bases

Navy yard
gettys

Pennsylvania has the Army War College, Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, and several Coast Guard bases which are among the best-known.

Carlisle Barracks is home to the U.S. Army War College. 

Naval Support Activity Mechanicsburg serves approximately 4,300 civilian, military and industry partners assigned to over 40 tenant activities or commands. 

Located in Philadelphia, the Coast Guard's Sector Delaware Bay has a tri-state area of responsibility that encompasses portions of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware and includes the busy commercial ports of Philadelphia and Wilmington.

13
Texas Military Bases

The major bases of Texas include:

Fort Hood, located near Killeen. Fort Hood is one of the largest Army bases in the world and plays a large part in both tank training and tactics as well as anti-tank weaponry development.  

Fort Bliss near El Paso, Texas is the home of units that specialize in anti-aircraft and missile defense capabilities.

Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio is considered one of the best medical training centers in the world.  San Antonio Military Medical Center plays a critical role in patient care, graduate medical education and research, as well as taking care of wounded service members.

Lackland is the Air Force's only site for enlisted basic military training for all non-prior service Airmen of the regular Air Force, Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserve.

Randolph Air Force Base: Since the Air Force was formed and required pilots to learn to fly airplanes, Randolph has been the premiere training grounds for Air Force pilots.

The Coast Guard is represented on the Gulf Coast in Corpus Christi and Houston/Galveston.

14
Tennessee Military Bases

NSA Millington

Naval Support Activity (NSA) Mid-South in Millington serves as the Navy’s Human Resources Center of Excellence.

The Air Force is represented by the Arnold Air Force Base.  It is a small base in size but large in the important mission of missile defense and technology testing and development.

The Coast Guard patrols the Mississippi River and handles the aids to navigation and fulfills many other missions of the Coast Guard. 

15
Virginia Military Bases

marine memorial virginia
gettys

Almost 100,000 active duty military members live and train in Virginia at numerous Army, Air Force, and Navy / Marine Corps Bases.  The Marines headquarters and major training grounds in Virginia make up the majority of Marine Corps jobs in the state. Most of the Marines are located in Quantico and the Navy personnel are in the Norfolk area.  The Army is well represented with various large bases and training facilities that include Fort Lee, Fort A.P. Hill, and Fort Myer - Henderson Hall.

The Air Force has more than 15,000 members centrally located near Washington DC in Langley VA at the Joint Army - Air Force Base Langley-Eustis. 

The Navy's Atlantic Fleet is located in Norfolk and is the largest Naval Base in the world. Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek - Fort Story are also located in the Virginia Beach / Norfolk area, which is home to the East Coast Navy SEAL Teams, Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Teams and many of the Navy's Amphibious Ships are docked there as well. 

The Coast Guard conducts a variety of missions from aids to navigation to rescues on major rivers, the Chesapeake Bay, and Virginia's Eastern Shore on the Atlantic Ocean.  Nearly a dozen Coast Guard bases are located throughout the state.