Military

Take a Look at the Oldest Military Bases in America

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The USA has the world’s third-largest army (after China and India) in terms of manpower. In 2022 the US had about 1,4 million active military personnel. To be able to maintain the high standards set by each branch of the military, various military bases are maintained across the United States as well as in other countries worldwide. Many of the longest-operating military installations stand on U.S. soil and date back to our earliest conflicts – the Revolutionary War and Civil War. 

To identify America’s oldest military bases, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed and independently verified the history of active military installations listed on MilitaryBases.com. Bases were ranked by the year in which they opened, according to MilitaryBases.com. The number of active-duty service members assigned to each base came from the 2019 Demographics Report, compiled by Defense Department contractor Military OneSource, the most recent year for which there is base-specific personnel data. Installations outside the 50 states were not considered.

Still in operation today, Carlisle Barracks Army Base in Pennsylvania became a U.S. installation in 1776. Yet its history dates back further than the Revolutionary War. The British used the same site as a military outpost during the French and Indian War in 1757. 

When the Revolutionary War broke out, the Continental Congress established an ordinance center at what was then called Washingtonburg. The base was briefly captured by Confederate soldiers during the Civil War and was used as a military hospital during World War I. Since 1951, the post has housed the Army War College, where military members are trained. (See the 14 guns that helped fight the Revolutionary War.) 

The second oldest is West Point. Although it did not formally become U.S. property until 1790, West Point had been occupied by Continental Army troops since 1778 and was George Washington’s headquarters in 1779. It was almost taken over by the British in 1780 when the post’s then-commander Benedict Arnold famously betrayed the country. But his treason was uncovered and the base remained in Continental Army hands. Today, it serves as the Army’s premier training school for young officers. (Also read: these are the greatest armies ever assembled on earth.)

These are the oldest military bases in America.

27. The Offutt Air Force Base

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The Offutt Air Force Base, located in Bellevue, Nebraska was opened in 1891. It had 4,379 total active duty personnel in 2019.

26. Naval Station Newport

US Naval Complex Newport. Rhode Island. USA
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The Naval Station Newport, located in Newport, Rhode Island was opened in 1883. It had 7,191 total active duty personnel in 2019.

25. Picatinny Arsenal Army Base

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The Picatinny Arsenal Army Base, located in Morris County, New Jersey was opened in 1880. It had 450 total active duty personnel in 2019.

24. Fort Huachuca Army Base

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The Fort Huachuca Army Base, located in Cochise, Arizona was opened in 1877. It had 9,302 total active duty personnel in 2019.

23. Fort Sam Houston Army Base

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The Fort Sam Houston Army Base, located in San Antonio, Texas was opened in 1876. It had 25,655 total active duty personnel in 2019.

22. Fort Sill Army Base

US marines in the desert near the blockpost
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The Fort Sill Army Base, located in Lawton, Oklahoma was opened in 1869. It had 26,189 total active duty personnel in 2019.

21. Naval Submarine Base New London

Aerial drone photo of latest technology naval armed forces submarine cruising in deep blue open ocean sea
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The Naval Submarine Base New London, located in Groton, Connecticut was opened in 1868. It had 13,856 total active duty personnel in 2019.

20. Francis E Warren Air Force Base

Military airplane speed
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The Francis E Warren Air Force Base, located in Cheyenne, Wyoming was opened in 1867. It had 6,716 total active duty personnel in 2019.

19. Fort Myer Army Base

Source: flickr/US Army Corps of Engineers

The Fort Myer Army Base, located in Arlington, Virginia was opened in 1863. It had 4,783 total active duty personnel in 2019.

18. Rock Island Arsenal Army Base

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The Rock Island Arsenal Army Base, located in Arsenal Island, Illinois was opened in 1862. It had 1,291 total active duty personnel in 2019.

17. MCRD Parris Island Marine Corps Base

A U.S. Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter
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The MCRD Parris Island Marine Corps Base, located in Port Royal, South Carolina was opened in 1861. It had 10,248 total active duty personnel in 2019.

16. Fort Riley Army Base

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The Fort Riley Army Base, located in Riley, Kansas was opened in 1853. It had 33,295 total active duty personnel in 2019.

15. Yuma Proving Ground Army Base

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The Yuma Proving Ground Army Base, located in Yuma County, Arizona was opened in 1850. It had 451 total active duty personnel in 2019.

14. Fort Bliss Army Base

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The Fort Bliss Army Base, located in El Paso, Texas was opened in 1849. It had 60,307 total active duty personnel in 2019.

13. Presidio of Monterey Army Base

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The Presidio of Monterey Army Base, located in Monterey, California was opened in 1846. It had 7,022 total active duty personnel in 2019.

12. Naval Academy Navy Base

annapolis US naval academy inscription
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The Naval Academy Navy Base, located in Portsmouth, Virginia was opened in 1845. It had 3,365 total active duty personnel in 2019.

11. Fort Hamilton Army Base

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The Fort Hamilton Army Base, located in Brooklyn, New York was opened in 1831. It had 645 total active duty personnel in 2019.

10. Naval Medical Center Portsmouth

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The Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, located in Portsmouth, Virginia was opened in 1830. It had 7,192 total active duty personnel in 2019.

9. Fort Leavenworth Army Base

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The Fort Leavenworth Army Base, located in Leavenworth, Kansas was opened in 1827. It had 10,908 total active duty personnel in 2019.

8. Naval Hospital Pensacola

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The Naval Hospital Pensacola, located in Pensacola, Florida was opened in 1826. It had 1,656 total active duty personnel in 2019.

7. Pensacola Naval Air Station

United States government military barracks house soldiers at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida
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The Pensacola Naval Air Station, located in Pensacola, Florida was opened in 1826. It had 15,107 total active duty personnel in 2019.

6. Key West Naval Air Station

Navy Blue Angels at the Chicago Airshow
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The Key West Naval Air Station, located in Key West, Florida was opened in 1823. It had 1,783 total active duty personnel in 2019.

5. Watervliet Arsenal Army Base

US army male Caucasian officer in uniform and cap stading at server wih secret data and using laptop computer to check the information. Military monitoring service room. Army networking concept.
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The Watervliet Arsenal Army Base, located in Watervliet, New York was opened in 1813. It had 387 total active duty personnel in 2019.

4. Portsmouth Shipyard Navy Base

US Navy dockers near the PNBY Tug Service building at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in New Hampshire
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The Portsmouth Shipyard Navy Base, located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire was opened in 1800. It had 2,064 total active duty personnel in 2019.

3. Norfolk Naval Shipyard Navy Base

Norfolk, Virginia, USA shipyard on the Chesapeake at golden hourl.
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The Norfolk Naval Shipyard Navy Base, located in Portsmouth, Virginia was opened in 1794. It had 1,721 total active duty personnel in 2019.

2. US Military Academy Army Base West Point

Source: The U.S. Army, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The US Military Academy Army Base West Point, located in West Point, New York was opened in 1790. It had 4,417 total active duty personnel in 2019.

1. Carlisle Barracks Army Base

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The Carlisle Barracks Army Base, located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania was opened in 1776. It had 1,903 total active duty personnel in 2019.

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