Special Report

America's Military Cities

Source: Dicklyon / Wikimedia Commons

20. El Paso, TX
> Military members & families: 62,490 (7.4% of pop.)
> Largest military base: Fort Bliss
> Veterans: 58,833 (7.0% of pop.)

First established in 1848, Fort Bliss is the second largest Army base by land area and is among the largest by personnel. As a result of a major base realignment plan in 2005, which shifted troops from the 1st Armored Division in Germany as well as units from Fort Sill in Oklahoma and Fort Hood in central Texas to Fort Bliss, El Paso’s major army base has expanded rapidly over the past decade. The number of active duty servicemen and women rose from 11,407 in 2005 to 25,546 today.

Fort Bliss also has some of the best amenities of any Army base, which include the army’s largest bowling complex and banquet hall. Including the 36,944 spouses and family members affiliated with the base, Fort Bliss personnel amount to 7.4% of the El Paso metro area population, one of the largest shares of any city.

Source: usairforce / Flickr

19. Goldsboro, NC
> Military members & families: 9,334 (7.5% of pop.)
> Largest military base: Seymour Johnson Air Force Base
> Veterans: 12,730 (10.3% of pop.)

The Seymour Johnson Air Force Base is host to some 4,200 active duty service men and women and many of their 5,146 dependents. The base was established less than six months after the United States entered World War II. It is currently the only military installation in the Goldsboro metro area and one of seven bases across North Carolina.

Though the base is far from the largest in the state, it is partially the reason North Carolina is one of six states which together are home to nearly half of all active duty service men and women in the country. Overall, military installations in North Carolina support over half a million jobs.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

18. Elizabethtown-Fort Knox, KY
> Military members & families: 11,613 (7.7% of pop.)
> Largest military base: Fort Knox
> Veterans: 21,477 (14.3% of pop.)

The Elizabethtown metro area is home to Fort Knox, an army installation that is home to the U.S. Army Recruiting Command, the First Army Division East, the 19th Engineer Battalion, and over two dozen other units. Fort Knox also houses the U.S. Bullion Depository, a vault closed to the public containing an estimated 56.3% of the nation’s gold reserves.

While the size of Fort Knox fell from 8,905 active duty service men and women in 2005 to 4,772 today as the result of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure recommendations, it is still one of the largest military cities in the country. Including the 6,841 spouses and family members affiliated with Fort Knox, the army post amounts to 7.7% of the Elizabethtown metro area population, one of the largest shares nationwide.

Source: 39955793@N07 / Flickr

17. Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort, SC
> Military members & families: 17,468 (8.3% of pop.)
> Largest military base: Parris Island Marine Corps Recruit Depot
> Veterans: 25,566 (12.1% of pop.)

The Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort metro area is home to two military installations: the Parris Island Marine Corps Recruit Depot and the Beaufort Marine Corps Air Station. Together, the facilities host nearly 10,800 active duty service men and women and several thousand of their family members. The base on Parris Island primarily serves as a training and recruitment installation for the Marine Corps while the air station at Beaufort is home to the Marine Corps’ Atlantic Coast fixed wing fleet of fighter jets and is the only installation where pilots train to fly the F-35B, a short take off and vertical landing stealth fighter jet.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

16. Urban Honolulu, HI
> Military members & families: 94,876 (9.6% of pop.)
> Largest military base: Schofield Barracks
> Veterans: 83,651 (8.4% of pop.)

There are a half dozen military installations in the Honolulu metro area, the largest of which is the Schofield Barracks installation. The Barracks are home to nearly 40,000 military members and dependents. In total the Barracks’ population comprises 42.1% of all active duty service men and women and military families in the Honolulu metro area. Children of enlisted troops living on the base attend school in the nearby Central Oahu School District.

The 18,000-acre installation was established in 1908 as the base for the army’s mobile defense of the island and the Pearl Harbor Naval Base located about 20 miles south.