Special Report

America's Oldest Military Bases

Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

From its humble beginning as a collection of state militias, the United States military has grown into the world’s foremost fighting force. Over its nearly two-and-a-half-century history, the U.S. military has evolved into a modern institution that bears little resemblance to its origins. Still, some vestiges of the past remain.

Dozens of military bases and installations throughout the country are steeped in history, dating back 100 years or more. Many bases predate the Civil War and some are nearly as old as the country itself. Often expanding over time, some of these bases rank among the largest military installations in the country and have a considerable impact on the economy and the identity of their surrounding communities.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed and independently verified the history of active military installations listed on MilitaryBases.com to identify America’s oldest military bases. Bases were ranked by the year in which they opened. Base personnel counts, which include dependents of the service members stationed there, came from the 2016 Demographics Report, compiled by Defense Department contractor Military OneSource. Installations outside the 50 states were not considered.

The majority of active military bases in the United States were built in the first half of the 20th century, before and during the first and second world wars. All of the bases on this list opened in either the 18th or 19th centuries. Almost all are used by either the Army or the Navy, and the two bases on this list now used by the Air Force — the newest service branch — were initially built as Army installations. Most of these bases are located in older states, east of the Mississippi River.

Click here to see America’s oldest military bases.

28. Offutt Air Force Base
> Year opened: 1891
> Location: Bellevue, Nebraska
> Total personnel: 14,995



27. Naval Station Newport
> Year opened: 1883
> Location: Newport, Rhode Island
> Total personnel: 6,934


26. Picatinny Arsenal Army Base
> Year opened: 1880
> Location: Morris County, New Jersey
> Total personnel: 419

25. Fort Huachuca Army Base
> Year opened: 1877
> Location: Cochise, Arizona
> Total personnel: 8,844


24. Fort Sam Houston Army Base
> Year opened: 1876
> Location: San Antonio, Texas
> Total personnel: 26,364

23. Fort Sill Army Base
> Year opened: 1869
> Location: Lawton, Oklahoma
> Total personnel: 25,169

22. Naval Submarine Base
> Year opened: 1868
> Location: Groton, Connecticut
> Total personnel: 13,889


21. Francis E Warren Air Force Base
> Year opened: 1867
> Location: Cheyenne, Wyoming
> Total personnel: 6,433

20. Fort Myer Army Base
> Year opened: 1863
> Location: Arlington, Virginia
> Total personnel: 5,572


19. Rock Island Arsenal Army Base
> Year opened: 1862
> Location: Arsenal Island, Illinois
> Total personnel: 1,397

18. MCRD Parris Island Marine Corps Base
> Year opened: 1861
> Location: Port Royal, South Carolina
> Total personnel: 9,489

17. Fort Riley Army Base
> Year opened: 1853
> Location: Riley, Kansas
> Total personnel: 38,868


16. Point Loma Navy Base
> Year opened: 1852
> Location: San Diego, California
> Total personnel: N/A

15. Yuma Proving Ground Army Base
> Year opened: 1850
> Location: Yuma County, Arizona
> Total personnel: 482


14. Fort Bliss Army Base
> Year opened: 1849
> Location: El Paso, Texas
> Total personnel: 62,490

13. Presidio Of Monterey Army Base
> Year opened: 1846
> Location: Monterey, California
> Total personnel: 6,991

12. Naval Academy Navy Base
> Year opened: 1845
> Location: Annapolis, Maryland
> Total personnel: 3,099


11. Fort Hamilton Army Base
> Year opened: 1831
> Location: Brooklyn, New York
> Total personnel: 585

10. Naval Medical Center Portsmouth
> Year opened: 1830
> Location: Portsmouth, Virginia
> Total personnel: 7,189


9. Fort Leavenworth Army Base
> Year opened: 1827
> Location: Leavenworth, Kansas
> Total personnel: 10,588

8. Naval Hospital Pensacola
> Year opened: 1826
> Location: Pensacola, Florida
> Total personnel: 1,867

7. Pensacola Naval Air Station
> Year opened: 1826
> Location: Pensacola, Florida
> Total personnel: 13,723


6. Key West Naval Air Station
> Year opened: 1823
> Location: Key West, Florida
> Total personnel: 1,827

5. Watervliet Arsenal Army Base
> Year opened: 1813
> Location: Watervliet, New York
> Total personnel: 414


4. Portsmouth Shipyard Navy Base
> Year opened: 1800
> Location: Portsmouth, New Hampshire
> Total personnel: 2,623

3. Norfolk Naval Shipyard Navy Base
> Year opened: 1794
> Location: Portsmouth, Virginia
> Total personnel: 144,727

2. US Military Academy Army Base West Point
> Year opened: 1790
> Location: West Point, New York
> Total personnel: 4,433


1. Carlisle Barracks Army Base
> Year opened: 1776
> Location: Carlisle, Pennsylvania
> Total personnel: 1,969

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