Special Report

America's Largest Military Bases Around the World

Sean Gallup / Getty Images

The United States has by far the strongest military in the world, with the responsibility to maintain the defense of America and its allies and provide peacekeeping forces all over the world. To do this, the United States has established more than 400 military bases on every continent except Antarctica.

These facilities are used for training and deploying troops, for maintaining and testing weapons systems, for research and education, and for aircraft testing. Given the space requirements of these exercises, the physical size of these installations can be considerable.

24/7 Wall Street has compiled a list of America’s 50 largest military bases overseas. The facilities are listed in order of physical size, according to data from the Department of Defense’s Base Structure Report for fiscal year 2017.

Click here to see America’s largest military bases.

Maintaining these facilities is expensive. Congress approved in July 2018 $717 billion in military spending for fiscal 2019, equal to 3.1% of gross domestic product. Though much of the funding goes to paying military service men and women, the bill covers the development of weapons systems, strategic defense technology, and maintaining base operations.

Of the 50 installations on the list, 18 are in Japan and many of those are on the island of Okinawa, a legacy of the intense fighting there during World War II — the costliest war in U.S. history. Eight bases are in South Korea as the United States and South Korea partnered to defend against an attack from communist North Korea following the Korean War. A ceasefire signed in 1953 remains in effect, though the Demilitarized Zone is still one of the tensest borders in the world. Bases throughout Asia have been consolidating in recent decades, resulting in closures of some installations, such as Camp Red Cloud in South Korea this past October.

Some of these bases were taken over by the American military following conflicts and carry the weight of history. The Misawa Air Base in Japan trained pilots for the attack on Pearl Harbor. Camp Fuji, also in Japan, trained samurai warriors in the 12th century. Ascension Island in the South Atlantic was originally used as a base by the Royal Navy to halt the slave trade.

Many installations are named after servicemen who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country. While they may not rank among the most decorated war heroes in U.S. history, the men many of these are named after were awarded the Medal of Honor, the most prestigious U.S. military decoration.

To create a list of the nation’s largest military bases overseas, 24/7 Wall Street used data compiled by the Department of Defense’s Base Structure Report for fiscal year 2017. The report includes the physical size of military installations in acres, the total financial cost to replace the base, noted as the base value, and the nearest city to the base. Personnel counts data were obtained from the 2016 Demographics Report, compiled by Defense Department contractor Military OneSource. Additional information was gathered from sources such as militarybases.com, virtualglobetrotting.com, military branch websites, and the military newspaper Stars and Stripes.

Source: Courtesy of David Luther Thomas / RAF Croughton / CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

50. RAF Croughton, United Kingdom
> Base size: 694 acres
> Nearest city: Croughton
> Service branch: Air Force
> Value of base: $473.2 million

RAF Croughton is located in the central part of the United Kingdom, about 70 miles northwest of London. It was founded as a Royal Air Force base in 1938. After World War II, the base was deactivated and then given over to the U.S. military and has served as a communications hub for the U.S. Air Force.

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Source: Courtesy of U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alex Fox Echols III

49. Daegu Air Base, South Korea
> Base size: 698 acres
> Nearest city: Daegu
> Service branch: Air Force
> Value of base: $756.7 million

Daegu is a major military facility operated by the United States in South Korea. It is located near the city of Daegu, the third most populous city in South Korea. The base was created in 1921 by the Japanese Empire, and the United States took it over after World War II.

Source: Courtesy of U.S. Navy photo by CFA Yokosuka

48. Ikego Housing Area, Japan
> Base size: 714 acres
> Nearest city: Ikego
> Service branch: Navy
> Value of base: $1.2 billion

The Ikego facility was an ammunition depot in Zushi City used by the Japanese Navy during World War II. The housing facility for the U.S. Navy opened in 1996 and has 853 units housing 2,500 family members who live on the base.

Source: Courtesy of U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. John Barton

47. RAF Welford Ammo Storage Area, United Kingdom
> Base size: 736 acres
> Nearest city: Welford
> Service branch: Air Force
> Value of base: $320.5 million

RAF Welford, the base for the 420th Munitions Squadron, is located 40 minutes south of Oxford. The base is the second-largest munitions storage area for conventional weapons in Europe and provides ammunition stores for all members of NATO.

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Source: unc-cfc-usfk / Flickr

46. Camp Hovey, South Korea
> Base size: 763 acres
> Nearest city: Tongduchon
> Service branch: Army
> Value of base: $588.3 million

The camp, named in honor of MSG Howard Hovey, a Distinguished Service Cross recipient who died during the Korean War, is strategically important. The camp is close to the city of Tongduchon, which is about 40 miles north of Seoul and just 11 miles south of the Demilitarized Zone. The purpose of the base is to deter aggression from North Korea. The camp is home to about 2,500 active duty American military personnel and several hundred civilians.

Source: Getty Images / Getty Images

45. Lajes Field, Portugal
> Base size: 973 acres
> Nearest city: Lajes
> Service branch: Air Force
> Value of base: $1.5 billion

Lajes Field in Portugal is located on the island of Terceira in the Azores archipelago, about 900 miles west of Lisbon. Allied forces used the base during World War II. The facility is known as the “Crossroads of the Atlantic,” Lajes Field is an important installation for NATO countries — Portugal is one of 12 founding NATO members — because of its proximity to North Africa and the Middle East. The 65th Air Base Wing, the largest American military unit in the Azores, is stationed on the island.

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Source: aluxum / Getty Images

44. Grindavik, Iceland
> Base size: 1,049 acres
> Nearest city: Grindavik
> Service branch: Navy
> Value of base: $28.0 million

Naval Air Station Keflavik near Grindavik was home to about 5,000 U.S. troops as recently as 2006. That year, the base that had served as a stopover for troops during World War II and the Cold War, was decommissioned. In recent years, however, the Navy decided to renovate a hangar that serves submarine-hunting aircraft in response to increased Russian Navy activity in the North Atlantic. The base is also located about 15 miles from a Naval radio transmitting station in Grindavik.

Source: Courtesy of suga from Japan via Wikimedia Commons

43. Chitose Administration Annex, Japan
> Base size: 1,067 acres
> Nearest city: Chitose
> Service branch: Air Force
> Value of base: $57.0 million

The Chitose Administration Annex is located on Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan’s main islands known for its rugged terrain. An air base adjacent to the annex was used by the U.S. Air Force until 1957, when it was turned over to Japan.

Source: Matt Cardy / Getty Images

42. RAF Fairford, United Kingdom
> Base size: 1,163 acres
> Nearest city: Fairford
> Service branch: Air Force
> Value of base: $772.3 million

RAF Fairford is located in Gloucestershire, about 40 miles northwest of Swindon in southern England. RAF Fairford is home to the 420th Air Base Squadron and serves as a primary European location for the U.S. Air Force’s Global Strike Command.

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Source: BWP Media / Getty Images

41. RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom
> Base size: 1,163 acres
> Nearest city: Mildenhall
> Service branch: Air Force
> Value of base: $1.5 billion

RAF Mildenhall is located in Suffolk in eastern England. The base is among the largest American installations in the U.K. The Royal Air Force began construction of the base in 1934. During World War II, the RAF used base was used for air combat missions. After the war, the base was deactivated until it came under the control of the U.S. military in 1950 as the Cold War escalated.

Source: marine_corps / Flickr

40. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Japan
> Base size: 1,177 acres
> Nearest city: Futenma Okinawa
> Service branch: Marine Corps
> Value of base: $1.7 billion

Marine Corps Air Station at Futenma began as an airfield constructed after the American victory over the Japanese at Okinawa. The base was renamed Futenma Air Base and mostly used in support of adjacent Kadena Air Base, another U.S. installation. In 1957, the Air Force transferred custody of the base to the Marines. Futenma is part of the Camp S.D. Butler complex that comprises 10 installations in Okinawa.

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Source: usairforce / Flickr

39. Aviano Air Force Base, Italy
> Base size: 1,226 acres
> Nearest city: Aviano
> Service branch: Air Force
> Value of base: $1.7 billion

The American military presence at Aviano, about 50 miles north of Venice in the Dolomite Mountains, began after World War II. In 1954, the Italian and American governments signed a joint-use agreement, and a year later the base became the headquarters for the U.S. Air Force in Europe.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

38. Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan
> Base size: 1,237 acres
> Nearest city: Atsugi
> Service branch: Navy
> Value of base: $2.8 billion

Naval Air Facility Atsugi in Japan is the only U.S. military facility in Asia with an entire air wing unit. The base, built in 1938 by the Japanese Imperial Navy on the island of Honshu, hosts a community of 10,000 people, including American and Japanese military personnel. Because of its strategic importance, facilities, and logistic services, this base is considered to be the “Tip of the Sword” of American security forces in the Western Pacific.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

37. Camp Foster, Japan
> Base size: 1,347 acres
> Nearest city: Zukeran
> Service branch: Marine Corps
> Value of base: $5.3 billion

Camp Foster, located on Okinawa Island, is part of a complex of military installations that were developed after the United States defeated Japan in World War II. The facility was originally called Camp Zukeran, but changed its name to Camp Foster in honor of PFC William A. Foster, who won the Medal of Honor for flying perilous missions over Okinawa during the battle for the island. The camp had been the center of Marine Corps operations on Okinawa but its presence has diminished as the U.S. consolidated military facilities on Okinawa.

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Source: / Flickr

36. Osan Air Force Base, South Korea
> Base size: 1,523 acres
> Nearest city: Gyeonggi-do
> Service branch: Air Force
> Value of base: $3.5 billion

Osan Air Force Base, one of several active Air Force facilities operated by the U.S. military in South Korea, is located 40 miles from Seoul. The United States built the base from the ground up in 1953 up after capturing the area from communist troops. Osan Air Force Base hosts the 51st Fighter Wing.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

35. Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany
> Base size: 1,617 acres
> Nearest city: Spangdahlem
> Service branch: Air Force
> Value of base: $2.1 billion

Spangdahlem Air Base has been U.S. Air Force facility for more than 50 years. The base is in western Germany, near the borders of Belgium, Luxembourg, and France. Spangdahlem Air Base hosts the 52nd Fighter Wing.

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Source: usairforce / Flickr

34. Yokota Air Base, Japan
> Base size: 1,750 acres
> Nearest city: Tokyo
> Service branch: Air Force
> Value of base: $6.8 billion

The Yokota Air Base, opened in 1940 as a test facility for the Japanese Imperial Army, became an air base during World War II. The 374th Air Wing located there after the U.S. military took over the base and the unit was among the first to fight in Korea in 1950. Yokota, located on the island of Honshu, is a primary airlift wing in the Western Pacific. Every year in August, the base hosts a two-day Friendship Festival and invites the Japanese community to come to the base and learn about it.

Source: Tim Felce (Airwolfhound) / Wikimedia Commons

33. RAF Lakenheath, United Kingdom
> Base size: 1,879 acres
> Nearest city: Lakenheath
> Service branch: Air Force
> Value of base: $2.9 billion

RAF Lakenheath is located in Suffolk in the eastern region of England. It is the largest U.S. Air Force-operated base in England. The base traces its roots back to World War I. It was abandoned once the war was over, but as the threat of Nazi invasion rose in 1940, the facility was made to look like a functioning airfield to try and fool the German Luftwaffe and keep them from attacking the nearby RAF Mildenhall. The RAF eventually converted it into an operational facility, and the Americans took it over after the war and used it for operations during the Cold War.

Source: Courtesy of U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Deana Heitzman

32. Draughon Training Range, Japan
> Base size: 1,889 acres
> Nearest city: Misawa
> Service branch: Air Force
> Value of base: $36.0 million

Draughon Training Range is a desolate area in northern Japan that encompasses almost 1,900 acres and is not far from Misawa Air Force Base. Air Force and Navy pilots have been training at this facility since the Vietnam War, and their mission is the suppression of enemy air defenses, or SEAD. The base’s strategic location puts aircraft in position to meet challenges from North Korea.

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Source: Courtesy of Geospatial Information Authority of Japan via Wikimedia Commons

31. Ie Jima Auxiliary Airfield, Japan
> Base size: 1,981 acres
> Nearest city: Henoko Okinawa
> Service branch: Marine Corps
> Value of base: $95.2 million

Ie Jima Auxiliary Airfield takes up one-third of the small island Ie Jima, which is 3 miles west of Okinawa. The facility was built by Japan during World War II and taken over by the United States at the end of the war. Ie Jima is where the noted military correspondent Ernie Pyle was killed in action. The Marines use the base for training exercises such as parachute drops and Harrier aircraft landing exercises.

Source: Chung Sung-Jun / Getty Images

30. Camp Humphreys, South Korea
> Base size: 2,121 acres
> Nearest city: Pyeongtaek
> Service branch: Army
> Value of base: $5.6 billion

Camp Humphreys, or U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys, is located 40 miles south of Seoul, South Korea. It was created by the Japanese in 1919 during their occupation of the Korean Peninsula. After World War II, the Americans took over the base, and it was used by the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. The United States is in the process of consolidating military presence in Korea into two hubs, the largest of which will be Camp Humphreys, tripling in size to 36,000 soldiers, family members, and civilians.

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Source: Courtesy of U.S. Air Force photo by Airman First Class Benjamin Wilson

29. Camp Red Cloud, South Korea
> Base size: 2,204 acres
> Nearest city: Yongchon
> Service branch: Army
> Value of base: $140.0 million

Camp Red Cloud, where U.S. troops had been deployed since the Korean War, closed in October 2018 as part of an ongoing military base consolidation program in South Korea. The camp has been targeted for closure since a 2004 agreement to trim the American military presence north of the Han River. Most American military personnel are stationed around the South Korean capital of Seoul and the heavily fortified bases near the Demilitarized Zone. The relocation was supposed to be completed by 2008 but was delayed because of construction issues at Camp Humphreys, which is increasing in size.

Camp Red Cloud was named after Medal of Honor recipient Cpl. Mitchell Red Cloud Jr.

Source: usairforce / Flickr

28. Kunsan Air Base, South Korea
> Base size: 2,549 acres
> Nearest city: Kunsan
> Service branch: Air Force
> Value of base: $2.3 billion

Kunsan Air Base is one of several U.S. Air Force installations in South Korea and home of the 8th Fighter Wing. It is located 150 miles south of Seoul on the western side of the peninsula. The Japanese built the base in 1938, and the base became strategically important during the Korean War for missions against Chinese and North Korean positions.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

27. Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan
> Base size: 2,704 acres
> Nearest city: Yokosuka
> Service branch: Navy
> Value of base: $10.2 billion

The facility known as CFAY, for Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka, is the largest and most important U.S. naval base in Asia — it is home of the 7th Fleet. The base is located 30 miles southwest of Tokyo and at the mouth of Tokyo Bay. It was built by Japan in 1871 to accommodate its growing trade in the 19th century, and the base is among the oldest of the overseas facilities of the United States.

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Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

26. Camp Casey, South Korea
> Base size: 2,830 acres
> Nearest city: Tong Du Chon
> Service branch: Army
> Value of base: $1.6 billion

Camp Casey sits in between the South Korean capital of Seoul and the Demilitarized Zone. Elements of the 2nd Infantry Division and the 210th Field Artillery Brigade are stationed at Camp Casey, which houses about 6,300 military personnel and about 2,500 civilians. At Camp Casey, U.S. and South Korean forces are integrated, a process that is occurring at other bases in South Korea.

Source: Courtesy of Marlon Cureg via Wikimedia Commons

25. Masirah Island Mpt Site 1, Oman
> Base size: 3,000 acres
> Nearest city: Muscat
> Service branch: Air Force
> Value of base: N/A

The island base is located 15 miles off the coast of Oman. It originally belonged to the Royal Air Force before it was taken over by the United States in 1980 in an agreement with Oman. The U.S. Air Force built up the facilities, and the base became crucial during Operation Desert Shield in 1990.

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Source: Courtesy of Official Army Photo by Maj. Andrew Benbow / Released

24. Thumrait Air Base, Oman
> Base size: 3,000 acres
> Nearest city: Muscat
> Service branch: Air Force
> Value of base: N/A

The U.S. signed an access agreement for use of the Thumrait base with Oman in 1981. It is one of three Air Force sites that support equipment and materiel needs for 26,000 military personnel in the small Persian Gulf nation. Thumrait is what the Air Force calls a Harvest Falcon depot that provides transportable tents, shelters, equipment, and vehicles.

Source: Angelo D'Amico / Getty Images

23. SEEB MPT Site 1, Oman
> Base size: 3,000 acres
> Nearest city: Muscat
> Service branch: Air Force
> Value of base: $175.8 million

The base operates at Muscat International Airport in Oman and features two runways that have been extended to 13,123 feet. Military equipment is stored at that location. The base was part of the access agreement between the United States and Oman for use of one of several military sites in Oman that support equipment and materiel needs for U.S.military personnel.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

22. Ramstein Air Base, Germany
> Base size: 3,094 acres
> Nearest city: Ramstein
> Service branch: Air Force
> Value of base: $12.6 billion

Ramstein was built in 1951 out of a swamp in western Germany near the French border. Ramstein hosts the 86th airlift unit. The area is also called “little America” because of the 50,000 U.S. personnel who reside in the region. Ramstein, as well as other U.S. bases in Germany, has been the site of protestors who want the United States to close military bases in Germany. In 1988, Italian stunt planes collided and crashed during an air show at Ramstein. The collisions killed 70 people.

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Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

21. Incirlik Air Base, Turkey
> Base size: 3,336 acres
> Nearest city: Adana
> Service branch: Air Force
> Value of base: $2.5 billion

Since it opened in 1951, Incirlik Air Base has been jointly operated by the United States and Turkey. Because of its relative proximity to Russia, the base, where 5,000 military personnel are stationed, are considered strategically important. In recent years, the United States has used Turkish bases to launch strikes against terror groups like ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Recent disagreements between the United States and Turkey have led the U.S. to reconsider its military presence in the strategically important nation.

Source: Courtesy of Paul via Flickr

20. Yong Pyong, South Korea
> Base size: 3,346 acres
> Nearest city: Tong Du Chon
> Service branch: Army
> Value of base: $501.5 million

The base is located in the rural Yong Pyong region in northern South Korea. It is a training center for armored units to conduct gunnery training, often using live fire. Units of the 2nd Infantry Division use the facility for training in helicopter, Bradley Fighting Vehicle, M1 Abrams tank, artillery, and close air support.

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Source: Gons / Wikimedia Commons

19. Morón Air Base, Spain
> Base size: 3,428 acres
> Nearest city: Moron de la Frontera
> Service branch: Air Force
> Value of base: $829.1 million

Morón Air Base, located in the Andalusia region in southern Spain, is home to the 496th Air Base Squadron. The U.S. military stations about 3,000 people at the base, which has been used for operations against Libya as well as assistance in the humanitarian crisis of North African refugees. Morón Air Base hosts units of the Air Mobility Command, Air Force Space Command, and Air Force Office of Special Investigations.

Source: / Flickr

18. Ascension Auxiliary Airfield, Ascension Island
> Base size: 3,463 acres
> Nearest city: Ascension Island
> Service branch: Air Force
> Value of base: $714.9 million

Ascension Island in the South Atlantic was originally used as a base by the Royal Navy to interdict the slave trade. Ascension Island took on greater importance during World War II, when the British allowed the United States to build an airstrip there that would become Ascension Auxiliary Airfield. American planes landed there from Brazil and continued north through Africa. The U.S. military augmented the facilities during the Cold War, and the base was used to launch research rockets to track Apollo missions.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

17. Misawa Air Base, Japan
> Base size: 3,864 acres
> Nearest city: Misawa
> Service branch: Air Force
> Value of base: $8.3 billion

Misawa Air Base, about 400 miles north of Tokyo on Honshu Island, is important in Japanese military history. It was here that pilots trained for the attack on Pearl Harbor and where the Japanese Empire trained kamikaze pilots. About 90% of the base was destroyed by Allied bombing during World War II. Today, the base combines military personnel from the United States and Japan. Among the objectives of the base is space surveillance through the use of satellites. The base is home to the 35th Fighter Wing.

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Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

16. Kadena Air Base, Japan
> Base size: 4,906 acres
> Nearest city: Okinawa
> Service branch: Air Force
> Value of base: $12.3 billion

The Kadena Air Base located in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan, is anchored by the 18th Wing, a fleet of 81 combat-ready aircraft that constitutes one of the largest operational combat wings overseas. Kadena is home to about 8,000 American air personnel. The United States captured the airstrip from Japan hours into the battle for Okinawa, repaired the damaged runway, and made it operational days later.

Source: Photo by Robert Lingley / 21st Space Wing Public Affairs

15. Naval Communication Station Harold E. Holt, Exmouth, Australia
> Base size: 5,099 acres
> Nearest city: Northwest Cape
> Service branch: Navy
> Value of base: $254.7 million

The Naval Communication Station Harold E. Holt in western Australia, a joint operation of the United States and Australia, comprises three sites about 37 miles apart located on a peninsula that separates the Exmouth Gulf from the Indian Ocean. The station was set up in 1967 and intended to provide the Navy with the ability to communicate with submarines and surface vessels in the Indian and western Pacific Oceans. Plans call for the station to be used for space surveillance and global military intelligence.

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Source: dvids / Flickr

14. Camp Schwab, Japan
> Base size: 5,397 acres
> Nearest city: Henoko Okinawa
> Service branch: Marine Corps
> Value of base: $1.6 billion

Camp Schwab is a U.S. military base on the island of Okinawa. It was named in memory of PFC Albert E. Schwab, a Marine who won the Medal of Honor for bravery during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. It became a permanent military facility in 1959 and serves as a training range for the troops stationed on the island.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

13. NS Rota, Spain
> Base size: 5,962 acres
> Nearest city: Rota
> Service branch: Navy
> Value of base: $2.0 billion

Naval Station Rota, located in southern Spain, was established in 1953. It provides logistical support and serves as a strategic presence in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. It supports U.S. naval forces in Europe and Africa that include the 6th Fleet at a nearly 6,000-acre facility. The base also includes a 670-acre airfield and the biggest fuels and weapons facilities in Europe. Rota is home to more than 3,000 Navy sailors, Marines, and their families. The base also has smaller Army and Air Force attachments.

Source: Courtesy of U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Quay Drawdy

12. Kadena Ammo Storage Annex, Japan
> Base size: 6,077 acres
> Nearest city: Okinawa
> Service branch: Air Force
> Value of base: $1.5 billion

The ammunition depot adjacent to Kadena Air Base at Chibana in Japan once stored one of the largest arsenals of lethal weapons on the planet. Included in the depot were nuclear warheads, herbicides, and sarin gas. Chemical weapons leaked from the depot on two occasions in the late 1960s and early 1970s, hospitalizing 27 Americans.

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Source: Marion Doss from Scranton, Kansas, USA / Wikimedia Commons

11. Naval Support Facility Diego Garcia, Diego Garcia
> Base size: 7,000 acres
> Nearest city: Diego Garcia
> Service branch: Navy
> Value of base: $4.5 billion

Diego Garcia, which is home to a naval support facility, is a speck in the Indian Ocean, an atoll of the Chagos Archipelago located just south of the equator. The base provides service, installation, and logistic support for American and NATO vessels and aircraft deployed in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf regions. The United States and Great Britain signed a formal agreement in 1966 to use Diego Garcia for mutual defense needs.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

10. Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan
> Base size: 7,111 acres
> Nearest city: Iwakuni
> Service branch: Marine Corps
> Value of base: $7.2 billion

Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, is located about 600 miles southwest of Tokyo on the island of Honshu. The base hosts about half of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, which is headquartered on Okinawa, as well as other Marine group elements. There are about 15,000 personnel, including U.S. Marines and Japanese national employees, at the station.

Like many of the U.S. bases in Japan, the facility has its roots with the Japanese Empire, which developed the farmland as an air station at the outset of World War II. After the war, the base came under the command of the Royal Australian Air Force, then passed to several branches of the U.S. military until the Marines took over the facility in 1958.

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Source: Courtesy of U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Geoffrey P. Barham / Released

9. Commander Fleet Activities Sasebo, Japan
> Base size: 7,733 acres
> Nearest city: Sasebo
> Service branch: Navy
> Value of base: $1.8 billion

Commander Fleet Activities Sasebo, Japan, on the island of Kyushu in the Nagasaki Prefecture, is an example of cooperation between the United States and Japan, where the ships of the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force and the American 7th Fleet share the port. Japan established a naval base there in 1889. The Japanese Empire employed 50,000 people at Sasebo during World War II, and after the United States took over the base in 1946, it served as the main launch area for United Nations involved in the Korean War.

Source: usnavy / Flickr

8. Camp Gonsalves, Japan
> Base size: 9,040 acres
> Nearest city: Henoko Okinawa
> Service branch: Marine Corps
> Value of base: $43.1 million

Camp Gonsalves, commissioned in 1958, covers about 27 square miles of jungle, an important geographical feature for the American military to familiarize itself with jungle warfare in Vietnam in the 1960s. The camp was named after PFC Harold Gonsalves, a Marine who received the Medal of Honor for bravery during the battle for Okinawa in World War II. The camp also goes by the name of JWTC, short for Jungle Warfare Training Center.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

7. Camp Hansen, Japan
> Base size: 12,037 acres
> Nearest city: Onna Okinawa
> Service branch: Marine Corps
> Value of base: $2.7 billion

Camp Hansen, named after Medal of Honor winner Marine Pvt. Dale M. Hansen for heroism during the battle for Okinawa, is located at the northern part of the island. It is one of several U.S. military bases on Okinawa. American troops today conduct training exercises using live fire there. Japanese troops use the base as well. Last year, the U.S. and Japanese government announced that 100 buildings will be constructed at Camp Hansen as part of relocation efforts to consolidate military facilities on the island.

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Source: washingtonguard / Flickr

6. Camp Santiago, Puerto Rico
> Base size: 14,650 acres
> Nearest city: San Juan
> Service branch: Army
> Value of base: $471.1 million

Camp Santiago, also called Campamento Santiago, is a military training facility in Puerto Rico, where the Puerto Rican National Guard is stationed. The camp is named after Hector Santiago-Colon, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism during the Vietnam War — one of four Puerto Ricans to be so honored. U.S. troops were trained at the camp during World War II to guard the Panama Canal. It was taken over by the Puerto Rican government in 1967 and now encompasses 300 buildings.

Source: Courtesy of U.S. Navy Combat Camera photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Ace Rheaume / Released

5. Naval Base Guam Tinian, Northern Mariana Islands
> Base size: 15,119 acres
> Nearest city: Tinian
> Service branch: Navy
> Value of base: $1.0 million

The Naval Base Guam Tinian provides support for the 7th Fleet and is responsible for an area nearly as large as the western United States. As part of the Navy’s plans to relocate assets, the Navy wants to use the Northern Marianas islands of Tinian and Pagan for live-fire training. This has drawn criticism from residents of the Northern Marianas who say this would have an adverse ecological impact on the region. About 3,000 people live in Tinian.

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Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

4. Anderson Air Force Base, Guam
> Base size: 16,117 acres
> Nearest city: Yigo
> Service branch: Navy
> Value of base: $8.7 billion

Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, is located on the north end of the island, and is about 15 miles from Agana, the capital. The base was used as a staging area for B-29 raids on Japanese targets during World War II. The primary role of the base after World War II has been as a Strategic Air Command base, in support of missions in Korea and Vietnam. When tensions mounted between the United States and North Korea, it was feared that the communist nation might target Anderson Air Force Base, since Guam is the closest U.S. territory to North Korea.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

3. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
> Base size: 28,817 acres
> Nearest city: Guantanamo Bay
> Service branch: Navy
> Value of base: $4.6 billion

The naval station at Guantanamo Bay, sometimes truncated to “Gitmo,” is located in southeastern Cuba. The United States has leased the land the base sits on from Cuba since 1903, after the Spanish-American War, and the lease can be terminated only by mutual agreement. The two countries signed a perpetual lease in 1934 that costs America $4,085 a year. Cuba views the facility as a vestige of American imperialism. Detention facilities at the base are used to house combatants involved in the war on terror. About 6,000 people live on the Guantanamo Bay naval base, and more than a third are Jamaican and Filipino workers.

Source: marine_corps / Flickr

2. Camp Fuji Japan, Japan
> Base size: 33,384 acres
> Nearest city: Fuji
> Service branch: Marine Corps
> Value of base: $432.9 million

Camp Fuji is located on the island of Honshu and is less than two-hours from Tokyo. The area of present-day Camp Fuji was used as a training ground for samurai warriors since at least the late 12th century during the Kamakura Feudal Government era. The Fuji Maneuver Area is used by both the U.S. and Japanese military and it contains live-fire ranges. The U.S. Army trained at the camp before it was deployed during the Korean War, before the Marines and Japanese defense forces took over the camp in the 1950s.

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Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

1. Thule Air Base, Greenland
> Base size: 233,034 acres
> Nearest city: Thule
> Service branch: Air Force
> Value of base: $4.7 billion

Thule Air Base in Greenland is by far the largest military base overseas by physical size. It also enjoys another superlative — it is the northernmost base of any U.S. installation, 750 miles from the Arctic Circle. Thule, headquarters of the 821st Air Base Group, is one of the most isolated bases in the world and home to about 200 military personnel. It was originally built for defense purposes during the Cold War. Because of saber-rattling from North Korea and renewed concerns over Russian territorial ambitions, the United States recently completed an overhaul of missile defense systems there. Its radar system got a $40 million software upgrade.

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