The United States has by far the strongest military in the world. To maintain its global presence, the United States operates more than 500 military bases on foreign sites across every continent except for Antarctica.
These facilities are used for training and troop deployments, for maintaining and testing weapons systems, for research and education, and for aircraft testing. Given the space these exercises often require, the physical size of these installations can be considerable.
24/7 Wall St. 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 — Fiscal Year 2018 Baseline. The report provides characteristics of bases overseas as of Sept. 30, 2017, including base size by acreage, and the cost of replacing the base in terms of today’s construction costs and standards.
Many of the bases on this list were initially established as a practical war-time necessity. 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. Nine 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. Here is a look at the costliest wars in U.S. history.
Many installations are named after servicemen who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Some of these men were awarded the Medal of Honor, the most prestigious U.S. military decoration. Here is a list of the most decorated war heroes in U.S. history.
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