Special Report

America’s Largest Military Bases Around the World

Source: Courtesy of BrettMontgomery via Wikimedia Commons

5. Area C-HFR, Australia
> Base size: 9,463 acres
> Cost of base: N/A
> Service branch: Navy
> Nearest city: Exmouth

Area C-HFR is one of the communications facilities that the U.S. Navy jointly operates with Australian military forces in western Australia. HFR stands for high frequency receiver. The facility is the southernmost of three installations on a peninsula in Western Australia that separates the Exmouth Gulf from the Indian Ocean. The communications installation was set up to communicate with submarines and surface vessels in the Indian and western Pacific oceans.

Source: 39955793@N07 / Flickr

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

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.

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

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: 39955793@N07 / Flickr

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

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.

Source: airforcespacecommand / Flickr

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

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. 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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