Special Report

America’s Largest Military Bases Around the World

Source: usairforce / Flickr

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

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.

Source: aluxum / Getty Images

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

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
> Cost of base: $57.0 million
> Service branch: Air Force
> Nearest city: Chitose

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: Ian_Sherriffs / Getty Images

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

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.

Source: Stocktrek Images / Getty Images

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

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.

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