Special Report

America's Oldest Military Bases

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 250-year history, the U.S. military has evolved into an cutting-edge industrial apparatus 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. Some of these bases have grown to be truly massive, covering tens of thousands of acres. Here is a look at America’s largest military bases.

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. The number of active duty service men and women assigned to each base came from the 2017 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 World War I and World War II. All of the bases on this list were established 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.

Many of the cities and towns that are host to the historic bases on this list have been shaped, in part, by the men and women in uniform who have been stationed there over the decades and centuries. Here is a look at America’s military cities.

Click here to see America’s oldest military bases

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