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It’s common knowledge that the USA has the largest military in the world, spending over $840 billion annually on national defense (as of 2023), more than China, Russia, India, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, and South Korea combined. It makes sense that the USA is equipped with some of the largest military bases in the world. Here’s a peek at some of the biggest military bases in the USA.
The 8 Biggest Military Bases In The USA according to population and size are below:
- Key Takeaways
- The Biggest Military Bases In The USA
- Related Questions
- The Department of Defense runs facilities in all 50 states, 80 countries, and 8 US territories.
- The biggest military base in the world, according to population and size, is located in North Carolina, known as Fort Bragg.
- The 5 biggest military bases in the world are all based in the USA.
- The biggest US military base on foreign territory is Camp Humphreys, located on the west coast of South Korea, in the seaport city of Pyeongtaek.
- The biggest army in the world with the largest active military personnel is that of China.
The Biggest Military Bases In The USA
From building the biggest military base in the world to ensuring its military presence is reflected worldwide, the USA doesn’t mess around when it comes to war, keeping the peace, or intervening where a military muscle is required.
Here are the crown jewels in the Department of Defense’s crown, the biggest, most efficient military bases across the USA.
1. Fort Bragg
The biggest military base in the USA, and the world, is Fort Bragg which is located in the state of North Carolina:
- Total Population: 260,000+ (Over 54,000 current military personnel)
- Total Acres: 163,000 (254.6 sq. miles)
- Location: Fayetteville, NC
- Established: 1918 – Founded by Colonel Edward P. King, and his partner T. Wayland Vaughan
Fort Bragg, regarded as the “home of the Army,” is the world’s largest military facility in terms of population. The Joint Special Operations Command is headquartered there, as is the United States Army Reserve Command, but Fort Bragg is best known for housing the Airborne and Special Operations Forces.
2. Fort Campbell
- Total Population: 234,900
- Total Acres: 102,414 (164 sq. miles)
- Location: Between Clarksville and Hopkinsville
- Established: 1941 – Named after William Bowen Campbell
The base was used as a training ground for various divisions (12,14, and 20 Armed Divisions) and the 26th Infantry Division’s headquarters until the end of WWII. Today, the 52nd Ordnance Group, the 18th Weather Squadron, and the 19th Air Support Operations Squadron call it home.
The base houses the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, which provides helicopter aviation assistance, typically performed at night and under extreme pressure.
The 5th Special Forces Group is also situated at Fort Campbell. This distinguished outfit works with irregular warfare and weapons of mass destruction and is in charge of missions in the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia, and the Persian Gulf.
3. Ford Hood
The military base that facilitates the Tank Destroyer Tactical and Firing Center, Ford Hood, is located in the state of Texas:
- Total Population: 227,000
- Total Acres: 214,000 (335 sq. miles)
- Location: Killeen, TX
- Established: 1942 – Named after General John Bell Hood
During WWII, the United States required a large space to practice with their tank destroyers, and Killeen was chosen as the perfect space. Fort Hood is the base of choice when the military needs to train (ground or air) and deploy heavy forces.
Fort Hood is home to the following Divisions, Commands, Brigades, and Units:
- 1st Cavalry Division: A highly venerated combat division serving since WWII
- 3rd Cavalry Division: A division charged with dealing with heavy armor vehicles
- 1st Medical Brigade: Handles the medical care at Ford Hood and also remains mission-ready to assist troops in combat
- III Armored Corps
- 89th Military Police Brigade
- US Army Operational Test Command
- 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade
- 504th Military Intelligence Brigade
4. Joint Base Lewis-McChord
Joint Base Lewis-McChord is the fourth largest army base in the world, based on its population, and is a merger base formed between US Army Fort Lewis and US McChord Air Force Base in 2010:
- Total Population: 209,000
- Total Acres: 410,000 (640 sq. miles)
- Location: Pacific Northwest Region of Washington State
- Established: Fort Lewis in 1917, and McChord Air Force Base in 1940 – Named after Meriwether Lewis and Colonel William Caldwell McChord
Joint Base Lewis-McChord currently functions as a mobilization hub for all military services and a training facility through their Yakima Training Centre. The joint base is home to the 62nd Airlift Wing and the I Corps.
The base’s location provides easy access to nearby ports and an international airport, making deployment easy. The 62nd Airlift Wing is in charge of combat airlift requirements, supports humanitarian needs, and resupply missions in Antarctica.
5. Fort Benning
With over 120,000 active-duty military members, reserve component soldiers, retirees, families, and civilian employees, Fort Benning is the 5th largest military base in the US according to its population:
- Total Population: 120,000+
- Total Acres: 182,400 (285 sq. miles)
- Location: Georgia (Columbus) and Alabama (Phenix City)
- Established: 1918 – Named after Brigadier General Henry L. Benning
During WWI, Fort Benning was tasked with training units. Today several schools and training facilities form part of this military base, such as the Maneuver Center of Excellence, Armor and Infantry Schools (training of infantrymen), 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade, 75th Ranger Regiment, Army Marksmanship Unit, and the Army National Guard Warrior Training Center.
6. Fort Bliss
Fort Bliss is home to the oldest armor division in the US Army, the 1st Armored Division, fittingly called “Old Ironsides”:
- Total Population: 160,000+
- Total Acres: 1,000,000+ (1700 sq. miles)
- Location: El Paso, TX
- Established: 1854 – Named after Colonel William Wallace Smith Bliss
Fort Bliss contains the biggest contiguous area of restricted airspace in the Continental United States, which is used for artillery and missile training and testing, boasting the largest maneuver area at 992,000 acres.
The base is also home to the 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command (AAMDC), the 93rd Military Police Battalion (Nicknamed the War Eagles), the Mobilization Brigade, and the 407th Army Field Support Battalion.
7. Marine Corps Air/Ground Combat Centre – 29 Palms
The biggest marine base in the USA, Marine Corps Air/Ground Combat Center – 29 Palms, is located in the state of California:
- Total Population: 57,000+
- Total Acres: 638,720 (998 sq. miles)
- Location: 29 Palms, San Bernardino County, Ca
- Established: 1952
This marine base is known as Stumps or 29 Palms, and the unit provides managing facilities and services to the various operating units. This facility serves the unique objective of supplying tenant commands with live-fire training and preparedness:
- 7th Marine Regiment
- 1st Battalion – 7th Marines
- 2nd Battalion – 7th Marines
- 3rd Battalion – 7th Marines
- 1st Tank Battalion
- 4th Tank Battalion
- 3rd LAR Battalion
- Company D – 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion
- Combat Logistics Battalion 7
- Marine Wing Support Squadron 374
8. White Sands Missile Range
After exploring the biggest military bases in the US, according to population and size, the biggest military base, according to the size of land allocated, is the White Sands Missile Range, located in New Mexico.
- Total Population: 5,000+
- Total Acres: 2,048,000 (3,200 sq. miles)
- Location: Between Las Cruces and Alamogordo, Nm
- Established: 1945
The base is an incredible 2,048,000 acres (3,200 sq. miles) and is well-known as the testing site of the first atomic bomb test in 1945. The base constitutes about 17% of all Army land. The airspace above the base is one of only two areas in the US that isn’t under the direct control of the Federal Aviation Administration, the other being the White House.
More than 42,000 missile and rocket tests have been conducted at the “Birthplace of America’s Missile and Space Activity” base, and today it’s still the premier military test range in the US.
According to our helpful friends at statista.com, the country with the largest army (active military personnel) is China with 2,000,000, second place in India with 1,450,000, and third place goes to the USA with 1,390,000 active military personnel.
North Korea sits in fourth place with 1,200,000, and Russia makes the top five with an active force of 850,000 active military personnel. There are over 750 US foreign military bases distributed throughout 80 nations! Following the United States is the United Kingdom, which has 145 bases.
Russia has roughly a dozen bases, whereas China has only five. It means the United States has three times the number of bases as all other countries combined.
The largest American overseas military base is called Camp Humphreys, located in the seaport city of Pyeongtaek, along the west coast of South Korea. Camp Humphreys is home to the most active airfield in the pacific.
More than 36,000 soldiers call the base home, and more than 500 buildings are on site, with various Army units sharing the base. The biggest land area military base outside of the USA is the 233,000 acres Thule Air Force Base in Greenland.
The Department of Defense (DoD) runs facilities in all 50 states, 80 countries, and 8 US territories. The DoD maintains nearly 4,000 sites, the majority serving the Army and Air Force, which claim over 1,800 and 1,700 facilities, respectively.
The Navy has 970 sites, the Marine Corps has 213 sites, and the Washington Headquarters Services has 75. The majority are in the United States, with Japan, South Korea, and Germany housing most of the DoD’s foreign facilities.
We Salute The Soldiers
“The soldier is the army. No army is better than its soldiers. The soldier is also a citizen. In fact, the highest obligation and privilege of citizenship is that of bearing arms for one’s country.”
– George S. Patton, Jr.