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5 Largest Military Bases in the World

Military bases around the world are hubs of activity, with facilities for residency, operations, cooking and dining, hygiene, equipment maintenance and storage, and even medical care and treatment. Not surprisingly, the largest military bases in the world belong to the United States. These expansive military camps support populations of tens of thousands of soldiers, personnel, and their civilian families.

Fort Bragg

Fort BraggDuring the 2010 census, Fort Bragg in North Carolina was listed as having a population of nearly 40,000, but current accounts list a population of nearly six times that – with over 50,000 active duty soldiers. It was established in 1918 to be a training center for artillery, since it had the desired terrain, water, climate and access to rail facilities. Fort Bragg was originally intended to support six artillery brigades, but that plan was discarded after the end of World War I, due to demobilization. The camp was almost closed in August of 1921 because of cutbacks after the war, but the closure order was cancelled and by 1940, its population surpassed 5,400. During the rest of the years of World War II, Fort Bragg reached a population peak of almost 160,000. The base was modernized in the mid- and late 1990s, and the operations tempo units experienced a significant increase from the campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq. Fort Bragg is home to the 82nd Airborne, the Special Operation Force and the U.S. Army Parachute Team.

Fort Campbell

Fort CampbellHome to the 101st Airborne Division as well as the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment and other groups, Fort Campbell was built in 1941 and is named in honor of Union Army Brigadier General William Bowen Campbell. Fort Campbell straddles the border between Hopkinsville, Kentucky and Clarksville, Tennessee, which caused some mailing and post office confusion in its early years. Until the end of the second World War, Fort Campbell was used as a training ground for the 12th, 14th, and 20th Armored divisions, as well as headquarters for the IV Armored Corps and 26th Infantry Division. It currently accommodates more than 30,000 active duty soldiers and another 200,000 personnel and family members.

Fort Hood

Fort Hood

Originally built for testing and training World War II tank destroyers, Fort Hood is another one of the largest military camps in the world, and is located in Texas. More than 45,000 assigned soldiers were reportedly stationed there as of spring of last year, with thousands more family members and civilian personnel. When it was constructed in early 1942, approximately 300 families had to be displaced from their homes to make way for the base, but the army allowed a grazing arrangement for neighbors to continue to use for their livestock. Fort Hood was opened in September 1942, and supported almost 38,000 troops. The Army purchased another 16,000 acres in January 1943, which was eventually designated as North Camp Hood and housed about 40,000 troops and 4,000 prisoners of war during World War II. While Fort Hood has been used for a variety of designations, it has been a major site for the training and testing of new tactics, equipment and organizations since the 1970s. It was also a hub for anti-war activity throughout the Vietnam War and the War on Terror.

Joint Base Lewis – McChord

Joint Base Lewis-McChord

In the Pacific Northwest, Joint Base Lewis – McChord is populated with over 200,000 in total population, including military personnel, family members, and retired veterans. The United States Army’s Fort Lewis merged with the United States Air Force’s McChord Air Force Base in February 2010 to create this joint base. The amalgamation was a result of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission recommendations. Joint Base Lewis – McChord is currently home to I Corps and the 62d Airlift Wing, and serves as a center for training and mobilization of all military services. It’s the sole Army power projection base located west of the Rocky Mountains.

Fort Benning

Fort Benning

With a population of over 100,000, and more than one-quarter of that population being active duty members, Fort Benning is the home of the U.S. Armour and Infantry. It is a ‘Tri-Community’, with parts of the base located in Columbus, Georgia (Fort Benning), and Alabama (Phenix City). As a power projection platform, the Fort is able to deploy forces by air, rail and highway that are completely ready for combat. Fort Benning was named in honor of Brigadier General Henry L. Benning, who fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War. Since its establishment in October 1918, the Fort has been the Home of the Infantry, and was recently dedicated as the Maneuver Center of Excellence since 2005.

The populations of these bases are not stagnant, with incoming and outbound active duty soldiers, other military personnel, and their families. The traditional brick-and-mortar buildings often used for these permanent bases may not satisfy needs for rapid construction – particularly in emergency situations where deployment within days, not weeks, is needed.

In these cases, tensile fabric structures are an ideal solution for providing near-instantaneous buildings. Alaska Structures™ are highly durable fabric buildings that can be rapidly deployed for military and civilian use. They offer necessary shelter and housing, administrative buildings, and even medical treatment facilities that are equipped for everything from ward space to intensive care and surgery.