California is home to the largest military population in the United States with over 157,000 active-duty personnel, over 800,000 veterans, and their families. The military contributes over $90 billion to the state’s economy and supports over 700,000 jobs. The state is home to forty-four military installations:

 

  • Air Station Sacramento
  • Air Station San Francisco
  • Beale Air Force Base
  • Camp Parks PRFTA
  • Camp Pendleton
  • Camp Roberts
  • Camp San Luis Obispo
  • Edwards Air Force Base
  • Fort Hunter Liggett
  • Fort Irwin
  • ISC Alameda
  • Joint Forces Training Base Los Alamitos
  • Los Angeles Air Force Base
  • March Air Reserve Base
  • MCAS Miramar
  • MCLB Barstow
  • MCRD San Diego
  • Military Ocean Terminal Concord
  • Monterey Presidio
  • Mountain Training Center
  • NAF El Centro
  • NAS Lemoore
  • NB Coronado
  • NB Point Loma
  • NB Ventura County
  • NAWS China Lake
  • North Island Naval Complex
  • NS San Diego
  • NSA Monterey
  • NWS Seal Beach
  • San Joaquin Depot
  • Sector Humboldt Bay
  • Sector Los Angeles/Long Beach
  • Sector San Diego
  • Sector San Francisco
  • Sierra Army Depot
  • TRACEN Petaluma
  • Travis Air Force Base
  • Twenty-nine Palms
  • USCGC Aspen
  • USCGC George Cobb
  • Vandenburg Space Force Base

    Air Station Sacramento

    Commissioned in 1978, the station is home to 189 personnel and operates 6 HC-27J Spartan aircraft for the primary purpose of medium-range patrols and search-and-rescue missions. he station’s personnel have participated in numerous notable missions, including the search for survivors of the space shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986 and the response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.

    For more information, please see the base website: Air Station Sacramento

    Air Station San Francisco

    Air Station San Francisco was commissioned in 1941 and is located at the San Francisco International Airport. From November 1941 through the end of WWII, the personnel and aircrafts from the unit were assigned to the Navy to conduct Coastal Patrols as well as aid in the construction of various Long Range Navigation stations in the North Pacific. The Air Station operates four MH-65 Dolphin helicopters which are on call 24/7/365. The station’s personnel have participated in a variety of notable missions, including the rescue of survivors of the Golden Gate Bridge disaster in 1989, the response to the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989, and the search for survivors of the Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash in 2013.

    For more information, please see the base website: Air Station San Francisco

    Base Alameda

    Base Alameda is located on Coast Guard Island in Alameda and is the largest Coast Guard base on the West Coast. It is home to a variety of units such as the Pacific Area and Defense Force West, Eleventh District, Maritime Intelligence Fusion Center Pacific, Sector San Francisco Prevention, Pacific Regional Fisheries Training Center, Maritime Safety Security Team 91105, CGC Bertholf, CGC Waesche, CGC Stratton, and CGC Munro. The base was initially established in 1941 as a training base and was used to train sailors during WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

    For more information, please see the base website: Base Alameda

    Beale Air Force Base

    Beale AFB is home to the 9th Reconnaissance Wing, which operates the U-2 Dragon Lady and RQ-4 Global Hawk high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft. It is also home to the 940th Air Refueling Wing, which operates the KC-135 Stratotanker refueling aircraft. The base was established in 1942 as Camp Beale, an Army training base for the 13th Armored Division. It was converted to an Air Force base in 1948 and has a long and distinguished history of service. The base’s personnel have participated in numerous notable missions, including the U-2 flights over the Soviet Union during the Cold War, the search for survivors of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, and the support of operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    For more information, please see the base website: Beale Air Force Base

    Camp Parks PRFTA

    Camp Parks is an active training center for U.S. Army Reserve personnel to be used in case of war or natural disaster. It was established in 1943 and was named after Rear Admiral Charles W. Parks. The base was used for training the Navy during WWII, and Army soldiers during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. In 1971 the base was transferred to the Army Reserves, and is now home to a variety of units including the 84th Training Command, the 80th Training Command, the 191st Army Band, and the 1-363rd Training Support Battalion.

    For more information, please see the base website: Camp Parks PRFTA

    Camp Pendleton

    Camp Pendleton is the largest Marine Corps base in the United States and the largest single-unit training base in the world. Established in 1942, the base was used to train Marines for WWII and was named after Major General Joseph Henry Pendleton. The base’s Marines have participated in numerous notable missions, including the D-Day invasion of Normandy, the liberation of the Philippines, and the Battle of Okinawa. Marines from Camp Pendleton have also played a vital role in the Marine Corps’ operations in Korea, Vietnam, and the Middle East.

    For more information, please see the base website: Camp Pendleton

    Camp Roberts

    Camp Roberts was opened in 1941 and named after Corporal Harld W. Roberts, a WWI Medal of Honor recipient. At its peak, the camp housed 45,000 troops training for WWII. After the war, the camp was used to train soldiers for the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Camp Roberts also played a vital role in the response to the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. The camp continues to play an important role for members of the California National Guard.

    For more information, please see the base website: Camp Roberts

    Camp San Luis Obispo

    Camp San Luis Obispo is the original home of the California Army National Guard. It was used by the Army during WWII and today, is still maintained to provide operational and logistical support and training to a variety of civilian and military agencies.

    For more information, please see the base website: Camp San Luis Obispo

    Edwards Air Force Base

    Edwards AFB was established in 1942 as the Muroc Army Air Base, named after Joseph B. Muroc, and was renamed to Edwards AFB in 1947 when it was transferred from the Army to the Air Force. It is the largest air force base in the United States by land area, and is home to the Air Force Flight Test Center (AFFTC). It is also home to the NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center. Edwards AFB has a rich history of aviation innovation to include the first supersonic flight by a piloted aircraft in 1947, the first space flight by a piloted aircraft in 1961, and the first flight of the Space Shuttle in 1981.

    For more information, please see the base website: Edwards Air Force Base

    Fort Hunter Liggett

    Fort Hunter Liggett is the largest Army Reserve training installation, and is capable of hosting large-scale joint exercises. The installation covers about 165,000 acres. The base was transferred to the Army Reserve in 1971, and continues to play an important role in its training. The fort’s soldiers and airmen have participated in numerous notable missions, including World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Gulf War.

    For more information, please see the base website: Fort Hunter Liggett

    Fort Irwin

    Fort Irwin was established in 1940 as a sub-installation of Camp Haan. The installation was initially used to train infantry and armored units for WWII and then continued to be used for training during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Fort Irwin was designated as the National Training Cener (NTC) in 1981 to provide realistic training for brigade combat teams and other units in a variety of combat scenarios.

    For more information, please see the base website: Fort Irwin

    Joint Forces Training Base Los Alamitos

    JFTB Los Alamitos covers 1,319 acres and supports 850 full-time employees along with 6,000 National Guard and Reserve troops. The base was originally established in 1923 as Naval Air Station Los Alamitos and was used to train pilots and mechanics during WWII. It was also home to a few experimental aircraft programs, including the development of the Grumman F6F Hellcat fighter aircraft. The base was decommissioned in 1997 and transferred to the California National Guard who renamed it in 2002. The base is home to the California National Guard’s 40th Infantry Division, the Army Reserve’s 63rd Regional Readiness Command, and the USAF Reserve’s 446th Airlift Wing.

    For more information, please see the base website: Joint Forces Training Base Los Alamitos

    Los Angeles Air Force Base

    LA AFB is home to the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), the Space Superiority Systems Wing, Global Positioning Systems Wing, Space-Based Infrared Systems Wing, Launch and Range Systems Wing, and Military Satellite Communications Systems Wing. The base was established in 1961 as the Air Force Space Systems Division to develop and test new space technologies, such as the Atlas and Titan rockets, and was renamed to LA AFB in 1984. The base has been involved in the development and launch of many important satellites, including the Global Positioning System satellites, the Space Shuttle, and the Hubble Space Telescope.

    For more information, please see the base website: Los Angeles Air Force Base

    March Air Reserve Base

    March Air Reserve Base is the largest Air Force Reserve Command in the United States. The base is home to the 452nd Air Mobility Wing, the 940th Air Refueling Wing, the 115th Airlift Squadron, and the 210th Air Refueling Station. One of the aircraft you are likely to see on this base is the C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft. The base was established in 1918 as Alessandro Flying Training Field, and was one of the largest training bases for pilots during World War I. After the war, the base was renamed March Field in honor of Lieutenant Peyton C. March, Jr., the son of the Army Chief of Staff, who had been killed in an air crash.

    For more information, please see the base website: March Air Reserve Base

    Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

    MCAGCC Twentynine Palms, also known as 29 Palms, is the largest Marine Corps base in the world. The base is home to over 12,000 Marines and sailors, and supports an additional 30,000 additional Marines and sailors who train at the base each year. The base was established in 1942 to train Marines for desert warfare during WWII, but was expanded to all types of combat environments as they played a major role in the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

    For more information, please see the base website: Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

    Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center

    The MCMWTC was established in 1951 as the Cold Weather Battalion with the goal of providing cold-weather training for personnel bound for Korea. After the Korean War, the school was renamed to the Mountain Warfare Training Center to encompass training units in complex compartmented terrain. The center offers a variety of courses, including: Mountain Leader Course, Mountain Warfare Course, Mountain Operations Course, Cold Weather Operations Course, Mountain Communications Course, and High Altitude Mountain Warfare Course.

    For more information, please see the base website: Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center

    MCAS Miramar

    Marine Corps Air Station Miramar was established in 1917 as Naval Air Station San Diego to train pilots and mechanics for WWI and WWII. It was home to a number of operational squadrons, including the Black Sheep Squadron. Today, the installation is home to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing which has aircraft such as the F/A-18 Hornet, F-35 Lighting IIs, KC-130 Hercules, MV-22 Ospreys, and CH-53E Super Stallions.

    For more information, please see the base website: MCAS Miramar

    MCLB Barstow

    Marine Corps Logistics Base Barlow is a supply and maintenance installation with the main mission of rebuilding and repairing ground-combat and combat-support equipment. The only other facility of this kind is located at MCLB Barstow’s sister installation, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany. MCLB Barstow played a vital role in the Marine Corps’ victory in World War II. The base supplied and repaired equipment for Marines fighting in the Pacific theater, including the battles of Guadalcanal, Tarawa, and Okinawa.

    For more information, please see the base website: MCLB Barstow

    MCRD San Diego

    Marine Corps Recruiting Depot San Diego is the largest Marine Corps recruit depot in the United States. The base was established in 1921 as the Marine Advanced Expeditionary Base San Diego to train Marines for amphibious warfare, and it became the primary recruit depot for the west coast in 1923. Over 500,000 Marines were trained here during WWII. MCRD San Diego is the home of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Museum, which tells the story of the Marine Corps and its recruits.

    For more information, please see the base website: MCRD San Diego

    Military Ocean Terminal Concord

    MOTCO is the largest military ocean terminal on the west coast and is responsible for the loading and unloading of military cargo from ships and trains. The installation was established in 1942 as the Concord Naval Weapons Station to store and ship ammunition and other military supplies during WWII. It was renamed after being transferred to the Army post war.

    For more information, please see the base website: Military Ocean Terminal Concord

    Monterey Presidio

    Monterey Presidio is the oldest continuously operated military post in the United States. Founded in 1770 by the Spanish, it was used as a base for their operations in California. In 1822, Mexico gained independence from Spain, and the Presidio became a Mexican military post. In 1846, the United States declared war on Mexico, and the Presidio was captured by American forces. The Presidio has remained a United States military post ever since.

    For more information, please see the base website: Monterey Presidio

    NAF El Centro

    Naval Air Facility El Centro serves both as temporary homeport to military units conducting air-to-air and bombing training, and as the winter training home of the Blue Angels aerobatics display team. The base has also been used as a testing center for things such as the ejection seat designed for pilots to escape from a high-speed jet at altitudes less than 1,000ft.

    For more information, please see the base website: NAF El Centro

    NAS Lemoore

    Naval Air Station Lemoore is  home to a variety of aircraft such as the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, the F-35C Lightning II, the C-12 Huron, the E-2D Hawkeye, and the C-130T Hercules. It is the largest master jet base in the Navy, and is home to the majority of the Navy’s West Coast fighter/attack capability. The base was established in 1961 to support the Navy’s Pacific Fleet, and the location was chosen because its ideal weather conditions for flight training and operations.

    For more information, please see the base website: NAS Lemoore

    NAS North Island

    Naval Air Station North Island was established in 1917 as Naval Air Station San Diego and was initially used to train pilots and mechanics for WWI. It is the birthplace of naval aviation and is the home of the Pacific Fleet’s major air commands, including the Third Fleet, the Eleventh Naval Air Force, and the Naval Air Forces Pacific. The base has played a role in the development of new aircraft technologies, such as the radar system and the jet engine.

    For more information, please see the base website: NAS North Island

    NB Coronado

    Naval Base Coronado is home to the Naval Special Warfare Command (NAVSPECWARCOM), which is the Navy’s organization responsible for the training and deployment of Navy SEALs, Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen (SWCC), and Special Warfare Boat Operators (SB). It is also home to the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado (NAB Coronado), which is the Navy’s primary training base for amphibious warfare. The base was the training ground for many of the Marines and sailors who fought in the landings at Normandy, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa.

    For more information, please see the base website: NB Coronado

    NB Point Loma

    Naval Base Point Loma was established in 1998 when Navy facilities in the Point Loma area of San Diego were consolidated under Commander, Navy Region Southwest. The base is home to seven major facilities: Submarine Base, Naval Mine and Anti-Submarine Warfare Command (previously Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Command), Fleet Combat Training Center Pacific, Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR), Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Pacific, the Fleet Intelligence Command Pacific and Naval Consolidated Brig, Miramar.

    For more information, please see the base website: NB Point Loma

    NB San Diego

    Naval Base San Diego is the largest surface ship base in the US Navy and is the principal homeport of the Pacific Fleet, consisting of over 50 ships and over 150 tenant commands. The base, established in 1919, was originally used to support the Navy’s fleet operations in the Pacific Ocean.

    For more information, please see the base website: NB San Diego

    NB Ventura County

    Naval Base Ventura County is composed of three major operating facilities: Point Mugu, Port Hueneme, and San Nicolas Island. NBVC was established in 1993 when all of these facilities were combined under one command. The base provides training and support for Navy units from all over the country.

    For more information, please see the base website: NB Ventura County

    NAWS China Lake

    Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake was established in 1943, and supports the research, development, testing, and evaluation programs of the US Navy. It is part of the Navy Region Southwest. It was originally used to test rockets and other weapons systems for WWII as the Naval Ordnance Test Station (NOTS). It was renamed in 1963 to NAWS China Lake.

    For more information, please see the base website: NAWS China Lake

    NSA Monterey

    Naval Support Activity Monterey (NSAM) is the primary support base for the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), the Navy Research Laboratory (NRL), and the Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center (FNMOC). NSAM also supports over 15 other tenant commands. After WWII the base was used to store and ship ammunition and other supplies, and began its transition to its current role in 1965.

    For more information, please see the base website: NSA Monterey

    NWS Seal Beach

    Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach is a US Navy weapons and munitions loading, storage and maintenance facility. Established in 1942 as Naval Ammunition Depot Seal Beach, the installation was used to support operations in WWII. It was renamed in 1976 and continued to support the Navy’s operations during the Gulf War and the War on Terror.

    For more information, please see the base website: NWS Seal Beach

    Sector Humboldt Bay

    Sector Humboldt Bay is a Coast Guard base responsible for over 250 miles of coastline, from the Mendocino-Sonoma County line north to the California-Oregon border. Established in 1946 as Coast Guard Group Humboldt Bay, it was originally used to support the Coast Guard’s operations in Humboldt Bay and the surrounding area. The sector has been involved in some key events in recent history such as responding to the tsunami caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami as well as responding to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011.

    For more information, please see the base website: Sector Humboldt Bay

    Sector Los Angeles/Long Beach

    Sector LA/Long Beach is responsible for over 200 miles of coastline, from Ventura County to Orange County. The sector’s area of responsibility includes the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, two of the busiest ports in the world. The sector provides search and rescue, law enforcement, and maritime safety services for the region. The sector also plays a role in protecting the environment and marine resources of the Southern California coast.

    For more information, please see the base website: Sector Los Angeles/Long Beach

    Sector San Diego

    Sector San Diego is responsible for over 120 miles of coastline, 750 miles of the Colorado River, and the U.S. – Mexico southwest maritime border. Every year, the sector participates in 250 Search and Rescue cases, Saves about 150 lives, seizes over $2.5million worth of illegal narcotics, apprehending about 1,200 illegal immigrants, and response to and investigates over 230 pollution cases.

    For more information, please see the base website: Sector San Diego

    Sector San Francisco

    Sector San Francisco is responsible for over 100 miles of coastline including the San Francisco Bay, one of the largest and most important natural harbors in the United States. They are home to over 600 active duty personnel, 43 civilian employees, 163 reservists, and over 1,500 auxiliarists. The Sector is responsible for eight commercial port authorities, 12 port cities, seven petroleum refineries, 70+ marine terminals, and 21 federal anchorages.

    For more information, please see the base website: Sector San Francisco

    Sierra Army Depot

    SIAD is an Army post and military equipment storage facility that was built in 1942 as one of several ammunition storage facilities located far enough inland to be safe from Japanese attack, yet close enough to western military posts and ports to facilitate shipment of supplies. The depot is the primary storage site of equipment used to build Lockheed Martin’s F-22 Raptors. T he depot is responsible for receiving, inspecting, repairing, and storing equipment that has been returned from combat zones or that is no longer needed by its current unit.

    For more information, please see the base website: Sierra Army Depot

    TRACEN Petaluma

    Training Center Petaluma is the Coast Guard’s largest West Coast training center and is responsible for training active duty members and reservists in “A” and “C” Schools as well as leadership development courses. Graduates include chefs, medics, storekeepers, yeoman, information systems technicians, electronics technicians, and operations specialists.

    For more information, please see the base website: TRACEN Petaluma

    Travis Air Force Base

    Travis AFB is the largest passenger and cargo air terminal in the Department of Defense and is home to the Air Mobility Command’s 60th Air Mobility Wing. The base is also home to the Air Force Reserve Command’s 349th Air Mobility Wing and the California Air National Guard’s 129th Rescue Wing. Travis AFB was established in 1943 as the Fairfield-Suisun Army Base. After WWII, the base was transferred to the Air Force and renamed in honor of Major General Robert F. Travis, who was killed in a plane crash in 1950.

    For more information, please see the base website: Travis Air Force Base

    USCGC Aspen

    United States Coast Guard Cutter Aspen (WLB 208) was launched in 2001 and is the eighth cutter in the Juniper-class 225ft of seagoing buoy tenders. The vessel is under the operational control of the Commander of the Eleventh U.S. Coast Guard District and is home-ported at Yerba Buena Island in San Francisco. The Aspen conducts heavy lift aids-to-navigation operations, law enforcement, homeland security, environmental pollution response, and search and rescue as directed.

    For more information, please see the base website: USCGC Aspen

    USCGC George Cobb

    United States Coast Guard Cutter George Cobb (WLM 564) was commissioned in 2000 and began her operational service in San Pedro, CA. The cutter is equipped with a variety of equipment for missions, including: a 200-ton crane for setting and retrieving buoys, a davit for launching and retrieving small boats, a firefighting system, an oil spill response system, a search and rescue radar, and a communications suite. Her primary mission is maintaining over 178 floating aids to navigation on the California coast from San Francisco to San Diego. Secondary missions include marine environmental protection, search and rescue, and security. She is assigned to the Eleventh Coast Guard District.

    For more information, please see the base website: USCGC George Cobb

    Vandenburg Space Force Base

    VSFB, originally Vandenburg Air Force Base, was founded in 1957 as Camp Cooke and was renamed Vandenburg AFB in 1958. In 2021 the base was renamed when operational control was given from the Air Force to the Space Force. It is home to Space Launch Delta 30 (SLD 30) which supports West Coast launch activities for the Air Force, Department of Defense, NASA, national programs, and a variety of private industry contractors. SLD 30 supports the processing and launch of a variety of expendable vehicles including Atlas V, Delta IV, Pegasus, Minotaur, and Falcon 9. The Delta also supports Force Development and Evaluation of all intercontinental ballistic missiles, as well as Missile Defense Agency (MDA) test and operations.

    For more information, please see the base website: Vandenburg Space Force Base

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    Written by:
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