The state of Kansas has a military history that dates back to the 1800s with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. The U.S. Army established a network of forts to protect settlers on the Oregon Trail. Two of these forts still stand today. The state is now home to three military installations:

  • Fort Leavenworth
  • Fort Riley
  • McConnell Air Force Base

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Fort Leavenworth

Fort Leavenworth is one of the oldest active military installations west of the Mississippi River. It was founded in 1827 by Colonel Henry Leavenworth and it served as a crucial point for the military expansion west. Following the Civil War, the fort became home to some of the first permanent, peacetime, all-Black regiments in the U.S. Army, known as the Buffalo Soldiers. Today it is home to the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center, which oversees various Army schools and training centers. 

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

Fort Riley

Similar to Fort Leavenworth, this fort was established to safeguard settlers and trade routes on the Kansas plains. Fort Riley was established in 1853 and named after Major General Bennett C. Riley, who led the first military escort along the Santa Fe Trail. Today, the fort is home to the 1st Infantry Division and the U.S. Army Cavalry Museum.  

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

McConnell Air Force Base

In 1929, thanks to a successful fundraising campaign and support from the city of Wichita, ground was broken for the Wichita Municipal Airport. This marked the beginning of what would become McConnell Air Force Base. It was a civilian airport until 1953 when the airfield was officially transferred to the U.S. Air Force due to the Cold War. The base is named after three brothers from Wichita who all served as pilots during World War II. McConnell AFB started as a bomber base, transitioned to fighters, and is now an important asset to the U.S. Air Force refueling mission. 

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

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