Being so close to the bustling, cultural hub of Seattle and among the gorgeous natural landscapes notable of the Pacific Northwest, many of the military bases in Washington State are popular among active duty service members and their families.
Air Force Military Bases in Washington State
Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, WA:
Established in 1942 and now named after the honorable World War I aviator, General Muir Fairchild, Fairchild Air Force Base (FAB) was chosen because of its clear weather conditions, protection of the nearby mountain range, and its 480-km distance from the coast. It was deemed safer from enemy attack due to all these factors.
FAB has the largest air refueling wing in all of the U.S. Air Force and has been of vital assistance on missions from the Vietnam War to the response effort on September 11, 2001. Since its establishment, this unit has saved over 600 lives.
McChord Air Force Base in Tacoma, WA:
Serving as the Air Force half of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, it falls under the combined command of the Army and the Air Force who share assets in training and deployment. McChord Air Force base is home to the C-17 Globemaster III, an advanced cargo aircraft used by all branches of the military.
The area was established in 1930 (before the Air Force properly existed) and played a vital part in World War II after Pearl Harbor. In 1947, the Army turned the base over to the newly created Air Force and it was named McChord Air Force base after Colonel William Caldwell McChord, former chief of the Army Air Corps Headquarters.
Army Military Bases in Washington State
Fort Lewis Army Base in Pierce, WA:
As the Army side of Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), Fort Lewis began in 1916 and is named after Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Initially serving as an Army training facility during World War I, now Fort Lewis trains and mobilizes multiple components of the armed forces.
Fort Lewis is home to Yakima Training Center (YTC), used currently by all branches of the military since its terrain is so similar to that of the Middle East. Since JBLM is such a large complex with a high quality of life, it is one of the most requested military bases among active duty service members.
Navy Military Bases in Washington State
Naval Base Kitsap in Silverdale, WA
Located on the Kitsap Peninsula, Naval Base Kitsap was created in 2004 and is one of the newest military bases in the U.S. It is comprised of two formerly separate naval installations: Naval Station Bremerton and Naval Submarine Base Bangor. Naval Station Bremerton played vital roles in the Pacific Theater of World War II and went on to support efforts in the conflicts with Vietnam and Korea.
Naval Base Kitsap is home to the U.S. Navy Fleet throughout West Puget Sound as well as the only dry dock capable of handling Nimitz Class aircraft carriers. It also holds the Navy’s largest fuel depot and is one of four U.S. Navy nuclear shipyards.
Naval Station Everett in Everett, WA
Currently the most modern and advanced military base in all of the U.S. Navy, Naval Station Everett is relatively young compared to other bases. Created in 1987, the purpose was to help disperse the fleet from nearby sites. Located only 40 km away from Seattle, sailors stationed here enjoy all the modern amenities you’d expect from any urban city.
Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in Oak Harbor, WA
After a few failed attempts at construction, Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island was initiated one year before the attack on Pearl Harbor and finally completed after the Korean War. Its main section, Ault Field, was named after U.S. Navy Commander Ault who was killed in the Battle of the Coral Sea by Japanese fighter planes in 1942.
NAS Whidbey houses a seaplane base, Ault Field, Outlying Field Coupeville, and Boardman Training Range, which makes it the largest naval installation in the Pacific Northwest.
National Guard Military Bases in Washington State
Camp Murray Base in Tacoma, WA:
Situated next to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Camp Murray is home to the Army National Guard, Washington State Guard, and Washington Air National Guard (WANG).
Camp Murray was open during the Indian War of 1855 for training with Fort Steilacoom and has been instrumental in many missions, including the Mexican Border Campaign against Pancho Villa, World War I and World War II, the Korean War, the Berlin Wall crisis, the Vietnam War, the Mount Saint Helen eruption, and other disaster relief, as well as in Iraq and Afghanistan military operations. Visitors can also check out the Old Arsenal Museum at Camp Murray.