Arizona was admitted as a state in February 14, 1912. The state hosts beautiful state parks and the wonders of the Grand Canyon. It also hosts some very important military bases. Below are the military bases in Arizona and a short snippet of there history.
Map of Arizona Military Bases
In 1942, this base was created as Navajo Ordnance Depot and included 50 administrative buildings, 38 miles of railroad track, 800 ammunition storage igloos, and 227 miles of road. The camp has never ceased operating at any time since its construction, and the name changed several times to reflect changes in the mission over the years until it finally received its current name, Camp Navajo, in 1993. Originally, the camp’s purpose was to support WWII by storing ammunition’s. Today, the Arizona National Guard plans to use this base to develop an industrial park, a veteran’s cemetery, and a fire station. They also plan to replace both the electrical and the water distribution systems there.
This U.S. Army installation is located in Sierra Vista and was first established in 1877 to secure the Mexican border and also counter any threats from the Chiricahua Apache. Although it is an Army installation, the Air Force took control of the base for a brief time during the Korean War. In 1976, Fort Huachuca was claimed as a National Historic Landmark. And in 1980, this base provided training exercises for the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment to prepare for Operation Honey Badger, which was a planned attempt to go to Iran and rescue American personnel. Today Fort Huachuca conducts operations and training in military intelligence and is home to the U.S. Army Intelligence Center.
Yuma Proving Ground
As far as military bases in Arizona this one is the largest. As a matter of fact it is one of the largest military bases in the world with over 1,307 square miles of land. It is a U.S. Army installation and was first constructed in 1850. At the time of its first construction, the fort overlooked the Colorado River at the Yuma crossing. Since this pass was used by thousands every year, the soldiers there were given the task of maintaining peace and offering protection. Today it is used to test military equipment, and testing makes up about 90 percent of the workload here. In fact, almost every weapon in the ground combat arsenal is tested at the Yuma Proving Ground. The YPG has the perfect location just 30 miles outside of Yuma, Arizona; the climate provides optimum training conditions, and noise pollution is almost never a concern.
Davis-Monthan Air Force Base
In 1925, this base was founded and called Davis-Monthan Landing Field in honor of two WWI pilots: Samuel Davis and Oscar Monthan. Since that time, it has gone through several name changes. During WWII, several bombardment groups were trained here and used the airfield for training and observation missions. After the surrender of the Japanese, this installation served as a prisoners of war camp for German soldiers. When the war ended, operations slowed significantly, and the military base was simply used to store hundreds of decommissioned aircraft.
The Davis-Monthan AFB was used for many purposes since that time, even helping with several key missions during the Global War on Terrorism, including Operation Noble Eagle, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom. Today, this Air Force base is the home of the 355th Fighter Wing in addition to the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group of the Air Force Materiel Command.
Luke Air Force Base
The Air Education and Training Command uses this base as one of their primary training centers. Pilots there have been mainly trained on the F-16 Fighting Falcon and the F-35 Lightning II. Luke Field was the largest training base for fighters in the Army Air Forces during WWII and was even called “Home of the Fighter Pilot.” Throughout WWII, training at Luke peaked until 1 million hours of flight time was reached by pilots there in 1944. However, pilot training dropped significantly just two years later and the base was deactivated.
The base was reactivated to support the Korean War. At that time Luke AFB became home to the USAF Air Crew School to provide more training for jet fighter crews. Interestingly, over 800 West German air force pilots were trained here from about 1957 to 1965 since the flying conditions at Luke AFB were preferable to those in northern Europe.
The Marine Corps Air Station Yuma is known as “the Corps’ Premier Aviation Training Facility.” The military leased the land for the station in 1928, but pilots didn’t graduate from the base until 1943. From there, it wasn’t long until the flying school became one of the busiest in the nation. After the war, the base was briefly inactive, but then it was reactivated in 1951 so that the 4750th Air Base Squadron could resume its training. Over the course of its life, the MCAS Yuma was passed from the Army to the Air Force to the Navy to, finally, the Marine Corps. Now the installation provides several support facilities and aviation ranges. The training held here makes up about 80 percent of all air-to-ground aviation training in the Marine Corps.