Military bases in New Mexico include the Los Alamos demolition range and 3 air force bases. The southwestern state has breathtaking blue skies and a variety of terrain. New Mexico became a state in 1912 and has become another important state for our national defense.
Map of New Mexico Military Bases
Los Alamos Demolition Range
The Los Alamos Demolition Range was opened in 1942, and the sole mission of the base was to help design and construct an atomic bomb. The first atomic bomb was detonated 200 miles south of the base. Even after World War II, the Los Alamos Demolition Range was used to create and test explosives and to further research nuclear weapons.
Today, the primary mission of the range is to protect the United States from potential nuclear attacks. The base also focuses on the research of alternative energy systems and other programs to protect the environment.
White Sands Missile Range
The White Sands Missile Range is the largest base in the United States and covers five different counties in southern New Mexico. Established in 1941, the Army base was used as a bombing range after the Pearl Harbor attacks. During World War II, the range was used to house German prisoners-of-war. After World War II ended, the range was used as a missile training center, and some of the German prisoners-of-war even stayed on the base to help further missile and bombing research. The range was also used by NASA as a landing site during space shuttle operations.
Today, there is no permanent host unit on the White Sands Missile Range, but it remains a key site for researching missile and bomb technology. The range is perfect for bomb testing because it is secluded and far away from heavily populated areas.
Cannon Air Force Base
The Cannon Air Force Base was established in 1920 and was originally called the Portair Airfield. When it first opened, the base was primarily used for commercial civilian flights. During World War II, the base was used to store and maintain bombers and train the pilots who would be flying them. After the war was over, the base was closed down but was reactivated a year later and renamed in honor of John K. Cannon, a prominent officer who served in World War II. During the Vietnam War, the base was used to store almost a million pounds of ammunition. Today, the base is home to the 27th Special Operations Wing.
Holloman Air Force Base
Opened in 1942, the Holloman Air Force Base was originally called the Alamogordo Army Airfield. During World War II, it was used to train both American and British pilots. After World War II ended, the airfield was renamed in honor of George V. Holloman, a missile research expert. In the 1960s, the Holloman Air Force Base was a key site in space exploration, and a chimpanzee named Ham was launched into space from the base.
Today, the base is home to three Air Force units and one German Air Force unit. It is also the site of one of the German Air Force Flying Training Centers. The Holloman Air Force Base currently holds the record for the longest (6 miles) and fasted (over 6,000 miles per hour) test track for rail vehicles.
Kirtland Air Force Base
The Kirtland Air Force Base, located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, was originally called the Albuquerque Army Air Base. It was established in 1939 and was originally a training facility. In 1942, the base was renamed in honor of Colonel Roy C. Kirtland, a pilot in the army. After World War II, the primary mission of the base changed and focused on renovating existing aircraft to support new weapons, including nuclear weapons. Today, the mission of the base is to support safety measures for the military’s nuclear missions.