Military bases in Virginia include Camp Pendleton State Military Reservation, Fort AP Hill, Fort Belvoir, Fort Eustis and many more. Virginia is a southeastern state with a population of over 8 million people. Virginia is one of the 13 original colonies that being said the state is full of American history and some iconic landmarks. Virginai is a wonderfull place to visit and live.
Military Bases in Virginia
Virginia is home to some very important US military bases that support our nations military defense. Below are some of locations of military bases in Virginia.
Camp Pendleton State Military Reservation
This reserve base sits in Virginia Beach and was first built in 1911. The primary purpose of the Pendleton State Military Reservation is to train the Virginia National Guard and occasionally other members of the armed forces. Although the soldiers there do a variety of training, this base mainly functions as a state rifle range. The U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps conducts boot camps here in the summer and winter.
Camp Pendleton also hosts and organizes the Challenge Program each year, which was established to help at-risk youth develop important life skills. This program lasts 5 ½ months and earns each of the youth a GED. The Coast Guard has been leading this program since it opened in 1994.
Another interesting fact about this base is that the governor of Virginia uses a cottage home here as a summer vacation spot. Due to its age and history, Camp Pendleton was designated a historic district on September 26, 2005, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Fort AP Hill
Fort AP Hill was established on June 11, 1941, as a training facility for the U.S. Army. It’s located close to Bowling Green, Virginia, and was named after Lieutenant General Ambrose Powell Hill, a commander for the Confederate side during the Civil War. Since its creation, operations at this base have been reconstructed to serve different purposes. During the Korean War, it served as a staging area for those being deployed to Europe, and during the Vietnam War, it hosted training for the Engineer Officer Candidate School.
Today it is primarily used to train active-duty and reserve troops of the U.S. Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps branches in addition to the U.S. Army. This base has taken its turn hosting the Boy Scouts of America National Jamboree for eight separate years before the Jamboree moved to its permanent location in West Virginia.
Fort AP Hill is one of over 20 military bases in Virginia. These bases are close together and often flight training will occur between several of them, including Fort AP Hill. Those flight training combined with firearm training create a lot of noise in the area, and it’s not uncommon for civilians’ windows to shake in their frames from practice bombings. With all the noise complaints this installation has gotten over the years, it is finally employing noise-detection technology that can easily identify where the source of the noise is coming from.
Fort Belvoir was originally known as Camp A. A. Humphreys during WWI when it was founded. It was renamed “Belvoir” in the 1930s after the name of an old plantation that had once been located there in Fairfax, Virginia. Over 51,000 employees work at Fort Belvoir. This base is quite large and includes Davison Army Airfield, the Fort Belvoir North Area, and the main base, which are all distinct geographic locations. This installation serves as the headquarters for several commands and agencies, including the Missile Defense Agency, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and the United States Army Intelligence and Security Command.
This installation is controlled by the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command and is located near Newport News, Virginia. It was built on March 7, 1918, but in 2010, Eustis merged with the Langley base to create the Joint Base Langley-Eustis. The garrison located there is the 7th Transportation Brigade, and the fort’s motto is “nothing happens until something moves.”
Over the course of its life, this military installation has served in a number of capacities, such as a training facility for the Army artillery. Interestingly, it also served as a WPA work camp and even as a prison for offenders of the prohibition law. Starting in WWII, Fort Eustis consolidated training in marine, amphibious, and railroad operations as well as for other modes of transportation. Because of this, the fort became known as the “Home of Army Transportation.”
Fort Eustis is also home to the U.S. Army Transportation Museum which features a number of vehicles previously used by the Army. Nearby, in a part of the James River quite close to Mulberry Island is what locals have called the Ghost Fleet. These anchored ships were once part of the U.S. Maritime Administration’s National Defense Reserve Fleet. These ships are now inactive, and some have been anchored there for decades. This nearby Ghost Fleet adds a bit of spooky character to the Fort.
Fort Lee is located in Prince George County, Virginia, next to the cities of Hopewell, Petersburg, and Colonial Heights. It is a U.S. Army post as serves as the headquarters for Combined Arms Support Command, It was named after General Robert E. Lee of the Confederate Army. The population at this fort averages at about 34,000, and it is the third largest base in the army with about 70,000 soldiers filling its classrooms each year. Two of the Army’s museums are located here as well: the Army Women’s Museum and the Army Quartermaster Museum.
This military installation is rich with history of the United states. It is in the area of Fort Lee that the first British settlers encountered the Powhatan Confederation in 1607. In WWI, Fort Lee became a state mobilization camp just days after war was declared on Germany. Then during WWII, the fort was rebuilt and started operation of the Quartermaster Replacement Training Center. Fort Lee has served many important wartime purposes throughout its long life, but it didn’t become a permanent brick-built structure until after the Korean War.
This base is located next to Arlington National Cemetery. The Civil War marked the origination of Fort Myer, Virginia, though it was first named Fort Whipple after Brevet Major General Amiel Weeks Whipple.
This was actually the first military installation to witness the flight of an aircraft. Orville Wright exhibited several flights there, the beginning of which was marked by fatality (Lt. Thomas Selfridge was the first to die in a powered aircraft). Aircraft flight was not the only first at Fort Myer. This installation also held the first radio telecommunications in 1913, and it operated the first overseas communication to Paris by using the Three Sisters, which were three radio towers built there by the Navy. Since it is so close to Arlington Cemetery, many burial teams and Services’ Honor Guards operate at this fort.
Although this was first an Army base, Fort Myer joined with the Marine Corps base Henderson Hall in 2005 to create the Joint-Base Myer-Henderson Hall. Fort McNair in Washington, D.C. is also a part of Myer-Henderson Hall. This base is operated by the U.S. Army but the Marines and Navy also have resident commands there. Part of the mission of the JBMHH is to support the Department of Homeland Security within the nation’s capital.
The Army National Guard Maneuver Training Center is located at Fort Pickett, and in fact, this fort is the Regional Training Center for the entire East Coast and can stage up to 5,000 soldiers. It was established in 1942 east of Blackstone, Virginia, and was named after General George E. Pickett who charged during the Battle of Gettysburg exactly 79 years earlier. It has an amazing 42,000 acres of training grounds that include top-notch facilities like a Forward Operation Base, Urban Assault, and a Live Fire Range.
Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School
The U.S. Army operates this center located in Charlottesville, Virginia. This school teaches legal and leadership skills to any military, civilian, and international personnel. The American Bar Association has accredited the school’s graduate-level division to award the Military of Law Master of Law degree. The programs the JAG offers cover law affecting military criminal prosecution and defense, military operations, international law, legal assistance to soldiers, and more.
National Ground Intelligence Center
The NGIC is a subordinate unit of the U.S. Army. This Center is a little different from the average military base in that it supports national decision makers by providing scientific and technical (S&T) and general military intelligence (GMI) for the Army’s foreign ground forces rather than providing training facilities. It’s located in Albemarle County in Virginia, and it was created in 1994 when the U.S. Army Foreign Science and Technology Center (FSTC) was merged with the Intelligence and Threat Analysis Center (ITAC). The NGIC is organized into the Office of Chief of Staff, and the Office of the Commander, and it also has seven directorates (Forces, Systems, Technologies, Foreign Material, Training and Contingencies, Information Management (IM), and Information Technologies (IT)).
Radford Army Ammunition Plant
The Radford Army Ammunition Plant (RFAAP), established in 1941, primarily manufactures ammunitions. Its facilities are located in the Virginia counties of Pulaski and Montgomery. The RFAAP’s main mission is to support Navy weapons systems for tank, missile, and aircraft as well as field artillery and air defense by manufacturing propellants and explosives.
Interestingly, the RFAAP is the sole supplier of TNT to the United States Department of Defense ever since BAE Systems became the plant operator. Because of the nature of its operations, there is a large amount of waste that is accumulated at the RFAAP, and for decades, the plant has disposed of its waste through an open-burning ground almost entirely surrounded by the river. This has prompted environmental concerns, but all contamination is being addressed through the Installation Restoration Program (IRP).
Warrenton Training Center
The Warrenton Training Center is located just outside Warrenton, Virginia, and includes four separate facilities named Stations A, B, C, and D. As a part of the Federal Relocation Arc, WTC was created in 1951. It was built with underground bunkers that were fortified to hold against nuclear attack. In effect, the facility would allow the government to continue functioning after a national attack. However, for security reasons, the center was publicly announced as a communication training school.
Today the WTC’s purpose is to provide a secure location for government communications in any scenario, but each of the stations has its own specialized functions as well. Station A provides facilities for several governmental agencies such as the CIA and Department of State. Station B is the official headquarters and the facilities there are used for training in communications, electronics testing, equipment maintenance, and communications development. Station C is responsible for the transmission of the CIA’s coded signals. And Station D mainly deals with satellite communications.
Langley Air Force Base
In 1916 the National Advisory Council for Aeronautics (which eventually became NASA) decided to establish an airfield for testing Army, Navy, and NACA operations and aircraft. The site needed to be flat, clear, and close to water. So, the Langley Air Force Base was constructed as the first base built specifically for air power. It is now located near the cities of Hampton and Newport News, Virginia, and in 2010, this base joined with Fort Eustis and is now called Joint Base Langley-Eustis.
During WWII, Langley played a large role in developing equipment used against enemy submarines and even was responsible for sinking a majority of subs off the U.S. coast. Just before the Cold War, Langley became the established headquarters of the Tactical Air Command which was designed to train and maintain forces that could be rapidly deployed to defend the air during wartime and maintain air sovereignty during peacetime.
An interesting side fact about Langley is that an air show called “AirPower over Hampton Roads” is held here every year in the spring. It’s a great time to watch a demonstration of the F-22 Raptor or see parachute demos.
Naval Support Activity South Potomac (NSASP)
The NSASP is a major shore command that was established in 2005 as a part of Naval District Washington. It hosts both the Naval Support Facility (NSF) in Dahlgren, Virginia and the NSF in Indian Head, Maryland. The command’s mission is to effectively manage and support shore installation to maintain combat readiness.
The NSF in Dahlgren that the NSASP oversees was actually established almost 100 years earlier in 1918. It started as a gun test facility but eventually became a site for response-force and scientific missions for all branches.
Training Support Center Hampton Roads
This training support center was founded in 2004. Its headquarters is in Dam Neck Annex but it also operates five regional support offices as well as three satellite service centers. It is also home to the U.S. Navy’s Fleet Combat Training Center Atlantic. About 90,000 soldiers, Coast Guardsmen, and Marines pass through the TSCHR each year so it’s important for the center to offer top-notch centralized student management. The Center for Surface Combat Systems is the actual activity for training and is headquartered in Dahlgren, Virginia. As such a large and important training facility, the TSCHR also hosts the Intelligence Training Center for the Navy and Marines which offers military intelligence training to Marines and sailors.
NAB Little Creek
Originally, this base was located on a piece of land in Princess Anne County that was a mixture of farm and swamp. During WWII, the base facilitated various amphibious training in addition to training for landing ship medium (LSM), landing craft utility (LCU), landing craft infantry (LCI), landing craft mechanized (LCM), and landing craft personnel vehicle (LCVP). Today the military installation actually consists of what used to be four separates bases. Those bases were combined and renamed as a new permanent base called Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek in 1946. Now the NAB Little Creek is a major location for the U.S. Navy Fleet’s Amphibious Forces and trains thousands from all branches of the military in amphibious warfare.
This Navy base, located in Norfolk, Virginia, supports the U.S. Fleet Forces Command as well as forces managing operations in the Indian Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, and Mediterranean Sea. It is in a prime location for open water operations since it occupies seven miles of wharf and pier space and four miles of waterfront. It supports an amazing 75 ships and 134 aircraft, making it the world’s largest naval station. Beyond this number of ships and aircraft it supports, it also controls the movements of over 3,100 ships each year. There aren’t any questions about productivity at this base since it oversees more than 100,000 flight operations and transports more than 264,000 tons of cargo annually.
The base started up in the middle of 1917 and it grew rapidly to accommodate thousands of enlisted men by the very next year – the tail end of WWI. In the following years, the Naval Station operations fluctuated in pace, so that during the 1920s, it recruited at only a third of its capacity. However, with the onset of WWII, activity at the station changed drastically when millions of dollars worth of projects rolled in and the station fought to protect its ships from German U-boats.
One large milestone at NS Norfolk was reached in 1968 when the station provided command and communications with ships and aircraft involved in putting the man on the moon during Apollo 7 operations.
The Naval Air Station Oceana, located in Virginia Beach, supports requirements for aircraft operations assigned to Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic, Fleet Logistics Support Wing, and Commander, in addition to other interagency aircraft. This station is the Navy’s Master Jet Base for the East Coast and it employs over 10,000 Navy personnel and over 4,000 civilian personnel. Eighteen squadrons of Hornet and Super Hornet make this base their home.
The NAS Oceana’s mission is to support all assets of the Atlantic Fleet Strike; provide resources for operations on land, in the air, and at sea; and enable the Navy’s mission.
Interestingly, NAS Oceana was designated as a landing site alternative for NASA’s Space Shuttle until 2011.
Wallops Island ASCS
Wallops Island is located on Virginia’s eastern shore in a very rural setting. The NASA Wallops Flight Facility there is the location for the Surface Combat Systems Center. Overall, it’s a relatively small base containing about 90 active military service members, 60 civil service members, and 250 contractor personnel. The mission for this installation is to assist in fleet operations, evaluation, testing, research, training, and development by providing systems of live integrated warfare in sea-like environments.
Naval Weapons Station Yorktown takes up about one-fifth of the total land size of York County and was established in 1918 by way of a presidential proclamation. It was first named “Navy Mine Depot” then was renamed “Naval Mine Depot” before finally gaining its current name, “Naval Weapons Station Yorktown,” in 1958 to reflect the changes in the Navy’s mission. The base helps to provide support to the Navy by contributing ammunition and weapons storage as well as a facility for loading ships.
This site is rich in early American history since it’s located on the York River which was one of the early settlements for English colonists.
In Arlington, directly across the Potomac, is Henderson Hall which is the location of the USMC headquarters company unit and all the educational facilities associated with it. It was named after Colonel Brevet Brigadier General Archibald Henderson who served in various leadership positions within the Marine Corps throughout the War of 1812, the war with the Seminole and Creek Indians, and the Mexican-American War. Henderson was the fifth and longest-serving commandant of the Marine Corps. Although the land this base was built on is quite old and historic, any buildings older than the mid-20th century were destroyed during construction.
This Marine Corps base is located near Triangle but covers land in the counties of Stafford, Prince William, and Fauquier. This base is known as the “Crossroads of the Marine Corps,” partly due to its emphasis on training. Quantico Base is home to the FBI Academy, the training facility for the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), the Marine Corps Officer Candidates School, and the Marine Corps Brig.
Although Quantico saw a definite military presence during the American Revolution, the beginnings of the actual Marine base weren’t built until 1917 when the Marine Barracks, Quantico was established. During WWI, thousands of Marines were trained here. Just a few years before WWII, Amphibious Warfare Doctrine was established here and it helped achieve victory in the Pacific theater during the war. Another interesting fact is that Quantico developed the first helicopter squadron for the Marine Corps which still provides transportation for each president of the United States.
Virginia Coast Guard Stations
There are about seven U.S. Coast Guard stations located in Virginia. Each of the centers in this state strives to protect the community, ecosystem, and surrounding waters every day. One station in Arlington is home to the National Pollution Funds Center, which monitors and helps transport oil across any U.S. waters. Whenever there is an oil spill, the Coast Guard here responds within 24 hours to ensure the waters stay as clean as possible from this harmful pollution.