Washington state has a long and storied history when it comes to military bases.
Some of the first European settlements in the state were established as military outposts, and throughout the 19th century, forts were built to help protect against potential invasions from British or Native American forces.
In the early 20th century, Washington became home to a number of Coast Artillery forts that were designed to protect against naval attacks. During World War II, the state was home to over two dozen military bases, many of which were used to train pilots and aircrews.
Today, Washington state is still home to a number of military installations, including Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Naval Base Kitsap. While the exact number of bases has fluctuated over the years, the state remains an important part of the United States’ military infrastructure.
For many people, military life is often synonymous with Virginia, California, or Texas but, in fact, Washington State ranks #7 for the number of active duty military members and has many military bases.
The Birth Of The Military In Washington State
With its three deepwater ports, Washington was always a draw for the navy. However, when the call went out for production and volunteers in WW2, few states gave more to the cause than Washington.
At the time, Washington had 15 shipyards, and all of them were busy cranking out warships for use in the Pacific. The Boeing factory build thousands of bombers, PACCAR produced hundreds of Sherman Tanks, and the plutonium for “Fat Man” (the bomb dropped over Nagasaki) was refined in Hanford, Washington.
Add in the boom of the aluminum industry and the tens of thousands of young men that were drafted and Washington ended up giving more, per capita, than any other state.
And what better way can we honor such a legacy than by learning about and respecting the military bases in Washington State?
So, without further ado, here we go!
Complete List Of Military Bases In Washington State
- Fairchild AFB Base
- Fort Lewis
- Joint Base Lewis-McChord
- McChord Field Base
- Naval Air Station Whidbey Island
- Naval Base Kitsap
- Naval Base Kitsap – Bangor
- Naval Base Kitsap – Bremerton
- Naval Hospital Bremerton
- Naval Station Everett
Breakdown Of Washington’s Military Bases
There are 9 military bases of note in Washington State. One Army base, six Naval Bases, and two Air Force Bases.
Army Bases In Washington State (1)
Fort Lewis is the largest and most modern military installation in the northwest. What started as a training camp in 1902 evolved into the current joint camp (army/airforce) that covers more than 135 square miles.
Fort Lewis’ position on I-5 allows easy access to Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia with easy airport access as well as deep water ports.
Positions here tend to be quite converted as it is an incredibly beautiful setting.
While there is not actually a “Seattle Army Base” Fort Lewis is the installation that people are usually referring to. Fort Lewis is the only army base in the area and is located between Tacoma and Olympia, about 47 miles south-southwest of Seattle.
Joint Base Lewis-McChord
While technically the same place as Fort Lewis, you’ll see Joint Base Lewis-McChord on this list a couple of times. It is just what it sounds like, a joint base between Fort Lewis (Army) and Mchord Air Force Base. The bases we combined in 2010 following the realignment recommendations set out in the Base Realignment and Closure Commissions.
Naval Bases In Washington State (6)
Naval Air Station Whidbey Island
Naval Air Station Whidbey Island is a United States Navy base located in Oak Harbor, Washington.
The base is home to the Navy’s Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadrons and the EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft. It is also the headquarters of Naval Air Forces Pacific Fleet’s Carrier Strike Group Eleven, which includes the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz.
The base covers more than 3,000 acres and employs more than 5,000 people. It is one of the largest employers in Island County and plays an important role in the local economy.
In addition to its military functions, the base also serves as a training ground for search and rescue operations, disaster relief, and environmental protection. It is also home to a variety of recreation facilities, including a golf course, tennis courts, and a swimming pool.
There is (or was) also a station of marines in Washington at Naval Air Station Whidbey. The Marine Aviation Training Support Group 53 provided logistical support to the southwestern United States from Washington.
Naval Base Kitsap
Naval Base Kitsap is a United States Navy base located in Washington state. It is the largest naval installation in the Pacific Northwest and is home to four aircraft carriers, Nimitz-class and Ford-class.
The base also supports a population of over 25,000 active duty personnel and their families.
In addition to the massive size and scope of the base, it is also home to some of the most technologically advanced ships and submarines in the world.
As a result, Naval Base Kitsap plays a critical role in the US military’s ability to project power across the globe. From its strategic location on the west coast of the United States, the base provides a launching point for expeditionary forces into Asia and the Pacific region.
In addition, the base serves as a vital link in the chain of logistics and support that sustains American forces deployed around the world.
Naval Base Kitsap – Bangor
Naval Base Kitsap Bangor is a United States Navy base located in Washington state. The base is situated on the Puget Sound, and its main function is to support the US Navy’s submarine force.
The base is home to a large number of submarines, as well as a nuclear weapons storage facility. In addition, the base provides berthing and fueling services for aircraft carriers and other ships.
Naval Base Kitsap Bangor plays an important role in the US Navy’s operations, and it is a vital part of the military’s presence in the Pacific Northwest.
Naval Base Kitsap – Bremerton
Naval Base Kitsap Bremerton is the largest naval installation in the Pacific Northwest, spanning over 3,000 acres of land and providing critical support to the United States Navy.
The base is home to a major shipyard, as well as a submarine base and several hospitals.
In addition, the base provides housing for military families and civilian employees.
Naval Base Kitsap Bremerton is a vital part of the regional economy, supporting over 21,000 jobs and generating $3.2 billion in annual economic activity. The base also plays an important role in national security, serving as a key strategic location for the Navy’s Pacific Fleet.
Naval Hospital Bremerton
Naval Hospital Bremerton is a state-of-the-art medical facility that provides comprehensive care for active duty service members, retirees, and their families.
The hospital offers a full range of services, from primary care to specialty care, and is staffed by a team of highly skilled medical professionals. In addition to providing excellent patient care, the hospital also serves as a training ground for Navy medical students and residents.
The hospital’s commitment to excellence in patient care and education is evident in its many awards and accolades, including being named a top teaching hospital by the American Association of Medical Colleges.
Naval Station Everett
Opened in 1994, Naval Station Everett is one of the newest military installations in the United States.
The base is located on the Puget Sound, about 25 miles north of Seattle, and is home to a wide variety of naval vessels, including aircraft carriers, destroyers, and submarines.
In addition to its active duty personnel, the base also plays host to a number of reserve units and civilian employees.
Air Force Bases In Washington State (3)
Fairchild AFB Base
Fairchild AFB is an Air Force base located in Washington state. The base is home to the 92nd Air Refueling Wing, which provides aerial refueling and airlift support for the United States military.
Fairchild also houses the 99th Medical Group, which provides medical care for service members and their families.
In addition, the base is home to a number of other organizations, including the Department of Defense Dependents’ School System and the Washington State University Extension Center.
Fairchild AFB is a vital part of the United States military’s presence in the Pacific Northwest, and its importance is likely to continue to grow in the years to come.
McChord Field Base
McChord Field is a United States Air Force base located in Pierce County, Washington.
The base is home to the 62nd Airlift Wing and the 8th Airlift Wing, and it is also the headquarters of Air Mobility Command’s Seventeenth Air Force.
McChord Field was established in 1940 as Tacoma Municipal Airport #2, and it was renamed in 1941 after Colonel John McChord, a pioneer aviator who was killed in a plane crash.
The base played a key role in World War II, serving as a training and transit center for troops heading to the Pacific Theater. In the years since the war, McChord Field has continued to be an important military installation, and it remains an essential part of the Air Force’s global logistics network.
Joint Base Lewis-McChord
While technically not a separate installation, I’ll include the conglomerate joint base here as a separate entry.
Joint Base Lewis-McChord is a U.S. military installation in the state of Washington. The base is located just south of Tacoma, and it serves as a training and deployment center for Army and Air Force personnel.
JBLM is home to over 100,000 service members and their families, making it one of the largest military bases in the country. The base has a rich history, dating back to the early days of the Pacific Northwest.
Today, JBLM is an important part of the military’s presence in the region, and it plays a vital role in protecting our national security.
I hope you were able to learn a little bit more about the military bases that we have in Washington State. If you’re looking at being assigned to the area, welcome! You will be hard-pressed to find a place that has more beautiful geography and weather.
Despite the left-leaning politics in much of the state, military support and culture remain high in many parts and Washington State is proud to support the freedom and defense of our great nation!