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GlobalSecurity.org In the News

Associated Press May 12, 2005

Bases Then and Now

Seal Beach, Los Alamitos Officials Await Decision


A look at the founding purpose and modern mission of a sampling of U.S. military bases:

Fort Bliss, Texas

Then: A posting for infantry guarding the El Paso del Norte mountain pass, named Fort Bliss in 1854 for an aide to Gen. Zachary Taylor, Lt. Col. W.W.S. Bliss. Cavalry post in early 1900s, home of the First Cavalry Division until World War II, later an anti-aircraft artillery center.

Now: A leading base for training and deployment of combat forces as home of the Air Defense Artillery Center of Excellence and seven Forces Command warfighting units. Larger than Rhode Island, it is the only Army training center in the continental U.S. big enough for long-range missiles such as the Patriot and HAWK to be fired.

Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Then: East Coast amphibious training center established in 1941 before U.S. joined World War II.
Now: Home to more than 47,000 marines and sailors in several major commands, including the II Marine Expeditionary Force.

Fort Drum, N.Y.

Then: Area was first home to Army infantry units in the early 1800s, used to control smuggling, and it served as the center for naval and other military operations for Lake Ontario and the Upper St. Lawrence River Valley during the War of 1812. The site of Fort Drum has been used for training since 1908 and underwent major expansion during World War II, when it also housed prisoners of war.

Now: Home of the Army's 10th Mountain Division, known as the 10th Light Infantry Division when it was activated in 1985.

McGuire Air Force Base, N.J.

Then: A single dirt airstrip used by the Army in 1937 as an adjunct to neighboring Fort Dix. A source for crating and shipping aircraft to Europe during World War II, and for anti-submarine patrols. Transferred to the Air Force in 1949.

Now: Home of the 21st Air Force, Air Mobility Warfare Center and 305th Air Mobility Wing.

Mayport Naval Station, Fla.

Then: Commissioned in 1942 for use by patrol craft, rescue boats and vehicle carriers. Decommissioned after World War II and then reactivated, it served as a staging area during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962.

Now: Third largest naval facility in continental U.S., behind San Diego and Norfolk, Va., as home of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command, home port of aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy and a major air station.


Sources: Military bases and GlobalSecurity.org


Copyright 2005, The Associated Press