What Are the Military Bases in Alaska?
Are there any military bases in Alaska?
Though its population isn’t the highest, Alaska is the largest state in the Union. The Last Frontier is in a strategic area concerning the Arctic Circle, Asia, and Russia. It’s an important part of our country, offering some of the most beautiful landscapes as well as strategic resources. For these reasons, having a military base in Alaska makes sense on a number of levels. Let’s look at all the U.S. military bases in Alaska.
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How Many Military Bases Are in Alaska?
There are a total of nine bases in the state of Alaska. Surprisingly enough, even with this number of bases across the state, Alaskan military bases house around 6,000 people, but none are serving as enlisted with the Navy or the Marines. Naval Air Facility Adak in Adak, AK, still stands as an airport, but it was closed as a base in 1997.
Where Is the Military Base in Alaska?
With nine military bases throughout the state, Alaska has plenty of cities featuring military installations. Here is where each one is located:
Eielson Air Force Base
The Eielson Air Force Base can be found in North Pole, Alaska, which is also near Fairbanks. During World War II, the base wasn’t used much and was eventually shut down. Due to the heightened military need during the Cold War, the country would reopen the base. Today, Eielson AFB serves as a training ground for the Air Force.
Elmendorf Air Force Base
On the northeast side of Anchorage, Alaska, you’ll find the Elmendorf Air Force Base. The base played a big role during its service in World War II, but the troops were moved shortly after to Fort Richardson, which now stands as Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
Clear Air Force Station
Clear Air Force Station in Denali Borough, Alaska, has many important jobs, but the early detection capabilities of ballistic missiles and intercontinental nuclear ballistic missiles (ICBMs) is pretty high on the list. There are several potential threats with such capabilities, including China, Russia, and North Korea. Clear Air Force Station, which has recently been renamed Clear Space Force Station, helps keep everyone informed and alert.
Home to more than 10,000 troops and reservists, Fort Richardson is the largest in the state. Here, you’ll find the 50th Signal Battalion, U.S. Army Law Enforcement Command, and the Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) Academy. The installation shares a space with another base, as it has merged with Elmendorf AFB. You can find these military facilities in Anchorage, AK.
Things have always been changing at Fort Wainwright, situated in Fairbanks, Alaska, but one thing remains the same. This base is one of the best places to test weapons under extreme arctic weather conditions. Fort Wainwright is one of the biggest training facilities for the Armed Forces in Alaska.
Although Fort Greely in Fairbanks, Alaska, is a small installation, it is an important one. Beyond testing in harsh weather conditions, the fort is where many anti-ballistic missiles are tested and launched to keep Americans safe.
ISC Kodiak Coast Guard Base
Kodiak Island, Alaska, isn’t a part of the mainland of the Last Frontier, which makes it the perfect place to build a base for the Coast Guard. The ISC Kodiak Coast Guard Base is a huge base featuring more than 23,000 acres, and due to its size, it can facilitate both ships and aircraft.
Marine Safety Unit Valdez Coast Guard Base
Two things bring people to Valdez, AK: tourism and energy. Valdez is rich with natural beauty and natural resources, which can mean that, from time to time, oil spills may happen, such as the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989. Keeping everyone safe and making sure energy is retrieved in a safe, responsible manner are the fine people serving at the Marine Safety Unit Valdez Coast Guard Base nearby. The base is responsible for ice patrolling missions in the north, as southern bases are incapable of performing such tasks.
Juneau, Alaska, is situated east of the Gulf of Alaska. It is the capital of the state as well as the second-most populous city in the state. Due to its size and strategic location, this is why it is the perfect location for USCG Juneau. The Coast Guard can protect more citizens and help the country as a whole, thanks to its location as one of the military bases in Alaska.
The Key Missions of Military Bases in Alaska
While it is common for a military base in Alaska to be home to training programs, each one also plays an important part in keeping America safe. One of the natural strategic advantages of the United States is the two oceans that are found on either side. This creates a natural barrier and makes invasion or attack difficult for many nations, should war ever become necessary.
Things shrink considerably when you realize the short distance between Alaska and the Eastern world. Having a military base in Alaska can help keep our troops ready for war in harsher, winter-like conditions, but it is also a great area to keep an eye on potential threats that we would rather keep at bay. We may not always realize it here in the lower 48, but the strategic positioning of Alaska makes for a great way to monitor potential threats before they become active threats to our great nation.
Where is the military base in Alaska? It depends on which one you’re looking for. One thing is for sure, Alaska plays an intricate role in keeping all of us aware, prepared, and protected. The history of the military in Alaska continues to evolve, but its place in our country is just as important as ever.
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