Monday, January 9, 2012


I was discussing some of the places I've been, especially when I was in the military, with a friend over the weekend.  His son is considering joining the military, and the recruiters are doing their kabuki dance about the wonderful places he could be stationed.  He wanted the straight skinny, and I gave him my (somewhat dated) experiences and opinions.

Then something occurred to me.

I've always had an idea about how the services decide where to put bases:  The Army and Marine Corps seem to put their posts in the worst places they can find, while the Navy and Air Force pick places that are nice, fun, and close to something worth going to.

Here's a short list of the military posts I was deployed, stationed, or TDY to:

Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri - Army
Presidio of Monterey, California - Army, but really joint
Goodfellow Air Force Base - Air Force, but really joint
Augsburg, Germany - Army
Fort Huachuca, Arizona - Army
Fort Hood, Texas - Army
Fort Bragg, North Carolina - Army
Fort Irwin, California - Army
Fort Lewis, Washington - Army
Fort Drum, New York - Army
Macdill Air Force Base, Florida - Air Force
Norfolk, Virginia - Navy
Fort Meade, Maryland - Army, sort of
Cherry Point, North Carolina - Marines
Naples, Italy - Navy
Stuttgart, Germany - Joint
Berlin, Germany - Army
Frankfurt, Germany - Army
Camp Red Cloud, Korea - Army
Munich, Germany - Joint
RAF Mildenhall, UK - Air Force
Washington DC - Joint
Tuzla, Bosnia - Army
Taszar, Hungary - Army
Misawa, Japan - Air Force

There are a lot more, but those are the big ones.

I see a bit of a pattern.  The Air Force and Navy bases are where they need to be, but tend to be in relatively nice places.  The joint postings are usually almost as nice.  Also, overseas posts tend to be OK, with the exception of Tuzla and CRC.  Then we get to the domestic Marine and Army posts.  To be charitable, they tend to be crapholes.  It's like in the 1930's and 1940's the leadership took a look at a map of the continental United States and sprinkled Army posts and Marine bases in the most economically depressed and isolated areas.  Other than Goodfellow AFB, the Air Force bases all seemed to be good places to take a vacation or raise kids.  Even Norfolk, with all its warts, is better than Bragg or Cherry Point.

Do you veterans concur?  Did the Army and Marine generals put their posts in places that would make their troops hard, or at least pissed off,  and the Air Force and Navy put bases in places where their people would be happy?


NavyOne said...

I will second your theory. Oddly, the Navy bases tend to be near beaches. . .

Duke said...

Being in a Navy Seabee unit I spent a lot of time on Marine Corps bases. Most of them were built near a cluster of tattoo shops, bars and laundry mats.

Bob S. said...

Don't concur.

For example - Fort Bragg N.C.

I was stationed at Seymour Johnson A.F.B -- just 50 miles away.

And don't forget that Pope A.F.B was co-located with Bragg for decades.

Chanute A.F.B was my tech school. 50 miles outside of of Champlain Illinois -- aka the middle of no where.

I think all services generally try to find the most out of the way spots for bases.

MrGarabaldi said...

I also was in Stuttgart, where were you stationed at? I was at Cooke Barracks first tour then Stuttgart army airfield second tour.

MSgt B said...

I concur.

Although I went to school at Chanute, like Bob S., in 20+ years it was the only station that truly sucked.

MSgt B said...

I concur.

Although I went to school at Chanute, like Bob S., in 20+ years it was the only station that truly sucked.

MSgt B said...

Also, I've apparently never learned how to use Blogger.

DaddyBear said...

NavyOne - Yes, that seems to make sense. People who work on ships need to be close to the beach.
Bob S. - Good point. I should have thought of that. I was born in Minot, which is a nice place, but isn't exactly a garden spot.
Duke - You just described the major thoroughfares within two miles of every CONUS Army base.
Mr. G's - My unit used to rotate two NCO's through the J-2 at Vaihingen for 90 days at a time. I got pulled for that a couple of times in 1993.
Msgt B - Don't worry about it. I still mess up Blogger all the time.

Christina RN LMT said...

Hey, when were you in Berlin?

DaddyBear said...

I was TDY to Teufelsberg for a few weeks in 1991 when it was being shut down.

Christina RN LMT said...

I went sledding there on the rare occasions when there was enough snow. LOL! I was long gone at that time, though.

Bryan Reavis said...

I dunno. Shemya is a craptastic place and that's an AFB, meanwhile Ft. Richardson (which is now a joint base with Elemdorf, but wasn't 30 years ago when I moved there) is quite nice.

Drang said...

When were you at CRC?

Lewis, Cartoon I mean Carson, and planet Odd I mean Ft Ord. Devens, Huachuca, Goodbuddy, Oddly enough, Goodbuddy was the remotest place I was ever at, and, frankly, San Angelo isn't a bad place.

Camp Page beat CRC, Stanley, Easayons, Hovey, et al. None of them approached Ft irwin or 29 Palms--legend has it, the Army condemned Ft Irwin after WWII, and the Navy gave them a good deal on it for the Marines...

DaddyBear said...

I went over for a few weeks in 1994 when Clinton was rattling his saber a bit. Would have done my year in Korea in 1999, but the Army was going to make me do another year in Bosnia on my way to Korea, so I decided to get out rather than do two years away from the family.

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