The United States of America is proud to be one of the world’s strongest military powers. It is one of the superpowers, and even minor decisions can tip the world balance. There are several military bases and forts throughout the country to accommodate military personnel and their families.
Every state in the country has military bases, and today, we would be focusing on and discussing the military bases in Pennsylvania.
The state of Pennsylvania has three functioning Army bases and two functioning Navy bases. The JRB Willow Grove Navy Base in Horsham Township is worthy of mention, which was very important during World Wars and the Cold War but has been shut down. In an attempt to cut the military budget for maintaining a peaceful relation with other nations, many bases had to be shut down throughout the country, and thousands of civilians and soldiers were left without work. Let us now talk about Pennsylvania’s military bases.
1. Carlisle Barracks Army Base in Carlisle, PA
Built as a small brick fortress in 1757, the Carlisle Barracks Army Base is the second oldest military base in the United States of America. Built during the Seven Years’ War, this fortress aimed to defend the area against the enemy forces. Later, it was turned into a training site for civilians and enlisting soldiers. It regained its objective as a defense fortress during the American Civil War.
This base served as a medical institution during the First World War. Later, during the Second World War, six war schools were established to trained soldiers for the war. The hospital and medical school operated on wounded troops and trained soldiers as medics.
The fort houses ten critical units at the moment. Noteworthy are the Dunham Health Clinic, the Dental Care System, the Network Enterprise Centre, the Criminal Investigation Division, and the famous US Army War College. As a soldier, you can choose to find accommodations for yourself and your family within the Carlisle Barracks. A Sponsor would help you in the regards and also help you understand the working of the place.
Having not played a major role post the Second World War, the base was supposed to be shut down in 2005. However, the authorities decided against it. After a huge renovation process, it still runs as one of the few military bases in Pennsylvania with such a varied and proud history.
2. Tobyhanna Army Depot Base in Tobyhanna, PA
The Tobyhanna Army Depot in eastern Pennsylvania mostly deals with logistics for the army. It is also tasked with the repair, update, and integration of the C4ISR systems for every military force of the United States of America. This is one of the few military bases in Pennsylvania whose work is not centered only around the Army.
The Tobyhanna Base aims to support various electronic systems – its manufacture, design, and repairs. This site employs a high number of civilians as they mostly deal with engineering and technical problems. In 2005, US President George W. Bush hosted the Veteran’s Day celebrations to thank the workers. In 2006, the Tobyhanna Army Depot Base won the Shingo Prize and the Award of Excellence for its relentless and priceless services.
Initially built for training ambulance corps and tanks, it trained young civilian recruits during the First World War. Later, during the Second World War, its importance dropped due to limited training possibilities. During this time, it was used as a hospital and also used by ambulance trainees. Also, it hosted around 300 prisoners of war, mostly from Germany.
After the Second World War, its relevance lessened, and the local authorities built a depot around 1950. The Army Corps of Engineers operated it after the Second World War. These days, it is one of the military bases in Pennsylvania with many civilian employees.
3. Letterkenny Army Depot Army Base in Chambersburg, PA
With 17,500 acres, the Letterkenny Army Depot is the largest among all military bases in Pennsylvania. Initially built to store ammunitions, it is now used as the Army’s Capability Depot. It is one of the new bases in the state and employs over 3000 Army civilians, military personnel, and contractors. On July 1, 1954, it was recognized as a permanent military installment. Later, its name was changed, and the US Army Material Command took command of the base.
The Letterkenny Army Depot aimed to provide the best healthcare and safety service to the troops, employees, and contractors. With a belief in the Voluntary Protection Program, the depot commits to providing a safe workplace and exceptional healthcare system. The Center for Industrial Technical Excellence (CITE) at Letterkenny Army Depot was charged with maintenance, storage, modification, and demilitarization of tactical missiles and ammunition.
During the Korean War, the Letterkenny Depot played a major role in training under the Depot Command Management System and SPEEDEX. In 1955, Major Item Supply Management Agency or MISMA became a permanent unit of the Letterkenny Army Depot. Several other agencies and posts later joined it during the 1970s and 80s.
Letterkenny Depot is commissioned with the repair of tactical missiles, especially the MIM-104 PATRIOT Surface-to-Air (SAM) missiles and their radar and ground support equipment. In recent times, Letterkenny has been the site for holding several memorial services and events. Soldiers associated with the infamous 9/11 event and their families have been honored with parades, feasts, and other events. The base has earned several awards and decorations, especially the ninth Shingo medallion for manufacturing excellence in 2013. The depot had also been awarded the Army Superior Unit Award in 2007, and it continues to deliver and excel in its field of service.
4. JRB Willow Grove Navy Base in Horsham Township, PA
The JRB Willow Grove Navy Base is one of the unofficial military bases in Pennsylvania. It no longer exists on the military map of the United States of America. Though the United States Navy owned the base, the Army, Marines, and Air Force were permitted to participate in and hold training exercises. The base aimed to maintain a healthy ready-to-go force by intensive training and maintaining a reserve group.
Harold Frederick Pitcairn is often considered the ‘father’ of this base as he laid the foundations for the construction. Construction started around 1926, and it initially featured a large hanger and a long airstrip in Horsham. Despite the design being pretty old-fashioned and antiquated, it served its purpose. It did not play any major role during the First World War and was only used for operations related to small testing and design. During the Second World War, the government acquired the land for the development of a secret warfare program aimed to fight offensive enemy submarines. It played a minor role during the Cold War and was transformed into a training facility, mainly for the different military fields’ reserve units.
The JRB Willow Grove Base was officially closed in Autumn 2011, and most of its personnel on-site were directed to other military installments. It hosted prestigious units like the 111th Fighter Wing, the 270th EIS, and the 913th Airlift Wing during its years of service.
5. Naval Support Activity In Northeast Philadelphia, PA
Established in the year 1942, the NSA Philadelphia consists of warehouse offices for the United States Navy. It offers support services to the Navy units stationed at the old Philadelphia Navy Yard. It is one of the few military bases in Pennsylvania, with the main purpose of supplying the US military with their missions and expeditions. It served as a base to Naval Aviation Parts and headquarters to the Defence Industrial Supply Centre.
The NSA Philadelphia houses important units like the Defense Logistics Agency and the NAVSUP. Some other tenants at this military installation include the DLA Troop Support, Human Resources Service Center Northeast (HRSC NE), DLA Document Services, and NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center Norfolk (NAVSUP FLC).
6. NSA Mechanicsburg Navy Base in Mechanicsburg, PA
The NSA Mechanicsburg is one of the few military bases in Pennsylvania under the United States Navy’s direct command. Its main objective is to support the local units and tenants; its mission has changed over time. Before 2005, the NSA Mechanicsburg base was responsible for petroleum operations and chemical handling missions, but now it focuses on ship maintenance operations. The housing facility is great, with lots of services and centers making life easy. With the recreational areas and outdoor activities, the area acts as a civilian community. All inhabitants, military personnel, civilian families, contractors, and employees receive equal benefits and opportunities.
Currently, NSA Mechanicsburg has around 5000 inhabitants and about 30 tenants. The most important tenants are the Supply System Commands, the Inventory Control Point, and the Information Systems Activity.
Knowing about the military bases in Pennsylvania surely seems to bring pictures of the times the United States has had to face wars. Though the United States Air Force does not have any base in Pennsylvania, they often conduct training and emergency operations in conjugation with the other forces of the military. The country’s young men served their nation to the very end with great valor and honor to ensure victories.
As an enthusiast in the US military force’s achievements, you can also go through the history and story behind the Battle of Gettysburg from here. Knowing more about the military and its achievements cannot help but fill one’s heart with love and pride for one’s nation. To know more about the military bases and their histories, click here. The US Military official site can help you know more about specific details about their victories and details of the soldiers’ hard work and perseverance.