What comes to mind when I mention the State of Florida?
- Disney World?
- The Daytona 500?
Florida is a wonderful State and is the home of the Commander of Part Time Commander… Mr Charles Holmes.
So I decided to take a look at military life in the State of Florida. In today’s post, I am going to share what I believe are the top 10 military bases in Florida.
To determine this, I am not just looking a how many personnel are active on that base. I am looking at the various missions and the overall importance of that base.
Let’s take a look at the top 10 military bases in the Sunshine State starting with #10 and working our way to #1.
#10: Tyndall Air Force Base
This base is located approximately 12 miles East of Panama City. This base was first opened in 1941 as part of the U.S. Army and was a gunnery range. In 1947, it became an Air Force base. The base was named after Lieutenant Francis B. Tyndall.
The primary units assigned to Tyndall AFB consist of:
- 325th Fighter Wing
- 44th Fighter Group
- First Air Force
- 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group
- 337th Air Control Squadron
- and the Air Force Civil Engineer Center
#9: Blount Island Command
Blount Island is located just outside of Jacksonville. It is an important Marine Corps logistical base and is set up for rapid deployment of Marine equipment and personnel.
Blount Island Command is under the command of Marine Corps Logistic Command in Albany, Georgia.
Ships can be loaded to keep Marine forces supplied for long periods of time.
#8: Naval Air Station Jacksonville
This Navy Air Station is about 8 miles South of Jacksonville. The area has been used by the United States military since 1917 during World War I.
NAS Jacksonville is home to various Patrol Squadrons and Helicopter Strike Squadrons. U.S. Customs and Border Protection also has a headquarters at NAS Jacksonville.
#7: Naval Air Station Pensacola
It is called The Cradle Of Naval Aviation and home of the Blue Angels.
The area where NAS Pensacola is located has been prime military property since as far back as the 1500’s.
It is the home of Naval Aviation Schools Command.
Other posts you may enjoy:
- The Top 10 Army Bases in Europe
- Top 10 Army Bases in the USA
- List of Army Bases in the USA as of 2015
- The Top 20 Army Airborne Soldiers of All Time
- Army vs. Navy Football Game: The Top 10 Games of All Time
#6: Camp Blanding
Built in 1940, Camp Blanding is the primary training base for the Florida National Guard. This base is a primary location for counter drug operations and has around 55,000 acres of training lands.
Many Army ROTC units also use Camp Blanding as a training base.
#5: Patrick Air Force Base
Home to the 45th Space Wing who controls Cape Canaveral, Patrick Air Force Base is located in Brevard County, Florida.
Also calling Patrick AFB home is:
- The 920th Rescue Wing
- The Air Force Technical Applications Center
- and the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute
It was named after Major General Mason Patrick.
#4: MacDill Air Force Base
MacDill AFB is about 4 miles South of Tampa. It is an extremely important base. It is home to the 6th Air Mobility Wing and 927th Air Refueling Wing. But even more important is the fact that MacDill holds:
- United States Central Command Headquarters
- United States Special Operations Command Headquarters
- United States Marine Forces Central Command Headquarters
- and many other joint service tenants
Opened in 1939, this base is named in honor of Colonel Leslie MacDill.
#3: Air Station Clearwater
This is the largest United State’s Coast Guard Air Station. Keeping the area swept of drugs and illegal aliens, this Coast Guard base holds a huge level of importance in Florida.
The crafts at Air Station Clearwater take part in a long list of search and rescue missions yearly.
#2: Naval Air Station Key West
Key West isn’t just Jimmy Buffet land with Tequila and dancing in the sun.
NAS Key West plays an integral part in United States military operations. It is a key training area for air to air combat operations. The Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security and many others use this base as a training area. Not to mention, it is the training site for U.S. Special Forces underwater training.
The U.S. Navy has inhabited this site since early in the 1800’s.
#1: Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division
I put this Orlando training center at #1 because of the huge importance. While not a “base” per say, thousands of men and women are trained yearly on Naval Warfare techniques, strategies and the use of technology.
The center’s mission reads: To be the principal Navy center for research, development, test and evaluation, acquisition and product support of training systems, to provide Inter-service coordination and training systems support for the Army, Marine Corps and Air Force, and to perform such other functions and tasks as directed by higher authority.
There you have my opinion of the top 10 military bases in Florida. What is your opinion?
If you have been stationed at any of these, please tell us your story.
If you have any comments or questions, you can post them below.
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About The Author
Greg Boudonck is a full time freelance writer and the author of over 50 books. He served in the United States Army in the early 1980’s and enjoys writing about military subjects. You can see Greg’s books on Amazon by searching his name and you can also visit his website at Lancerlife.com.