Established as Camp Beale in 1942, it became Air Force Base in April of 1951. Many people consider Beale AFB to be one of the United States Air Force’s show places.
It covers more than 23,000 acres of hilly land in the northern part of the state of California.
Camp Pendleton has been training and preparing our Marines and Sailors since WWII continuing tradition into the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.
Today the base is a recognized landmark consisting of over 125,000 acres of real estate in the middle of a thriving ocean side community. Operations at the base are responsible for employing over 3000 civilians and more than 45,000 stationed Marines and retired families call this home.
Maintained and operated by the 95th Air Base Wing, Edwards AFB is the home of the USAF Test Pilot School, NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center and the 412th Test Wing.
Nearly every aircraft that has been used by the DoD since the 1950s was tested, at least partially, at Edwards. It has been the location of a large number of aviation-related breakthroughs over the years.
The 95th Air Base Wing and the 412th Test Wing are considered the two major units on Edwards Air Force Base, but there are smaller Associate Units on base that perform various tasks.
Fort Irwin is part of the U.S. Army Forces Command. As one of the 15 FORSCOM units, Irwin provides soldiers with realistic training experiences to ensure their success on the battlefield.
Nearly 9,000 people live at Fort Irwin, including service members and their families. Approximately 5,000 service members spend time at the National Training Center every month.
The base has a time honored history serving as an active duty aerial refueling and deployment station. In 1996 the base underwent a conversion renaming the base March Air Reserve.
The base has maintained its presence for over 50 years as the Strategic Air Command base during the cold war. At one time our troops occupied all 6,500 acres and during its conversion 9,000 military personnel and civilians were displaced.
NBSD was established in 1922 by Theodore Roosevelt Jr., acting Secretary of the Navy with a mission to support the fleet, fighters and families.
The base has grown into a major repair and maintenance station, expanding facilities to include training for amphibious, torpedo and radio procedures. Today the fleet is made up of USS cruisers, combat ships, destroyers, amphibious vehicles, frigates and Coast Guard cutters.
Originally put into use in 1943, Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake is operated by the United States Navy. China Lake is the single largest landholding of the United States Navy, and it is the home of approximately 85 percent of the Navy’s land for research, development, testing and evaluation of weapons and armaments.
All together, the main site at China Lake and its two ranges cover more than 1,100,000 acres, which is a land area that is larger than the entire state of Rhode Island. This makes up about 38 percent of all of the land holdings of the United States Navy in the world. Of this land, 19,600 square miles of airspace that is controlled and restricted provides a space for testing and training, and it takes up an entire 12 percent of all of the state of California’s total air space.
The Presidio of Monterey is a landmark, written about in books, and captured on film in the movies making this a favorite scenic spot for local residents and travelers across the globe.
Today, some of the original buildings from the late 1770s have been renovated and open to visitors curious about Presidio’s past. Nowadays, the Presidio is an independent command under the U.S. Army with the closure of Fort Ord in September of 1994. For military personnel the former Fort Ord, has retained the Post Exchange, Commissary and military housing accessible to assigned personnel and their families. Visitors to the Presidio will find the base operational with more than 3,000 soldiers, Marines, Sailors, U.S. Coast Guard and Airmen.
The base was named after Brigadier General Robert F. Travis and tagged with the nickname as the “Gateway to the Pacific”. Its history is known as the most active military air terminal supporting humanitarian airlift operations for U.S. and global missions. The fleet consists of C-5 and C-17 military transports and the KC-10 refueling aircraft. Today, the base is active in the community of Fairfield with civilians working on base to support base functions along with assigned USAF military and Air Force Reserve personnel.
Twentynine Palms owes its birth to another Marine Corps base, Camp Pendleton. During the Korean War, the Marine Corps recognized the need to train in live fire action. Due to the limitations of Camp Pendleton, the Marines needed more space. What they found was Condor Field, a place that was once an Army base. It was redesigned as a place for Marines to train on live fire artillery. In the 1970’s the base grew to accommodate airfields. It was then that the name was changed to reflect the combined arms training that this base could and still does provide.
The base started out as an Army training facility for armored and infantry troops back in the 1940s. It carries the name of General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, who was the second Chief of Staff for the USAF and contributed significantly to developing what we know today as the US Air Force.
Surrounded by the Santa Ynez Mountains, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, the base activity continues in the middle of economic challenges Vandenberg will be increasing missile launches this year.
There are so many things to do and see in such a wide variety of environments in California that you have to wonder if that’s why they put so many bases throughout the state.
Whether for recreation or just touring, California has things to do and see in the mountains, deserts, forests, beaches, and others from one end of the state to the other. No matter where you are stationed, there will always be something close to where you are.
There are probably few other states that can compare with California for the variety of attractions, man-made or natural. Most importantly, though, is the fact that so many attractions are family-friendly.
And even if you are one part of the state, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy something in another part, that is unless you have so much fun staying in the part where you already are.
Want to have some kid-sized fun, whether you’re a kid or not, there’s Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm in the Los Angeles area. Or head to San Diego for the splendid beaches. Want to hob-knob with the rich and famous, try the Palm Springs desert area, which includes the natural attractions spread throughout the golden sands. If the cool sea air is more your thing, try going north to San Francisco for its historic areas, including most notoriously, Alcatraz.
Monterey, nestled around the bay by the same name, with its boat lined harbor and ancient canneries made immortal by author John Steinbeck. Not had enough yet? Going further north still will put you right in the middle of redwoods territory to enjoy what John Muir spent so much time working to protect for generations to come.
Regardless of where you go in California, there’s something to do. The problem will never be what to do, only what to do first.