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Did you know there are over 30 military bases in California? These bases are home to 190,000 active service and reserve members, making California the state with the most military service members.
The majority of the military bases are located in Southern California, primarily around the San Diego area. Serving your country while enjoying the beautiful California sun is a great gig if you can get it.
The Air Force has a over 17,000 service members living in California. These members are spread out over 6 different bases, however most call Fort Edwards home. Fort Edwards supports over 10,000 military personnel and is the second largest Air Force base in the U.S.
Both the Los Angeles and Vandenberg Air Force Bases are deeply involved with military’s space and missile operations.
|Name of Air Force Base||Location|
|Beale Air Force Base||Marysville, CA|
|Edwards Air Force Base||Edwards, CA|
|Los Angeles Air Force Base||El Segundo, CA|
|March Air Force Reserve Base||Riverside, CA|
|Travis Air Force Base||Fairfield, CA|
|Vandenberg Air Force Base||Lompoc, CA|
To date, there are only about 7,000 Army soldiers currently serving in California. In comparison to the Navy and Marine Corps, the Army’s presence in California is almost insignificant.
However, don’t let this number fool you.
The Army Reserve and Army Guard is over 30,000 members strong in California.
Army bases in California include Fort Irwin, Sierra Army Depot and Fort Hunter Liggett.
|Name of Army Base||Location|
|Fort Irwin||Barstow, CA|
|Presidio of Monterey||Monterey, CA|
|Sierra Army Depot||Herlong, CA|
|Fort Hunter Liggett||Monterey, CA|
With only two Coast Guard bases in California, it’s no surprise that there are only 4,000 active duty members serving in the California Coast Guard.
|Name of Coast Guard Base||Location|
|ISC Alameda||Alameda, CA|
|TRACEN Petaluma||Petaluma, CA|
Thanks to Camp Pendleton, the Marine Corps has the largest presence in the state of California with over 62,000 active duty members serving in the sunshine state.
|Name of Marine Corps Base||Location|
|Camp Pendleton||San Diego, CA|
|Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms||Twentynine Palms, CA|
|Marine Corps Air Station Miramar||San Diego, CA|
|Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow||Barstow, CA|
|Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center Bridgeport||Pickel Meadows, CA|
|Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego||San Diego, CA|
The U.S. Navy has a massive presence in California with over 41,000 active duty members. There are over 14 Navy bases in California, but most active duty members serve at Naval Base San Diego – over 20,000. Naval Base San Diego is also home to over 50 ships that can be deployed at a moment’s notice.
|Name of Navy Base||Location|
|Naval Air Facility El Centro||El Centro, CA|
|Naval Air Station Lemoore||Lemoore, CA|
|Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake||China Lake, CA|
|Naval Base Coronado||San Diego, CA|
|Naval Base Point Loma||San Diego, CA|
|Naval Base San Diego||San Diego, CA|
|Naval Base Ventura County||Point Mugu, CA|
|Naval Postgraduate School||Monterey, CA|
|Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach||Seal Beach, CA|
|Naval Air Station Point Mugu||Point Mugu, CA|
|Naval Battalion Center||Port Hueneme, CA|
|Naval Hospital Pendleton||San Diego, CA|
|Naval Medical Center||San Diego, CA|
|North Island Naval Complex||San Diego, CA|
With over 18,000 members in California, the Air National Guard and Army National Guard are the largest population of reserve members in the state. The National Guard has bases at Camp Roberts, Camp San Luis Obispo and Fort Hunter Liggett.
|Name of National Guard Base||Location|
|Camp San Luis Obispo|
|Fort Hunter Liggett|
Over 190,000 service members live in California and represent all 5 branches of the military including the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy.
The only downside of being stationed in the Sunshine state is the high cost of living. Since the majority of the military bases in California are near Los Angeles and San Diego, you could see your military pay disappear quickly. Both of these cities are consistently ranked as some of the most expensive cities in the U.S. to live in.