Joining the military is an exciting, stressful decision to make. It often means eventually living on a military base, a part of military life that most don’t look forward to. The good news is that you can put in a request for your top choices and, while it may not be where you are ultimately assigned, this means you can shoot for the stars. Here are the top five military bases around the world:
1. Joint Base, Pearl Harbor-Hickam Hawaii
If you are in the Navy or Air Force, or married to a soldier in either branch, you can’t beat the Joint Bases of Pearl Harbor and Hickam. Located on Oahu, Honolulu is a short drive away and the island offers an abundance of adventure. Diving, sailing, fishing, golf and surfing are favorite activities in this tropical paradise. If you get a weekend pass, head to Maui, one of the world’s most exotic locales.
2. Naples, Italy
Each branch of the military has a base in or near Naples. The beautiful landscape and incredible food make the city a top choice among military families. The locals are incredibly friendly and there’s an endless array of choices when it comes to wine bars and cafes for an evening off-base. Flights to Paris, London and Madrid can be had for a relatively low cost, perfect for a weekend getaway. Historic Rome is a mere two hour train ride from the heart of Naples allowing you to explore the Coliseum and Vatican at your leisure.
3. Naval Air Station, Key West, Florida
Key West is a very diverse city and loved by many. Home to an Army Special Forced Underwater School, a Coast Guard Sector Command and two Naval Fighter Squadrons, this city is a military family’s dream. Diving, fishing and sailing are popular water activities and if you need to get off of the island for a while, catch a plane to Orlando, Miami or Atlanta from the island’s very own airport.
4. Camp Pendleton, California
Pendleton is a favorite among soldiers stationed state-side. Close to the beach and ready access to the San Diego Zoo, Disneyland and the Wild Animal Park make it a popular base for families. Weekend breaks can be spent in Los Angeles, Hollywood or anywhere accessible by plane. For an extended break, head to Las Vegas and try your luck in the casinos!
5. Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
Located near Bavaria, winter sports abound in the nearby ski resorts and sports facilities. The scenery found in Germany is absolutely incredible and not likely to be found anywhere else on earth. Take part in the authentic Okotberfest and enjoy beer and brats with the locals. Munich is nearby, perfect for a week’s leave and the countryside is dotted with quaint Swiss Alpine villages.
Part of the benefit of military life is being given the opportunity to visit parts of the country or world that you’d not see otherwise. If you are putting in for your desired tour of duty, you can’t go wrong with any of these top five installations. Take full advantage of your time in the military and enjoy it!
Author Kenny Alvarez is an advisor to military veterans and also writes for MilitaryEducation.org, a site which explores all the secondary education benefits to veterans and their dependents; for instance check out this information on Air Force tuition assistance.