In 1940, the War Department purchased what was then 10,000 acres of land in Bynum, Alabama to build a United States Army base. By 1942, Anniston Army Depot was in full swing with more than 4,500 employees. Later expanded to 15,000 acres, the base earned a reputation for evolving the meet current needs through the years, often housing many of the latest military innovations. Its main mission today is to store chemical weapons, including Sarin and mustard gas.
The base is one of only seven in the United States with the capability to store such chemical weapons. The depot is also noted for producing some 500 vehicles annually and generating approximately 25,000 jobs throughout the area. While there’s a small staff of military personnel operating the base, most of the jobs related to current operations at this depot are held by civilians, making it an important part of the local economy.
Location: Dale, Alabama
Operating since May 1, 1942, this 235-sq km facility originally, named after a noted Civil War fighter, served as a base for 40,000 soldiers and 3,000 officers. The base is unique in that it’s among the few census designated camps currently operating in the United States, spread over multiple counties. Since late 2001, admittance to the base has been restricted to authorized personnel only for security reasons.
Prior to 1955, the base was periodically deactivated between conflicts. Since then, it has remained active, primarily serving as a helicopter training facility. Today, the base is widely recognized as one of the most important helicopter training bases in the United States. Significant units in the camp include the U.S. Army School of Aviation Medicine, the Combat Readiness Center, the National Guard Multimedia Branch and the Army Corps of Engineers.
Location: Madison, Alabama
Established in 1941 just before the United States entered World War II as the Huntsville Arsenal, this Army base currently houses 2,000 individuals. An impressive arsenal of weapons were manufactured and stored at the facility during World War II. The base became the Redstone Arsenal in 1943, named after the red soil common to the area. After the war, the base was deactivated, with a lot of its property leased for farming. The base has pretty much been up and running full time since it was reactivated during the Korean War.
Today, the base is primarily responsible for rocket and space operations and the manufacturing of ballistic missiles. The facility is currently divided into units for single soldiers and families, otherwise little else has changed in regards to the operations carried out here. It’s still considered an important facility for development and testing operations. The base is also home to five units encompassing multiple centers, offices and regiments focusing on aviation research, missile research and missile defense.