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Featured Maps: US Armed Forces Day (15 May 2010)

In the United States, today is Armed Forces Day, celebrated on the third Saturday of each May to thank members of the military for their service to the country. (Many other countries have their own Armed Forces Day.) Various military airfields are listed in the Great Circle Mapper's database; examples from each branch of the United States military can be found by searching as follows:

In addition to familiar airfields for warplanes and for transport of troops and their supplies, the United States Military operates a variety of airfields in support of other missions. The map below illustrates a few of these, plus a bomber base which is nearly on the opposite side of the planet from the US.

interesting US Air Force bases

Andrews AFB, near Washington, DC, is familiar as the home of Air Force One, the aircraft of the President of the United States. (Air Force One is not a specific aircraft but is the call sign of any USAF aircraft carrying the President.)

On the opposite side of the country, Edwards AFB occupies 470 square miles (1,200 square kilometers) of the Mojave Desert and is home of the Air Force Flight Test Center.

About 200 miles (320 kilometers) northeast of Edwards AFB, hidden in the rugged mountains of southern Nevada, is the secret flight test facilty at Groom Lake. Popularly known by various names including Area 51 and Dreamland, this facility is thought to have been where once-secret aircraft such as the Lockheed U-2 and SR-71A Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft were first flown.

In addition to bases within the continental United States, the Blackbird operated from forward airbases at RAF Mildenhall in England and Kadena AB in Okinawa.

Even more remote from the United States, and indeed from any populated place, the USAF flies long-range bombers from the British territory of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. While probably familiar to many people from news reports, few would be able to locate it on a map.

Finally, while McMurdo Station in Antarctica is a research base operated by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the 109th Airlift Wing of the New York Air National Guard uses McMurdo as a base for transport and support missions using Lockheed LC-130H aircraft, a ski-equipped version of the C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft.

My thanks go out to those who serve and have served in the military, without whose sacrifices I couldn't sit comfortably in California making maps.

 

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