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Great Lakes Training Center Navy Base North Chicago, IL Illinois Military Bases


Great Lakes Training Center hosts multiple and extremely important tenant commands. It is the one and only boot camp of the US Navy. At the same time, it is the largest military base in Illinois and the largest training field operated by the US Navy. It is located in Lake County, close to North Chicago. Inside the base, the inhabitants benefit from over 80 km of roads and 1153 facilities spread over almost 7 square km. The impressive size of this camp qualifies it for a small city. It has unique internal services and offices. For instance, the inhabitants can benefit from their own fire department or public works office. In its first years, it counted not more than 39 buildings. All of them are still available today, in some sort of a living museum. They were designed by one of the greatest architects of those times – Jarvis Hunt. One of the most important such buildings is Building 1. It was built in 1911 from red bricks only and hosts a very tall clocktower.


The initial history of Great Lakes Training Center dates back to 1905, when the USA president of those times – Theodore Roosevelt – accepted the idea of a new base. Many people, including superiors, were quite surprised by this decision. No one saw a US Navy base built so far from the ocean. At the same time, the idea was proven to belong to a genius. The time proved that training sailors and troops before actually going on a ship was excellent. Before those times, the enlisted troops were sent directly on the boat. That is when the actual training began, as they were taught underway. The base was open in 1911 with the first recruit joining two days later. The first class of 300 soldiers was applauded by the base superiors and over 10000 civilians when they graduated.


During World War I, the base managed to train over 125000 sailors, while others were constantly building new facilities and improving the current ones. Between the two world wars, the base activity was almost null. The recruiting center went inactive and shut down in the end. As World War II began, the base managed to train and prepare for war over 100000 soldiers in less than a year. Between the Pearl Harbor attack and the surrender of the Empire of Japan, over a million sailors went through the training centers of Great Lakes Training Center Illinois.

Similar impressive numbers resulted for the upcoming wars led by the United States of America as well.


Among plenty of tenant and associate units, the most important units that inhabit the base are the Recruit Training Command and the Training Support Center, with its six centers and about 20 different courses and classes.


Housing for students is automatically dealt with by the US Navy once they are enlisted. The superiors must fill up an application on site. The off site housing system is privatized.