Navy Bases

Great Lakes Naval Station, Illinios

Naval Station Great Lakes is a military town, located on the shores of Lake Michigan, sits 1 hour North of Chicago, Illinois and 1 hour South of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Naval Station Great Lakes is home to over 4,000 active duty staff personnel and families, 14,000 recruits and students, 3,000 government civilian employees, and over 2,000 contractors. Naval Station Great Lakes provides services to Active Duty military, their family members and retirees, from a surrounding 16 state area.

The Bachelor Housing Department manages and administers Bachelor Housing in the only training command which supports a Recruit Training Command, and is the largest training facility in the Navy, and provides transient and permanent quarters for all services in the Department of Defense and foreign military student personnel.

Naval Station Great Lakes is a large and busy place. More than 25,000 military and civilian personnel work, train and live here. Its training commands and schools proudly graduate thousands of recruits and Sailors every year.

The base is nearly 100 years old. It, along with the mission here, has been in constant change, allowing us to prepare Sailors for an increasingly sophisticated and technology-based Navy.

A prominent example of the change here is a $754 million recapitalization at Recruit Training Command. This project features 13 new state-of-the-art barracks, each with 120,000 square feet of space-enough to accommodate 12 recruit divisions of up to 88 recruits each. Each facility integrates berthing, classrooms, learning resource centers, a galley and a quarterdeck, all under one roof.

The recapitalization also includes a new facility where recruits undergo a grueling 12-hour test of their skills that marks the final rite of passage: Battle Stations 21. The Battle Stations 21 facility houses a 210-foot-long replica of a guided missile destroyer, sitting in a water-filled moat. Ingenious set design, props, piped in aromas, lighting, and high-tech special effects create a shipboard setting. Recruits perform routine shipboard tasks, and then experience an incredibly realistic series of emergencies-including fires, flooding, structural damage and personnel injuries. After successfully putting all of their newly learned skills to the test and completing Battle Stations 21, recruits earn the title of Sailor.

Our mission here at Great Lakes is simple: Deliver highly skilled, technically proficient, disciplined and motivated Sailors to the Fleet.

Since the first group of recruits reported for training July 1, 1911, more than 3.5 million Sailors have started their Navy careers right here in northern Illinois. Their experience in “boot camp” transformed them from civilians into Sailors, and it is an experience that continues to be a source of pride for all who have earned the right to wear the uniform of a United States Sailor. Naval Station Great Lakes is the largest military installation in Illinois and the largest training center in the Navy. The base includes 1,153 buildings with thirty-nine on the National Register of Historic Places. Naval Station Great Lakes sits on 1,628 acres and uses 50 miles of roadway to provide access to the center's facilities.

The high quality of Sailors trained at Great Lakes has supported the Navy through World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf War and, most recently, Operation Iraqi Freedom. Great Lakes Sailors have stood watch on every sea and on every corner of the world for the past 97 years.

It is here that famous Navy heroes-such as the fighting Sullivan Brothers; Master Diver Carl Brashear, subject of the movie "Men of Honor," and the Golden 13, the Navy's first African-American officers-started their careers. It is also here that countless others, whose identities are not as well known but whose contributions are just as important, embarked on their Navy journey. They are America's sons and daughters and our biggest supporters.

Today, Naval Station Great Lakes hosts the Navy's only Recruit Training Command. Each year approximately 37,000 men and women complete the requirements to become Navy Sailors here. Naval Station Great Lakes is also home to Naval Hospital Corps School and the Navy's technical training schools for surface warfare excellence at Training Support Center Great Lakes. Yearly, more than 25,000 students attend these initial and advanced training schools where they learn the basic skills of their Navy jobs.

Naval Station Great Lakes is a dynamic environment where training occurs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It continues to be a preferred duty station, which attracts the finest Sailors in the Navy to serve as Recruit Division Commanders, instructors and in support positions throughout the base.