Located in North Chicago, Illinois, the Great Lakes Naval Training Center is the Navy’s headquarters command for training. It is the largest training center the US Navy has, and is also the largest military installation in Illinois. The base covers a total of 1,628 acres, and boasts an impressive 1,153 buildings.
Originally, the base was pretty small. Founded in 1911, the Great Lakes Naval Training Center started with only 39 buildings. It slowly expanded over the years, and today, it is almost completely self-sufficient. The base has its own fire station, jail, stores, police, and maintenance department.
The training center processes around 50,000 recruits per year, and at any time there will be up to 15,000 recruits enrolled in the programs. These recruits are actually processed and trained by the Recruit Training Command, or RTC, a tenant command of Great Lakes Naval Training Center. The RTC has a $72 million training facility, and several hundred million dollars have been invested in the whole base, including the brand new top of the line barracks that were built recently.