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Military Landmarks

Arizona's military story begins with the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadors in the 1500s. These settlers established missions and garrisons or presidios to protect mission villages in Arizona, California and New Mexico. Over the centuries, Indians repeatedly tried to protect their homelands by resisting these Spaniards, and later, the Mexicans and Americans as well. 

The American presence, which began during the U.S.-Mexican War, led to numerous conflicts known today as the Indian Wars. During this time, on April 15, 1862, a small Civil War skirmish took place in Arizona at Picacho Peak. It became the site of the westernmost battle of that war and is annually commemorated with a re-enactment.

One of the most famous Indian War campaigns took place in 1864, when Kit Carson led the U.S. military effort that forced the Navajos to move to a remote area of Canyon de Chelly. The Apache Wars were the longest and bloodiest, and ended only when Geronimo surrendered in 1886, assured that he and his men would be imprisoned for only two years and then allowed to return to their homeland. Instead, all of them, including women and children, were made prisoners of war for 27 years.

Today, Arizona is home to two major air force bases, Luke Air Force Base and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, as well as Fort Huachuca, a U.S. Army base. In addition to its military bases, Arizona was the site of 18 Titan Missile installations. All of the national Titan Missile sites have been destroyed except one near Tucson, which can be toured.

For more information on visiting Arizona's military sites, visit Arizona Heritage Traveler, or see the listings below. 

  • Navajo National Monument (Keet Seel, Betatakin)

    Keet Seel is built into an eye-shaped cave and accessible only by a strenuous 17-mile round trip hike and a climb up to the ruins. Betatakin is more accessible.

  • Titan Missile Museum

    The Titan Missile Museum is the only Titan Missile site that remains intact. The guided tour includes the launch control room with a simulated launch and then continues down the 200 ft. tunnel for a close up look at the Titan II missile. Daily from 9:0

  • White Mountain Apache Culture Center and Museum

  • Arizona Military Museum

    The Arizona Military Museum traces the military history of Arizona from the Spanish Conquistadors to the present day.

  • Fort Huachuca and Museum

    Fort Huachuca was established in 1877 as a temporary camp near the Huachuca Mountains, and today as the home for the U.S. Army Intelligence Center and School. The Fort Huachuca Museum features military and Indian artifacts, photos and dioramas covering th
  • Fort Bowie National Historic Site

    Fort Bowie tells the story of the conflict between the Chiricahua Apaches and the U.S. Army.

  • Navajo Nation Veterans Memorial

  • Fort Apache Historic Park

    Located in the Fort Apache Historic Park, Nohwike’ Bágowa (House of Our Footprints) is the place to experience Apache history and culture. Housed in a modern facility constructed to reflect a gowa, our traditional holy home, the cultural center and museum is committed to the celebration and perpetuation of the Apache heritage.

  • Anthem Veterans Memorial

    The Anthem Veterans Memorial is a tribute to our veterans and was dedicated November 11, 2011.

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