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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. 

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