White Sands Missile Range is simply the widest and largest military base in the United States of America. It covers almost 8300 square km and spreads over five different counties. It is located in the southern part of New Mexico. The close proximity to Fort Bliss and its 2400 square km range form a huge area exclusively used for military tests. The base is operated by the United States Army. Its primary mission implies testing all the weapons the Army can benefit from. NASA also used this place for a landing site during the Space Shuttle operation. Some of the most popular operations that take place there include satellite tests before launching, flight tests and missile testing. The primary mission of the site is to support the Army regardless of the actions it is involved in.
White Sands Missile Range has a rich history, mostly because of its size. It has enough room to support any types of tests or training sessions. It was established in 1941, but on a way smaller area. It was initially designated as an airfield for the Army. Its primary mission was to empower the United States of America before joining World War II. Soon after the Pearl Harbor attacks, the government leased more land to set up a massive bombing range. By 1944, before World War II was actually over, the War Department was looking for an appropriate site to test some missiles. Due to the lack of human communities around it, White Sands Missile Range was an excellent spot. The base was expanded again to host these operations as well.
Before 1945, the place was an amalgam of testing ranches. In 1945, they were all renamed to what the site is known today as. They all became part of the same base. In the summer of the same year, the authorities decided to invest a little in the modernization of this base. Besides, the troops deserved better living conditions as well. Later that summer, after the upgrade was complete, the Army successfully tested the first atomic bomb. Among the troops that assisted at some rocket tests, the Americans brought in a few German scientists as well. They had a prisoner-of-war status.
Ever since that moment, White Sands Missile Range was constantly updated and part of the most important American conflicts, such as the Korean War, the Vietnam War or the Cold War. Most weapons and equipments were first tested here before being sent on the battlefield.
The units hosted at White Sands Missile Range are deployed there for short periods of time. There is no such thing as a permanent host unit. Most of them get there for short training or testing sessions, then they are departed. However, the people who run the base are mostly part of the US Army and the US Navy.
When deployed to White Sands Missile Range, you are automatically given a home on site. The huge size of the place makes enough room for everyone, plus the deployment is usually temporary, unless you are sent there to maintain and operate on site.