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Naval Station Great Lakes

Navy Boot Camp
2601 E. Paul Jones Street Great Lakes, IL 60088

Great Lakes was approved in 1904 by Theodore Roosevelt. Construction was supervised by Navy Captain Albert R. Ross. Chicago-area architect Jarvis Hunt designed the original 39 buildings and Lt. George A. McKay was the civil engineer for the construction on the 172 acres wilderness location. President William Howard Taft dedicated the Naval Training Station in 1911 and on 3 July 1911 the first recruit arrived. 

Naval Station Great Lakes (NAVSTA Great Lakes) is the home of the United States Navy’s only boot camp, located near North Chicago, in Lake County, Illinois. It’s the largest military installation in Illinois and the largest training center in the Navy. Important tenant commands include the Recruit Training Command, Training Support Center and Navy Recruiting District Chicago. 

Naval Station Great Lakes is the largest military installation in Illinois and the largest training station in the Navy. The base has 1,153 buildings situated on 1,628 acres and has 50 miles of roadway to provide access to the base’s facilities. Within the naval service, it has several different nicknames, including “The Quarterdeck of the Navy” or the more derogatory “Great Mistakes”. The base is like a small city, with its own Fire Department, Naval Security Forces (Police), and Public Works Department. 

One of the landmarks of the area is Building 1, also known as the clocktower building. Completed in 1911, the building is made of red brick, and has a tower over the third floor of the building. 

Arriving at Naval Station Great Lakes

All major airlines serve O’Hare International Airport, which is located about 30 miles southwest of Great Lakes. Taxi and limousine service are both available as well as bus and train. 


Although driving in the Chicago area can be intimidating, Naval Station Great Lakes is easily accessible from a major interstate highway, and also from U.S. 41. The Naval Station is located approximately 15 miles south of the Wisconsin state line, several miles east of Interstate 94 and U.S. 41. 


The installation 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 station’s facilities.


The Naval Station Great Lakes Navy Housing Office (NHO) has a trained employee staff of available to serve military families new to the Great Lakes geographical area. 


Base Population

Over 4,000 active duty staff personnel and families, 14,000 recruits and students, 3,000 government civilian employees, and over 2,000 contractors. 


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