Many of the Military Bastions began their life as army towns or navy ports long ago and they weren’t chosen randomly. Many bases were deliberately placed in rural locations to help spur economic growth and their impact is obvious. They have diversified their home communities, at least the areas nearest the bases, by bringing in recruits from across the country of different ethnic and racial backgrounds. And in many cases that have stabilized small towns that otherwise would have been badly hurt in the rise of global trade.
A few examples:
Hampton Roads, VA
The Military Bastion counties in Patchwork Nation largely sit near or around major installations for the armed forces. That means they have a big, reliable employer in their midst that regularly brings young men, women and families to town. In recent decades it has also come to mean new businesses as well – not only to serve the soldiers and their families but also serve the bases themselves as contractors. On the negative side, deployments can mean large parts of the population are gone for months or years at a time, creating instability. And the threat of base realignment always hangs in the air. What if the nearby fort or base is shuttered?
On the whole, however, the soldiers and the services that aid them are an enormous part of what makes these places go and the crucial part of what gives them their character.
Military Bastions counties are often a complicated mix of patriotism, faith and boys-will-be-boys (and girls-will-be-girls) entertainment. You’re likely to see more American flags and larger ones, in the Bastions than you do elsewhere. You’re also likely to see many churches – these counties tend to have more evangelical adherent than others. But, as might be expected, there are a more than a few bars as well as inexpensive places to eat – and play. A strip of businesses often lies just outside the gates of the local base aimed solely at the men and women of the armed forces.