The Historical Might of Colorado’s Military 


(Nathan Breban/LHS Peak Press)

A mountain, with a Colorado flag sitting atop a pole.

Colorado is perhaps one of the most militarized states in the country, which may seem by many as a glaring issue. However, there is a special heritage that connects the Centennial State with our country’s special forces. Currently, there are about 48,000 current active-duty members of the military that live within the state, and more are on the way with the graduation of schools such as the Air Force Academy. 

Colorado’s large military heritage started back during WWII. Fort Carson, which is now a large city within the state, began as a simple military camp in 1942, mean to to train airmen for the war. Nowadays, Colorado has four major military bases, all of which relate directly to the United States Air Force. Even after the war, Colorado was a slow-moving state that was mostly inhabited by farmers due to the large plains that exist on the eastern and southern sides of the state. WWII became a catalyst for a large military community to thrive and eventually become what it is today. 

Currently, nearly over half of the economy in Colorado stems from the military, and it plays a major role in many residents’ lives. Due to many recent events, global hostility is higher than ever and it is sure to affect most of the populace if something as dramatic as war were to break out. Many schools around the state also have what is known as the JROTC program, which teaches students about basic military procedures in cooperation with academics. Tyler Kiggins, a sophomore at Liberty High School, is part of the JROTC program. He stated that “JROTC is structured a lot like a leadership course, they teach us drills and have us wear uniforms to get the feel of what it may feel like during actual training. It’s meant to really give us the feel of what being in the military is like.” JROTC is a major program that has bolstered the number of students that go directly into the military right after high school. 

Due to this dramatic increase in the military population, Colorado Springs, the current 2nd largest city in the state, has earned the nickname “Silicon Mountain” due to the many high-tech companies and military installations located within its boundaries. The city is also home to the infamous NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) Installation, which essentially monitors the entire North American airspace to scan for any potential threats. The city is also home to other military installations such as Air Force bases and an Army installation. Currently, Colorado’s Air Force Academy teaches over 4,000 students with a relatively high graduation rate, further expanding the military community. 

Without a doubt, Colorado depends on its military presence for many things– whether it be for actual defense or the economy. However, some people believe that the state is becoming too militarized, which is simply just not true. It most likely seems that way because many people have been moving to the state in recent years, totaling to nearly 100,000 people moving to the state back in 2016. Colorado is currently one of the fastest-growing states in the nation when it comes to the population boom, which in turn will lead to many more people joining military academies or even the military itself.