America - the land of the Free, because of the Brave.  Our military men and women are special and it was our honor to spend some time with members of Yakima's Veterans Of Foreign Wars (VFW) post 379 this morning.

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Yakima Has A Strong Military Connection

They are working to recruit more members and if are interested or have questions about possible membership you can call (509) 457- 5400 and they will be happy to speak with you.

Just north of Yakima sits the Yakima Training Center

Located in the center of the state of Washington, Yakima Training Center is a 327,000 acre training location consisting of 25 ranges, including state of the art Multi-Purpose Range Complex and a Shoot House that allows service members to train collectively or individually

Military units from around the world train there and reserve and active-duty personnel who work there live in and around Yakima.

Ranks States For Military Households

Those folks show up in A new report based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau that ranks states according to the percentage of the population that lives in a military household—defined as one in which at least one household member currently serves in the military, Reserves, or National Guard.

The results showed 3.2% of the population lives in a military household. In Washington State, the number is a little higher at 3.8 percent.

The Changing Face Of Our Military

The draft for military service ended while I was enlisted in the Army in 1973 and I was still in when the last draftee got out and we became an all-volunteer force. Five years before I went in there were nearly 3.7 million active-duty military members, comprising 1.8% of the total U.S. population, but the share of active-duty military members has been declining since then. In 2020, 1.5 million Americans, or less than 0.5% of the population, served on active duty.

What has also changed since then is the percentage of women in uniform. Today female enlistees account for 16% of enlisted forces, up from just 2% in 1973.

Our Top Two Military States

So which states have the most military households?  That would be our two newest states. Hawaii, which has 13 military bases, is home to the largest share of military household members, at 11.2% of the population.  Alaska is second with nine bases, where 10.5% of the population is in military households.

At the other end of the spectrum, only about 2% of the population in both Michigan and New York live in military households.

LOOK: 100 years of American military history