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Across the whole of the Grand Theft Auto series, they always make sure to have the US military looking over your shoulder, making sure that you don’t cause too much chaos, even though we all know we will.
Throughout my journey in the GTA V world, Fort Zancudo wasn’t a place I often visited, mostly due to me being absolutely useless when I tried to evade the military but I did make sure to have a sneaky look around and get my bearings of the base.
Despite my lack of entering the base, I still think it’s important to GTA V. I mean, where else would the big bad military men go when they’re not too busy out fighting, or chasing down Trevor when he gets up to his usual antics.
GTA: San Andreas is flooded with military hubs but for GTA V, Rockstar stripped it back and only gave us the one but boy is it a mighty one in Fort Zancudo. It is one of the most interactive military bases to appear in the GTA world and it is quite easy to access. Whether you get out alive unscathed is a different story.
The bases aren’t hidden in the hills like some evil lair but it’s sitting out in the open for anyone to peer in and see what sort of action they’re up to. Fly, sneak or drive straight in, let’s take a look at the not-so-impenetrable fortress that is Fort Zancudo.
Who Is It For?
Fort Zancudo is a military base that is jointly owned by all those pesky military operations. here you have the Army, the Air Force, and the Marine Corps. That’s a lot of firepower in one place. Typically, the people walking about the base are soldiers of all different rankings, including a Colonel that oversees all operations.
Some named soldiers can be found here too including Brincat, Clark, Lloyd, Nolan, Solarin and Starkie. During the story, you can’t make friends with any of the NPCs dotted around the base. It would be good to have a soldier boy as a Heist companion.
What Is There?
The base is quite typical in its layout to what you’d expect a military base to have. It has a couple of runways, hangers full of aircraft to steal, a fire station and an air traffic control tower. It is vast in land area, giving you plenty of space to cause chaos if that is your intention in the base!
While most of the buildings are inaccessible, the control tower can be explored. Players are able to climb a set of stairs and get to the main control room. There’s nothing exciting up there, just a soldier, but you do get a cute little view of Fort Zancudo and beyond.
There are also some barracks on site for those that are stationed out in Fort Zancudo. Although, they’d probaly get a bit bored considering there is nothing on base in terms of entertainment for them, poor guys.
Fort Zancudo is located in Blaine County. It doesn’t show up on the in-game map but for those that have the GTA V map poster, or have looked online, you can see Fort Zancudo’s layout.
To the north is the massive, but not biggest in-game mountain, Mount Josiah. The main access point is just off of Route 68, along the Fort Zancudo Approach Road, not that you’re able to use that entrance without gaining all the heat.
There is also another entrance to the north by a slip road that comes off of the Great Ocean Highway. The main runway goes across the Great Ocean Highway, sending all aircraft out into the open of the sea.
Just to the south of the base is Lago Zancudo, a deserted swampland area with a little hike trail going through it. You would have thought that the base would be a little hidden given what it houses but nope, it’s all there, out in the open for everyone to see what they’re up to.
How to Get In?
Now, you can get in through the main gates but that’s probably not the best way to enter, you know, considering it’s an air base full of a lot of firepower. Instead, there are a few ways that you can jump in, which are also a whole lot more fun. Although, you can never be guaranteed that you won’t be caught.
Driving from the north, along the Great Ocean Highway, go as fast as you possibly can, the faster the car, the better. Just before you drive through the tunnel under Fort Zancudo, go just to the right and take a hill that will jump you into the base.
There is a ridge to the north, coming from the Mount Josiah area. Drive to the top and floor it down to jump in.
Another way of getting in is through the air. Yes, if you fly in the Fort Zancudo airspace, then you gain a two-star wanted level. But, it’s probably one of the easier ways of getting in. Watch out for those that will be looking to shoot you down though, it isn’t the safest of airspaces.
Like most of the areas on the GTA V map, there is plenty of action going on. Here’s what you can do to keep yourself entertained in Fort Zancudo and areas in close proximity.
Trevor Goes on a Rampage
Set just outside of Fort Zancudo is one of Trevor’s rampages. He finds two soldiers who are fixing a car just outside of the Fort Zancudo Approach Road. In true Trevor fashion, he starts berating the US military and starts a rampage.
Soldiers from Fort Zancudo start flooding over for Trevor to deal with. He even needs to put down a couple of tanks. Is there anything Trevor can’t do when he’s on the prowl?
Your Own Rampage
Instead of relying on Trevor to create chaos, you can head into Fort Zancudo and start your own rampage. Albeit, there is no timer so it’s all free-roam but you can make it rain on all the soldiers and gain a four-star wanted level. Keep the chaos going for as long as possible to gain a five-star wanted level. Let’s see if you can make it out alive.
Plane Theft Auto
There is plenty of aircraft dotted about Fort Zancudo and if you’re fed up with the ones at Los Santos International and Sandy Shores Airfield, why not take one of the heavily guarded, hard to get to planes for a spin? What’s the worse that could happen, hey?
Missions Around It in Story and Online
Throughout the GTA V story, players are only needed to enter Fort Zancudo once. That doesn’t mean that you can’t go any other time. For the heist build-up mission ‘Cargobob’, you’ll need to obtain a Cargobob and you’ll never guess where the only place on the map is to get them… You guessed it, Fort Zancudo.
However, if you’re like me and didn’t go with the offshore approach for that heist, you can go the whole of the GTA V story without needing to set foot in the base. Little bit disappointing that this base is underutilized. It needed a weird mission like ‘Green Goo’ in GTA: San Andreas.
Fort Zancudo features a whole lot more in GTA Online. Numerous missions will make players have to visit the infamous base. It is also possible to purchase a Hanger at Fort Zancudo in GTA Online which gives you the bonus of no wanted level. However, with prices starting at $2,000,000, the low notoriety comes at a price.
Fort Zancudo Theories
Fans do love a bit of speculation and a mystery when a GTA title comes out and Fort Zancudo wasn’t able to avoid that.
Area 51 has become infamous for the belief that it harbors extraterrestrial life. Well, the rumor mill has been going and it is believed that Fort Zancudo also does. This is due to a ‘UFO’ appearing over the base at 3:00 AM. A green light will beam down on top of one of the bunkers, giving the area that eerie feel.
I personally think it’s about time that Rockstar added an ‘alien’ base to GTA. They’ve been teasing aliens in the series for just too long now. We finally got zombies in the Red Dead Edemption story expansion so why can’t we have aliens in GTA?
Another big myth is that you can find a jetpack within the base. In GTA: San Andreas, one of the missions allows CJ to obtain a jetpack from Area 69. Has anyone found one yet within Fort Zancudo?
Other GTA Military Bases
There have been a plethora of bases across the GTA universe, with four alone in GTA: San Andreas. Were CJ and pals really that bad that they needed that much military power?!
First is Area 69, a super-secret base hidden, albeit not well, in the deserts of Bone County. It is clear that this base is based on Area 51 in Nevada. Area 69 is mostly underground but you can still see it sticking out from the ground.
The National Guard has its base of operations set up in Ocean Docks, Los Santos. This is one of the more accessible bases to enter but it’ll still come with a whole lot of heat. There is also the Easter Basin Naval Station in San Fierro and the K.A.C.C based in Las Venturas.
In GTA: Vice City, we have the Fort Baxter Air Base. They’re a little nasty there and will start shooting as soon as they see you. You need to be extra protected if you want to take a leisurely stroll here.
Multiple planes, helicopters, and vehicles can be found on the base, some of which cannot be found anywhere else throughout the GTA V land. This includes fighter jets, you can have your own Top Gun moment, armored vehicles, and even cargo helicopters.
- Barracks – a convo-style truck that is heavily armored.
- Barracks semi – Similar to the barracks but the back is detachable, giving more of a truck feel.
- Besra – It’s a Top Gun jet!! Well, not the same but it does look just like one.
- Buzzard – Just a helicopter, not as exciting as all the other aircraft you can find at Fort Zancudo.
- Buzzard Attack Chopper – However, the enhanced Buzzard Attack Chopper gives it a whole lot of firepower.
- Cargobob – Basically, a jacked-up helicopter. Even Trevor calls it a ‘Flying big rig’.
- Crusader – A jeep-style vehicle the soldiers parade around in.
- Fire Truck – It’s exactly what it says on the tin.
- P-996 LAZER – It’s Top Gun 2.0! Another fighter jet that kicks a bit more of a punch.
- Rhino – Quite simply, it’s a tank.
- Titan – The largest aircraft you’ll find in Fort Zancudo is the titan, which is used as a transport aircraft,
Question: Is there a way to ‘blend in’ to access Fort Zancudo?
Answer: Unfortunately, Rockstar hasn’t added the ability to obtain a soldier or guard outfit to get in without the wanted level. You can get why, what would GTA be without full-guns blazing fights?
Question: Are there any heists in Fort Zancudo?
Answer: During the main GTA V story, there isn’t a heist set at the base, just the build-up mission for The Merryweather Heist. It would have been fun to have a heist there though. Managing to get away with a Cargobob without the massive amount of heat does seem a bit lackluster.
Question: Is Fort Zancudo real?
Answer: There is no Fort Zancudo in the US but like most places in GTA, it is based on a real-life base. Its influence is the Vandenburg Air Force Base, which can be found near the coast near Lompoc, California.
However, since the game’s release, the base has rebranded as a Space Force base. Will GTA add a patch and add spacecraft to GTA V, who knows!