CAREERS IN THE AIR FORCE
LIFE ON BASE
The Air Force’s most valuable asset is its people. That’s why quality of life on base is a top priority. Here’s a look at some of the facilities and activities available on base.
One of the first things you will notice when entering a base are the Security Forces personnel at the entrance gate. Our well-trained security and police forces provide not only protection of Air Force resources but also a secure environment for you and your family to work, live and play.
MEDICAL AND HEALTHCARE FACILITIES
All large bases have hospitals and a dental clinic, and other bases have at least a clinic or dispensary. For isolated units, the Air Force contracts with civilian doctors and dentists for professional service. Your family has access to the medical facilities on base, and the TRICARE managed healthcare system is designed to provide for their care, on and off base.
Most bases have educational facilities. College classrooms are common on Air Force bases. The base education office runs the Air Force education services program. Through this office, you can take courses related to your job or take graduate courses. Additionally, many overseas base community centers offer language and cultural orientation programs.
CHILD CARE AND EDUCATION
Many Air Force bases have youth activity centers, libraries and child-development centers that provide day-care services. Schools are always a first priority for the Air Force. Every base either provides schooling or is associated with nearby public schools.
ACTIVITIES FOR CHILDREN
There are a variety of children’s programs on base. After-school activities, community service organizations (Boy/Girl Scouts), youth centers, and sports programs are just a few of the programs that help create a safe environment for your child to explore, mature and make friends.
SUPERMARKET SHOPPING (THE COMMISSARY)
The on-base commissary is the Air Force version of a supermarket where you can buy groceries and other household items. You’ll save roughly 20–25 percent by shopping at the commissary for the same things you buy off-base.
DEPARTMENT STORE SHOPPING, THE BASE EXCHANGE (BX)
The Base Exchange is the Air Force version of a department store with no sales tax. These facilities range from well-equipped convenience stores to major department stores, or even shopping malls selling everything from food to appliances, clothes, hardware and gas for your car.
These centers are staffed by professionals and are available to provide assistance for a wide variety of personal needs. Services offered might include financial management, smoking cessation classes, parenting classes, family counseling, career enhancement or queries on new bases.
Most bases have a lot of recreational facilities, including a movie theater, library, fitness center, auto hobby shop, bowling lanes, arts and crafts center, tennis courts, athletic fields, picnic areas and other facilities. Many bases have golf courses, aero clubs, riding clubs and shooting ranges. Some bases even have their own marina. Many bases provide excellent facilities for hobbies, including woodworking, do-it-yourself auto repair, computer and personal electronics, music, textiles and fine arts.
Many Air Force bases are situated in some of the most beautiful and scenic areas of our country, as well as in exotic places around the world. Your base could be located an hour from London, Venice or on a beach on the sunny Gulf Coast of Florida. You could live a short ride from Mount McKinley, Mount Rushmore or the beaches of Hawaii. Also, each base’s community center offers low-cost tours and trips to many of these places.
VACATION SPOTS AROUND THE WORLD
One of the hidden benefits you receive as an Armed Forces member is access to the Armed Forces Recreation Centers (AFRCs) around the world. These facilities are situated in some of the most sought-after vacation locations and provide you with discounted lodging and reduced-price tickets to the local sights and attractions. You can spend time skiing the Alps, enjoying Cape Cod or sunning on the beaches of Hawaii.
RECREATION (SPORTS AND FITNESS)
Fitness is important to the Air Force, so each base has at least one fitness center. Whether it is free weights or aerobic bikes, basketball or racquetball, you will find a wide variety of fitness equipment and facilities. If you like team sports and competition, you can pick from one of the many intramural and varsity sports programs on base. Many bases also have golf courses, tennis courts, athletic fields, riding clubs and shooting ranges.
The Officers Club usually serves the dual function of being a social club and a meeting location. Besides featuring a dining room, which usually serves at least lunch and dinner daily, the club also hosts parties, dinners and other entertainment. Many even have swimming pools and tennis courts.
Religious activities on base are much like those in the civilian community. In the base chapel, chaplains of different faiths conduct services and ceremonies according to their faith or denomination. Air Force members are free to attend (or not attend) religious services of their choice, either on base or off. Most bases provide chapel services for people of Protestant, Catholic and Jewish faiths. If your religion is not represented in the chapel, the Air Force will often help locate off-base resources to help you practice your religion of choice.
Air Force members and their families often provide outreach assistance (such as food drives and flood/natural disaster cleanup) to the local communities in order to return some of the goodwill local communities provide to the Air Force bases.
FIRE PREVENTION/FIRE FIGHTING
Air Force firefighters and disaster-preparedness teams provide protection and education for everyone on base.
After graduation, in exchange for getting their college education paid for, a contracted cadet accepts a commission as a second lieutenant in the Air Force. Most cadets make a four-year, active duty service commitment.
Find everything you need to know about ROTC requirements and what it takes to succeed in Air Force ROTC.
What if you didn’t have to worry about paying for college? ROTC offers a variety of scholarships that will help relieve the financial burden of your college education.
Mission & Values
Our dedication to achieving excellence in everything we do is reflected in our core values and mission statement.