What are some of the best and worse bases in the Air Force? We’d like to hear your thoughts on which are the dream postings, and which are to be avoided at all costs.
You can either sound off below, or send me an email at email@example.com. Feel free to say what makes you feel this way. Does the base offer plenty of solid amenities? Are the county schools in the area lacking? Is the area clean, and the climate nice? Does the cost-of-living make it tough to stretch a buck?
And as always, if you’d like to talk anonymously, that’s fine.
I was never at a base that I didn’t enjoy. The top 4 were Davis-Monthan in Tucson, Nellis in Las Vegas, Beale in northern California, and of course Soesterberg in the Netherlands (deactivated 1994). I’d go back in a heartbeat, especially Soesterberg.
Columbus Air Force Base is one of the worst bases in my opinion. It’s not bad for the first couple of years but after being here for 5+ years, I’m realizing more and more that it is just a black hole for enlisted members. Columbus is also one of those bases that no one has heard about, but it does exist and it’s not like Columbus Ohio at all. The area is very old and the community looks at some of us like they have never seen people before. The base itself is small, going the speed limit you can probably explore the whole base in 5-10 mins. Everything closes early on base and around town, it’s so small that there is no chow hall. The base gym has been the same for 20+ years now and I’m more than sure you can get athlete’s foot just by walking around with shoes on. You have nothing but time here…there are more officers than enlisted since it is a pilot training base, there’s only one club on base but a lot of people insist on calling it the “O” club, so enlisted members tend to avoid it a lot. The local schools from what I hear are pretty bad, a lot of people would rather home school, overall if Columbus became a short tour base it wouldn’t be too bad but there are people who have been at this base for ages and can’t get out no matter how many different assignments they try for. It wouldn’t be so bad if you knew you had a date to get out of here. Side note, Columbus has also been known as the career ending base, when many have retired/separated due to just being “stuck” at the base.
Maxwell AFB for one simple reason; Montgomery, AL.
I spent 28 yrs in the AF with Taipei Air Station & RAF Station Bentwaters as my favorite bases (both now closed). The worse was Minot AFB (under SAC) & Pope AFB (that is, Pope Patch). In support duty I liked Tan Son Nhut Air Base since I was able to live off base for three years. This is not an AF installation but I was stationed at H.M. Smith, CINCPAC, Honolulu, & I can tell you that was the WORSE assignment I had in the AF!
Moody AFB GA, where senior enlisted careers come to die! Sub-par promotion rates for SMSgt and Chief for at least the last 5 years. The only time you see a SMSgt or Chief make in in the MXG is if he/she PCSed in.
I have 2 great assignments, my first 3 year tour at RAF Mildenhall, loved the TDY’s and deployments, and the shop felt more like a family that took care of each other (but that was back in 2000). D-M was my other best assignment, great group of people that took care of their own and plenty to do in the local area.
Worst assignment ever, still suffering at Moody AFB GA. When we closed the MH-53 unit down at Mildenhall my PCS choices were Hurby or Moody. Having started my AF career at Hurlburt Field I thought that the rumors couldn’t be true about Moody. The rumors were censored truths about this place. I can’t prove it but I’m sure Moody has the highest DUI rate in the DOD due to the non existence of morale, sense of family, or Esprit de Corps. My new comers brief set the tone for the amount of dread I was going to experience, the base commander at the time stated “Welcome to Moody, where for 90% of you this will be your last duty station, of that 90% 1/2 will leave the AF on their own and the other will be escorted to the gate”. My first year here I saw more people get out or kicked out than I did my first 11 years in the AF. I’ve volunteered for Cannon, early out, cross training, base stabilization, you name it, and I’m still stuck here.
With some bases, they have to make it sound worse with changes to their names. Like No Hope Pope, Why Not Minot, Moldyhole, and so on, but all you need to say is Moody and people understand.
In my opinion Beale AFB SUCKS! The base has so many problems…too many to comment on. If you have family in Northern Cali maybe its bearable. Be prepared to spend lots of money on gas because there is nothing to do in the surrounding areas of the base. I spent most weekends in Roseville spending money I shouldn’t have because I was bored. A plus is that 2 hours in any direction you can find enjoyable activities and they have brand new housing. My husband refused to retire there so we were lucky to get out of there. A lot of people get stuck at Beale so take heed before placing Beale on your dream sheet.
Worst: Minot AFB. No explanation required, I think. 2nd worst: FE Warren. Worst commissary on earth. Plus missiles. Best: Anything in the DC area. Ramstein. Hickam.
Barksdale is without a doubt the worst base I’ve ever been to. Morale sucks, the surrounding area sucks, the leadership sucks.
Best: Hurlburt Field, Florida (HQ AFSOC). One of the best kept secrets in the Air Force. Sugar beaches, great communities, great housing (on and off), major cities not too far away. RAF Lakenheath was great (not for a cop) but the area and ability to travel and see the sights was amazing! Hickam AFB, Hawaii is easy for many reason although you do get “island fever” after a while.
Worst: Never had a bad assignment and that included stops at Loring AFB, Maine, Osan AB Korea, and Lackland AFB Texas.
I really liked Eglin AFB. Great part of Florida that for the most part is still unknown to most Americans.
Every base in AFGSC sucks. I feel sorry for those guys.
Hulburt, Eglin, and Hickam are great.
Not one vote for Cannon? PCSing here kills families and individual morale. High rent prices are above the average BAH, very few newer (newer than ’60-’70) homes, one walmart for 39,000 residents with no target or similar competitors, nearly 100 miles to the nearest city which accommodates basic human needs, locals who loathe the military, above national average crime problem, gang issues, a crossroads for the drug traffic from Mexico, everything on base + in town is closed on Sunday, little to no base amenities, intense mission schedule due to the nature of the mission (AFSOC base), the manure smell (the least of any real world issues that i have mentioned), no careers or industry for spouses (except for the aforementioned cow smell)…i literally could go on forever and I am generally a pretty optimistic person.
Cannon was the worst base I’ve been to. It’s in the middle of nowhere and the shifty 50 control everything around town. if you want anything fun to do, you’ll need to travel 2 hours to Lubbock or Amarillo or 3 hours to Albuquerque. The base is betting better from what I hear but it will still always smell like cow poo.
Best base would have to be Ramstein due to how centrally located it is within all of Europe and the vast array of amenities on base. Soto Cano was also a great assignment. The ops tempo is really lax, great opportunities to travel throughout Central America and the food was always very fresh and tasty.
Littlerock ABC may have had its problems, but was the best base I was at in my 10 years.
Offutt AFB is a barrel of rotten apples, and no matter how many good apples you put in it those also become spoiled. I worked with countless people who had good reputations elsewhere, but lousy attitudes while at this base. Leadership shoots in the dark in a feeble attempt to fix morale and Offutt was the end of my career.
I cried when we came off the first exit to Mountain Home, ID because its a little town with desert circling it. And though we have been stuck here for nearly 8years, we have fallen in LOVE with it. Honestly, its what you make it on where you get stationed.I can’t speak for base living due to us living in town (which has been great), but I’m sure its like any other. Though you have to travel 30mins to Boise for the mall etc. Its not bad. If you love the outdoors you’ll be happy because there are so many places to explore here in Idaho. Again its what you make it and I know many will complain about it here, but we all have our opinions.
Nellis AFB, NV. The local area is awesome for a month or so then it just gets old. You can’t stand the drivers, traffic, tourists, drunks, and homeless so you stop going downtown. If you enjoy hiking there are plenty of activities surrounding the city of Las Vegas. They too get old after a few month. My son isn’t old enough to go to school yet but from what I hear, it would be best to homeschool him in this area. I think Clark County schools are the 3rd worst in the country, YES the country! We’ve lost base activities from the bowling alley, theater, and even the library. The weather is great all year round but living in the desert is an adjustment. Even PT testing needs concentration or you’ll end up with cotton mouth after your run. As far as the work atmosphere, no unity. Officers/pilots keep to themselves as do enlisted. The Commander of my squadron seems to be a little scared of enlisted, like he doesn’t know how to approach us or respond to us. Although my senior enlisted leadership trys to keep morale high, one squadron event seems to bring it back down. I’m always hearing people express how squadrons act like a family overseas- it must be nice.
Worst by far was Keesler AFB. One it was a bad time in my life, two, it’s Mississippi! Best was RAF Lakenheath. Loved the base and if the weather would have been better I may have even retired there.
McChord is one of the best places I’ve been stationed. Good mission focus, beautiful surroundings, great weather, happy people! What more could one ask?
Vance Air Force Base is the worst base. It’s not bad for the first couple of months but after 1+ years, I’m realized it was just a pit.
The base itself is tiny. There is no chow hall. The base gym has been the same for 20 years now.
No love for enlisted on and off base.
Young people flee the local community is old people with oil money, dysfunctional families, “people of walmart”, church clubs, meth users and horrible bipolar weather.
Leaders continue to say “Community loves the Military”
When the communities actions are opposite.
Soesterberg AB, The Netherlands was the best base I was assigned to in my career. However, it wasn’t just the location, cost of living, local population and customs, etc. which made it great. We had some of the most talented, friendly, and humorous AF professionals that ever existed in one place at one time!
The best bases I have been at Bitburg AB, Germany, RAF Bentwaters, Uk and RAF Lakenheath, UK. We worked hard but everyone pulled together to get the mission done. Worst assignment was Holloman AFB , NM luckily I was able to leave after 18 months due to a change in missions.
Worst overseas assignment? Kunsan in the early 90s. A remote in even sense of that word; the only saving grace was a steady cycle of exercises and inspections, so you didn’t have a lot of time to reflect on your miserable environment. Hear the “Kun” has improved a lot over the past 20 years and I certainly hope so; bad enough being away from your family for a year, but being stuck at the end of the earth only made it worse.
Worst stateside assignment? Moody-by-the-swamp. I was there in the late 80s; local community is extremely friendly (largely because the base is the economic engine that keeps Valdosta afloat). Backwater town in the middle of nowhere; if you wanted a place with more than one mall or entertainment, options, you had to drive to Jacksonville, Tallahassee, or Atlanta. It was a great assignment for me professionally, but my wife and kids were miserable–schools were lousy, too.
Best assignments? Enjoyed my time at Keesler b/c I lived across the bridge in Ocean Springs, MS, one of the best small towns in America; Davis-Monthan and Tucson were great–my only regret is that I was TDY much of the time and didn’t get a chance to enjoy the local area. My best tour was as an AFROTC instructor in Oxford, MS (University of Mississippi). Incredible community with all the best features of a small town and a major university. Two of my kids still live in the area and I plan to go back there and retire.
Edwards AFB is the worst for us so far…middle of nowhere, stuck in the Mojave desert. Closest shopping is 40 minutes away (Walmart, Target, etc…) Commissary and BX are a joke. Perks are normal schedules and little to no deployments, but after you have made the drive and have seen all the tpurist sights in LA and the surrounding areas it’s time to go!
Best Bases for me:
Spangdahlem- centrally located to a variety of other european countries within hours drive
Aviano- Beautiful area and good wine. Only know is the surety mission there so its a heavily inspected base
Sheppard- Most people hate it because theres not a lot to do but its great for family life and the schools are good
Keesler- Our current base and we love it. Doesn’t hurt that I’m from Louisiana and home is only a 3 hour drive away. But being on the coast and a one hour drive from New Orleans is great too. Oh and the food is great!
Worse bases in my expirance:
Seymour Johnson- not a lot to do in the local area and the being the biggest F-15E model base in the AF makes it a big horse and pony show. Morale seemed to always be low
Osan- Being separated from you family is one thing but the amount of exercises you go through there is crazy. Not only that but it stinks. Worse leadership I ever worked under was in the 25 AMU there.
I have only had one assignment which is Dover AFB De. At first I hated it to its rotten core but now have learned to live with the bad. It’s not really the base its self because the base is close to many nice cities on the east coast. The problem is the mission. Its a AMC base with a “Super Port”. Morale and standard of living? Throw them out the door here, the mission comes first. No matter that the mission has trickled down from a torrent to a stream in recent years. The leadership here is out for one thing… looking good. Oh and they look good, of course it was achieved by stepping on the backs of their peers and Airmen. In the past year and a half I have seen multiple senior NCOs pcs here then immediately retire. The mindset here at Dover is all about screwing everyone in the name of the mission. WHAT MISSION!?
Laughlin AFB. 2 1/2 miles from Mexico border. Off base is always stepping over soiled diapers dropped in parking lots, open packages in the grocery store and litter everywhere. Nasty little border town. 2 hour drive to San Antonio and Highway Patrol loves to give the GIs tickets along the way. Oh, and don’t forget the zipper suited sungods on base.
Blessed with great AF base assignments. Two of the best I served: Soesterberg AB, The Netherlands; and Tempelhof Central Airport, Berlin (when the Wall was still up).
As someone earlier posted, Soesterberg usually had a tight military community, whom the local Dutch (greatest folks, in my opinion) treated very warmly. Great location. Magical assignment. Most of the Dutch spoke English. You could watch local TV, which had US shows in English, with Dutch language captions (so you could see when JR in the TV show “Dallas” said something in English, what it translated into in Dutch).
Tempelhof Central Airport — the facilities were unsurpassed, both our “base” (was one of the largest buildings complex in the World, being the former Lufthansa HQ and built by Albert Speer for Hitler to be the “Airports of all Airports” before WWII), and, for field grade officers, the best housing. While we were an occupying force, our O&M budget was Deutschmarke-funded by the German Govt, as continuation of war reparations. Our government vehicle fleet consisted of Mercedes Benz vehicles (without AF or US Govt markings). The German Govt preferred we used a uni-fleet of Mercedes vehicles, since they had a better resale value when they were turned into the German Govt for salvage. My living quarters was a 3500 sq ft home (requisitioned Army-issue home) in the Beverly Hills District of Berlin (Zehlendorf). AF presence was relatively minor compared to the large Army presence at the Berlin Brigade. Our installation commander had a saying that if you took all of the Intel-related people out of Berlin, you’d probably only have a city of about 40,000 people. Lots of intrigue and excitement, and so much WWII history to see. Having the Russians technically as your “ally” as an occupational force — and this was before the Wall came down and change in Soviet government — was pretty bizarre.
Miss those days in Europe, when the currency exchange rates were in our favor, and so much to see within car driving distance.
Favorite travel spot for us was Interlakken (and surrounding areas) in Switzerland in the Bernese Alps.
McChord AFB was my favorite base so far! The area is amazing, so many things to see and do. I really enjoyed the mission as well. AMC bases are the best! Plus the BX was amazing, DFAC was great and moral was always great.
Seymourjohnson AFB is the worst ever. Think about the name (see-more-johnson). That’s exactly what you see too, a whole lot of pricks. The Good Ole boy network is alive and well. Civilians on the base have been around since the F-4, and they got this place on lock. The entire mission is based around flying the F-15E’s. Suicide on/off base =’s we need more sorties. Depoyment dwell time=’s we need more sorties. Illegal Drug usage rampant =’
s we need more sorties. DUI’s off base =’s we need more sorties. You name it & it equals we need more sorties. It’s so bad that even the Wing CC will only talk about the F-15E. “They are old, cranky, and don’t like changes in weather”. That too equals we need more sorties. This place is a real turd and you’ll see plenty of Johnsons
It has been many years since I was wearing the blue suit. I traveled a lot when I was in. I was stationed at Sewart AFB, TN. The base was okay but it was built pre-WWII. Not much to do there on base. But, I was in the 314th Air Wing, so I traveled a whole bunch TDY. Good people on the base and good NCO’s for the most part. I was also in the 61st TCS where there many senior Zebras who treated the first termers with respect. I traveled over each pond twice while I was stationed there. Preferred South East Asia over Europe any day. The op-tempo was horrible. One day off when we came back from any TDY assignment, but we all expected nothing more. It was our duty to go to work and serve our great country.
The best base I was Clark AB, Philippines. Lots to do and see in the ’60s. Good food off base, not so great chow halls. Nice weather.
2nd best was Wesbaden (sp?). Nice base and nice people off base.
The worst was RAF Mildenhall. Nothing to really do on base, and the people did not like Americans off base. Also on my list was Aviano AFB, Italy and NAS Naples, Italy. Both were filthy towns off base.
Way back in the 60’s, we were called mechanics, not the sissy term, “maintainers”. I was proud I was a mechanic.
Worst: Edwards AFB. It’s civilian run, civilian minded. Mojave desert is great for testing aircraft, but living there sucks. Th ebase has a civilian and contractor population that does what it wants, becaus eit knows th emilitary are only temporary. Mixture of high crime and high poverty in the nearby cities of Mojave, california city, Lancaster, Palmdale. The desert itself is full of blowing trash. 45 minutes to the nearest walmart, which you have a 50/50 chance of being mugged.
Best? Misawa AB, Japan 88-92. Working on “The Hill” and living in the new housing just down the road from the beach was nice. RAF Alconbury was nice as well.
Worst? Clark AB 83-86. Tons of crime, although the off base food was good.
Worst: Goodfellow AFB. AETC, 3 1/2 hours from a decent sized city. SSgts and TSgts kept that base running, since SNCOs came there to retire. LtCols and Cols left their families during the week in San Antonio to check their squadron commander box. If you weren’t just dialing it in to collect the “welfare,” you got saddled with every special project known to your unit. Boredom, a terrible morale problem, with substandard local housing. The locals like to think they can get one over on the military, but the education there is so awful anyone with half a brain can run circles around them. Nothing to do except to drink or spend a lot of money on weekends in San Antonio or Austin. 4 1/2 years there with no end in sight was my incentive to transfer into the Reserves and finish my undergrad. Never looked back.
Best: Yokota AB. The base itself wasn’t the best (I was there from 2004-2007 when the base infamously failed their ORI), but the local area was an even trade off to me. I traveled all over Japan, learned the language, and would have stayed forever if AFPC hadn’t made me moved.
Worst. Aviano AB, Aviano, Italy. I don’t understand why this is the most requested overseas assignment, it’s hell on earth. Between the rules and restrictions for living there, the demanding work schedules, and the crazy way Italians run everything it was a nightmare. People still fighting over bills they receive up to 2 years after they’ve left. Many people living in Italian houses receiving no bills the entire time they live here only to be nailed when it’s time to leave. The Italians love to stick it to you.
Best base by FAR was Malmstrom AFB in Montana. Wide open spaces, Big Sky country, just an amazing location. Not too big not too small. We’re ready to go back there when we retire! LOVE it!
I had been stationed in Germany and England. I enjoyed my time in those countries. However, Soesterberg AB was such a great surprise! It had a great mission, great people, and living in The Netherlands was definitely the some of the best times that I had in my 22 years in the Air Force. I spent 13 years in Europe with my last 4 at Soesterberg. I didn’t want to leave, but it was the time of base closures.
I’m with you Marcus…..Seymour Johnson AFB is horrible. Maybe not the worst but it is pretty bad.
Eielson was be far the best assignment I had. Fishing, mid-night sun, sports, it had it all. Worst was Grand Forks, they should just turn it into a prison camp, but that would be cruel and unusual punishment. I had a charmed career, McGuire (arm pit of the world), Hickam (paradise), Edwards (loved it), Eielson, Grand Forks, and Goodfellow (nice place to retire). Yep no remotes and my only “overseas” tours where Hawaii and Alaska. An I did that in the Security Police career field.
South Ruislip Air Station, London, Orly Field, Paris, France,
Tempelhof AB, Berlin, Germany, Wiesbaden (USAFE Hq) were
my best bases. Worst base? None. Ramstein, Upper Heyford, UK, RAF Croughton,UK and Tan Son Nhut AB, Vietnam were okay. Not so good was McGuire , NJ, but the folks were great – espectially the Wing Commander (General Larry Wright).
The worst? Travis AFB CALIFORNIA hands down! If the locals are a bunch of gangbangers, dope smokers, peace protesters at the gate then there’s a problem Houston! The local leaders allowed two garbage companies to build deadly bird attracting garbage landfills on either end of the 2 arrival / departure runways! Then they allowed wind turbines to be built on the eastern side of the base making the government buy new digital radar systems to counter the disruption the wind turbine blades were causing. They also have allowed encroachment on the western side of the base with housing developments. The cost of San Francisco Bay Area unionized labor and fuel prices make the base’s operations expensive! Then there’s the Detroit / Oakland styled crime problem exacerbated by a corrupt California State and Local Government with open drug markets and loads of illegal aliens and welfare recipients. Yucko! CLOSE TRAVIS—-TEACH CALIFORNIA A LESSON!
The Best: McChord Air Force Base up until 2010.
The Worst: Joint Base Lewis McChord, ever since the Army took over the Air Force has no identity. It’s the Army way and the base has suffered since.
@Rich Gaddis – close our main mobility hub to the pacific to ‘teach California a lesson’? Where the heck do you propose we move it that would be outside of CA? Talking about cutting off your nose to spite your face. Given the high caliber of the rest of the post though, this failure to think things through isn’t much of a surprise.
@Michael- The question posed to us has nothing to do with military strategic purposes. The question asked is based on morale, base amenities, cost of living, local area and so on. That said, during my 25 year career….
Best Stateside: McChord
Best Overseas: Anywhere in Germany!
Worst Stateside: Malmstrom (During the SAC years)
Worst Overseas: Kunsan AB
Of course, any assignment is only as good as its leadership. Something I see getting worse in the Air Force over the years.
Show me a place with good leadership and I will show you a base with outstanding amenities and oustanding morale. Good leaders usually see to it that they take care of what is most important to the base populace. Poor leaders make on duty and off duty life miserable and sadly most poor leaders accept that miserable life as normal for the rest of us and rarely change.
Worst was Goodfellow AFB — political pork barrel, middle of nowhere, west Texas location; has-been military leadership with a chip on their shoulder trying to rehabilitate their careers; plus the notorious dumbed-down Bravo Sierra leadership and culture of AETC; add to that locals who want to succeed from the nation or belong to a patriarchal religious cult. Did I mention it is in Texas? Still, highly acceptable BBQ.
I am one of the lucky few (or so I gather from the posts) who has never been stationed at a bad base. Ramstein was my best assignment by far. HUGE BX and commissary, a large German city nearby, an hour away from the international airport at Frankfurt, amazing history, the list goes on. Behind that, Kadena and then Cheyenne Mtn AS. Even Kirtland wasn’t bad, but did have its issues with crime and poor schools.
For those of you who are “serving time” at Cannon, you have my sympathy. I drive through that horrible town as fast as I can. New Mexico is much like Old Mexico, especially there. My TDY’s to Sheppard were not what I would consider “fun”, but the people love the military and are very friendly.
Best bases by far were Iraklion AS, Crete, Greece and Incirlik Turkey. Both had the small town feel but had plenty to do to include easy travel. Iraklion was the best kept secret in the AF with it’s own beach and marina. Too bad it had to close!
My worst was Frank’s Rocket Ranch in WY. The locals didn’t really care to have us there in the 80s although it seems to have changed a bit today. Definitely better facilities than when I was there.
I really enjoyed FE Warren AFB. I like to hunt and fish and hike and this was perfect. If you wanted something less woodsy, Denver is only a 100 miles away. The people of Cheyenne appreciated us and we appreciated them, very nice folks.
I really haven’t had a bad assignment out of nine in my 24 years. I’ve done tours at Spangdahlem, Holloman, Lajes Field, Azores, Sheppard, Robins, Texas Tech, RAF Mildenhall, Qatar and Offutt. I’ve loved them all for different reasons. I would have to say that Lajes is very hard to beat. My least favorite was probably Robins but I still loved it there.
@Dave, his response was all about advocating a shutdown of a base for political purposes, not just complaining about specific problems in the spirit of the OP. That elevated it to a geopolitical strategic discussion that would have been another matter had he simply left out the last line (which based on his responses elsewhere appears to be a running pet cause of his).
Little Rock AFB, HORRIBLE SCHOOLS for military kids, housing look like it’s from the 40’s/50’s. Area is not bad if you only wanna shop at Wal-Mart and SAMs club then you would be happy. Only plus side a lot of colleges in the area. Rather be at Lajes or Elmendorf
Buckley by far the best base. Colorado offers so much to do for families and single airmen. Denver is just a short drive as well as the mountains. Aviano AB will definitely come in second best.
The best for me was Hurlburt Field. Absolutely loved the 5 years I was stationed there. Made so many friends and even my wife there. The worst duty location for me was Eielson. I despise cold weather and snow. You’re 25 miles outside of Fairbanks with nothing around. 3/4 of the year you’re freezing your butt off with little sunlight and a copious amount of snow. You couldn’t pay me enough to go back to that hellhole.
After a year in a GSU, I can confidently say that the worst base is no base. Everything is harder when it’s three hours to the servicing MPF and Finance. Oh, and that servicing FSS has no relation to your chain of command. Every phone call includes a “who do you work for again?” Ever try to keep all your training and records up to date when your unit is 2000 miles away? And ADLS and half of AFPC Secure are .mil-network only.
As for the best, I gotta throw some love at Wright-Patt. I think it’s seriously underrated as a duty station. It’s not exactly sexy or exciting, but it’s got good amenities for families, reasonable housing prices, decent schools, and it’s a only short drive to Cincinnati, Columbus, or Indianapolis if you need that big-city vibe.
Best base: Sewart AFB TN. Down the road from Nashville and Hamilton AFB CA. Down the road from San Francisco. I was stationed at these bases in the late 60’s. They’re pretty much closed now, but our off-duty actives then were fantastic!
Worst base: Sheppard AFB
best Clark Air Base 1980-1985 and 1989-1991 sad to see it close
Huge base great support and there was reasons that Clark had the highest re enlistment and DEROS extension rates in the Air Force.
If the base had stayed open I would have stayed and retired right there
I was lucky worst place I ever went was Lajes and it was OK
My first duty assignment was Wheelus AB, Lybia back in 1967, and although it was on a beach, there was nothing to do but work and go drink beer. The tour was 15 month of boredom. Next came my favorite assignment, Zaragoza AB Spain. Loved it, and had two assignments there.
Worst base for Active duty enlisted by far is the Academy. Here the enlisted are treated as third rate citizens, and you are reminded of that almost on a daily basis. The AREA is GREAT though, so that’s a trade off. So if you are thinking of moving to Colorado, go to Peterson!
Osan AB is the worst. For E-5 and below it’s a deployment with out any real benefits (most entitlements taken away). E-6 and above it’s home station (car, family, off base housing and BAS). Of course with some exceptions. Just a heads up.
Lajes Field was by far the worst assignment that I have had. The location is beautiful, don’t get me wrong, but the Wing is mostly civilians and some of them are the laziest people on earth. They take hour long coffee breaks in the morning, two hour lunches, and sometimes don’t even return to work. When you call them on it, they say it was due to personal leave or something like that. The military pretty much takes care of the mission here because the civilians are too busy on Facebook or watching YouTube videos to get any work done. Worst of all you can’t do anything about it, because they scream discrimination if you try to hold them accountable. They just need to fire everyone in the Wing and start over with some fresh blood. Some of these people have been here for 30+ years and produce the work of an E-1, to be honest, that is being too generous, because an E-1 actually cares to do the job right the first time. However, there are quite a few that are the complete opposite of this statement and are very fine individuals, but the rest of them are so terrible that it makes the entire batch look rotten. The kicker to all of this is that the Portuguese are allowed to shop at the BX, so everything is stocked for them. You can’t even buy an appliance that’s 110 or dual voltage, everything is 220. Items that family’s need for their children are bought up by the Portuguese before the Americans have a chance to purchase it. So everyone shops on Amazon and waits a minimum of two weeks to get anything that they need. Military clothing is a barren wasteland because the Portuguese are not allowed to buy military clothing items. We’re told that we can order from Ramstein and have it shipped in, but that doesn’t help when you need a flight cap right now because yours just blew away in the daily wind storms.
Ever heard of Dyess AFB? It’s so bad here you probably never heard of it.
Worse base by far is Aviano. I’ve been stationed at several other bases..even bases the folks say I’d hate but I have to say that there’s no place like it. It’s appealing to the eye because of location and travel oppourtunities but the base in itself is not something that you hear people say that love. Outside of it taking a while to get used to such as the culture and just the way they operate because it’s not American Owned, even the Americans have confirmed…it’s almost it’s own planet apart from other bases. For it to be an overseas base, the close bonds aren’t there not to mention the high prices.
I only had one bad assignment and that was Cannon AFB, NM. Hated that place, I had to go there after a short tour. For the F-111 to F-16 transition. Nothing to do there and shifty 50 ran the base. I feel sorry for the troops that moved from Hurlburt (paradise) to this dump. Cannon should be a stateside short tour. I knew I wasn’t going to get out of this place unless I took a tour to Korea, so I volunteered for Korea. I got a great assignment to Cheong Ju 75 miles southeast of Osan, only 5 USAF there and I never sucked rubber once while I was there. Was stationed at other great bases: Eielson AK, Camp New Amsterdam NL, Anderson AFB Guam, and four times to Hill AFB. Hill is a great place to live and raise a family.
As an 811 I had 2 stateside bases, Minot & FE Warren. There are few (if any) worse places to be stationed than Minot. I was in from 71-79 to I saw most of SE Asia. Any day, anytime, I’d go back based upon what I saw on CONUS assignments.
Stay safe all.