Lajes Field, Portugal

1
Overview

Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force

Lajes Field is Portuguese Air Base (PAB) No. 4, where the 65th Air Base Wing is stationed by agreement with the Republic of Portugal. Lajes Field is the home of all U.S. Air Force, Army, and Navy military forces in the Azores. In 1953, the U.S. Forces Azores Command was organized as subordinate Unified Command under the Command-in-Chief Atlantic. In peacetime, the U.S. Forces Commander (COMUSFORAZ) is assisted by a small joint staff responsible for contingency planning.

Although Lajes Field has a number of good facilities, the base population and space limits the offerings in the commissary and Base Exchange. Other base facilities include a laundry/dry cleaner, chapel, education center, library, post office, radio/television station, movie theater, clinic, and dental clinic. Emergency medical needs are handled through the Portuguese hospital in Angra or through the medical aerovac system. Recreational facilities include several well lighted tennis courts, racquetball courts, gymnasium with weight room, bowling alley, softball fields, skating rink, outdoor pool, youth center, hobby shops, and an 18-hole golf course not far from base. Opportunities exist to join several clubs that are affiliated with the base.

The Air Force mission is primarily airlift support.

2
Location/Driving Directions

The Azores are a group of islands located in the North Atlantic Ocean about 2,200 miles east of New York City and approximately 900 miles west of Lisbon, Portugal. Lajes Field is located on the northeast tip of Terceira. The island measures roughly 8 miles by 15 miles and is somewhat oval in shape and is almost entirely bordered by high cliffs.

The Portuguese civilian terminal shares the runway with the American and Portuguese military. All military flights will arrive on the American side of the shared runway. If arriving on a commercial flight one will arrive on the Portuguese side. Your sponsor should be there to greet you either way.

If your sponsor is not there to pick you up at the Portuguese terminal a taxi will charge approximately ten Euro from the commercial Airport to Lajes Air base. You can withdraw Euro with your debit card from the terminal on base. Your driver will take you there and will know where lodging is as well.

If one were to drive themselves they would take the only exit out of the Portuguese terminal and come to a traffic circle. Go 3/4 around the circle as though you were turning left. Approximately 1/4 mile down the road is a large white church on the right and a "Post Um" sign. At this intersection you will turn left. Follow this road for 1/2 mile to a traffic circle and go around to the left again as before. You are now on base.

3
Main Phone Numbers

Lt. Col. Bill Ratledge, the 65th Communications Squadron commander, Staff Sgt. Charles Thompson. Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force; photo by: Guido Melo

Base Operator DSN: 535-1110 011-351-295-57-1110

Base Housing Office 011-351-295-57-3507 DSN: 535-3507

Dental Appointments 011-351-295-57-3139 DSN: 535-3139

Doctor Appts 011-351-295-57-3261 DSN: 535-3261

Central Dorm Manager 011-351-295-57-3890/ 011-351-295-57-4173 DSN: 535-3890

Child Care (Family Home Care) 011-351-295-57-3188 DSN: 535-3188

Child Development Center 011-351-295-57-3188 DSN: 535-3188

Child Development Program 011-351-295-57-3188 DSN: 535-3188

Dental Clinic After Hours Emergency 011-011-351-295-57-3237 DSN: 535-3237

DoDDS - Elementary and High School 011-351-295-57-3491 DSN: 535-3491

DoDDS Elementary School 011-351-295-543-491/011-351-295-576-216 DSN: 535-3491

DoDDS High School 011-351-295-54-4151 DSN: 535-4151

Education Services Center 011-351-295-57-3355 DSN: 535-3355

Family Practice Clinic 011-351-295-57-3239 Phone: Appts: 011-351-295-57-3261 DSN: 535-3239

Housing Office 011-351-295-57-3507/011-351-295-57-3146 DSN: 535-3507

Lajes Youth Program 011-351-295-57-3273/011-351-295-57-1197 DSN: 535-3273

Lodging Office 011-351-295-57-5178/ 011-351-295-57-3727 DSN: 535-5178

School Age Program 011-351-295-57-3273/ 011-351-295-57-1197

Youth Center 011-351-295-57-3273 DSN: 535-3273

4
Population/Major Units Assigned

Col. JL Briggs, 65th Air Base Wing commander, right, and Chief Master Sgt. Laten Williams, 65th ABW command chief, go through the obstacle course during Annual Combat Dining. Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force; photo by: Staff Sgt. Timothy Sanford

The 65th Air Base Wing is the American unit stationed at Lajes Field, Terceira Island, Azores, Portugal. This U.S. Air Forces in Europe unit is the largest U.S. military organization in the Azores. The wing plays a vital role in the Global War on Terrorism by enabling the expeditionary movement of war fighters, warplanes, and global communications to Combatant Commanders and supporting Joint, Coalition, and NATO operations as part of U.S. and Allied Air Expeditionary Forces.

There are approximately 1,793 DoD personnel and their families as well as Portuguese military personnel.

5
Temporary Lodging

Mid Atlantic Lodge Front Door. Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force

Due to the increase of incoming personnel during the summer months (May through August), base temporary quarters are extremely limited and the waiting time for housing may be longer than usual for some personnel. Personnel should consider arriving ahead of their families to secure housing before their family arrives, especially if their sponsor has been unable to secure billeting reservations. Hotels and motels are extremely limited and very expensive.

Temporary Lodging is located in Building T-166. It is open 24 hours daily. The Mid-Atlantic Lodge provides high quality lodging service for transient personnel at Lajes Field.

TLA is established to reimburse lodging costs while you reside in temporary quarters.

You are authorized up to 60 days in temporary lodging. This does not constitute an automatic approval. You must be actively pursuing housing. If additional days are needed, a written request with your commander's endorsement must be submitted to the Housing Office. This request will be forwarded to 65 MSG/CC for consideration. Pets are not allowed in temporary lodging. If you have any questions regarding TLA, please contact the Housing Office immediately.

You must file a TLA claim every 10 days to the Housing Office. You will need to provide the Housing Office proof that you are looking for housing or that you have secured a place either on or off base.

You must bring in 3 copies of your orders, a paid receipt from billeting and fill out an AF Form 1357, Request for Temporary Allowance. You will be reimbursed by the Finance Office in your paycheck. Any questions regarding your pay should be directed to Finance. at extension 25158. The Housing Office does not perform the actual computations for your TLA.

Unaccompanied enlisted personnel must aggressively seek a dorm room through the Central Dorm Manager. If a room is not available, TLA may be approved, but you need a letter of non-availability. Check with the Central Dorm Manager first.

If you decline housing for on or off-base, your TLA will be stopped the day that the unit on base would have been available for occupancy. Waiting for off-base housing that accepts pets does not constitute an acceptable reason to decline a house. TLA can be stopped for this reason.

Military married to military will each need to bring a set of orders to the Housing Office to file for TLA.

You must be on the Waiting List to be eligible for TLA.

6
Housing

Nascer Housing. Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force

There are 400 Military Family Housing units located at Lajes Field. This figure includes 82 officer housing units and 318 enlisted housing units. All housing units are equipped with heating/air conditioning systems. Lajes Field is a limited weight area for household goods shipments. All authorized personnel will be provided furniture and appliances by the US Government with the exception of stereos, microwaves, Tvs, and baby furniture. Before you ship any furniture, please speak with your sponsor at Lajes for assistance in deciding what you should bring. Only two pets are authorized in base housing; however, waivers can be granted on a case by case basis. For more information contact the Housing Office at COM: 011 -351-295-57-3507; DSN: 535-3507. Submit an advance application with orders for base housing through your current housing office. Your sponsor can make advance arrangements for your room.

All incoming personnel are required to provide their own telephones in base housing. They may be purchased from the Lajes Base Exchange upon arrival, or bring one or two with you. Most of the housing units have a plug in the kitchen area, living area and one in the bedroom. Be sure the phone has a pulse-tone option.

The base electric power is110V/50 cycles on base and in base housing. However, the electric power off base is typical of Europe: 220V/50 cycles. Most American motorized appliances are 50/60 cycle capable. Check the specification label on your appliance. Heating element type items are not a problem. To use American appliances off-base requires a transformer. Most of the landlords have installed a transformer to convert the entire house to 110V.

All dorms are managed by the Central Dormitory Management Office. There inventory consists of 2 Dormitory 2+2 style rooms. The rooms are available to personnel arriving on unaccompanied orders. Personnel will need to bring their own television, stereo, etc. All E-4 and below will reside in the Dorms. All E-4's and above will be provided referral services for off base housing. The requirements for residing in the dorms are subject to change based on the occupancy levels. All authorized personnel will be provided with Government Furniture support.

Off-base housing is smaller than U.S. standards and does not have many amenities that we are used to, i.e., central heating. Finding rentals that accept pets here is generally not a problem but there are some who will not accept pets. You will be allowed to have only two pets in family housing. You must register your pet at the veterinary clinic within 72 hours of the pet's arrival.

7
Schools

DoDDS Elementary School - Computer Room. Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force

The Lajes American School consists of one campus that hosts the Elementary School, Middle /High School. The school is located in the base housing area. All are accredited by North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement in addition to HQ DoDEA Accreditation. Lajes Elementary School offers classes from kindergarten through grade 5. Lajes Middle School offers classes from grades 6-9. Lajes High School offers classes from grades 9-12.

To start the registration process visit the Lajes American School website. Families should visit the school office to finish the registering online. The following documentation is required: original sponsor orders, student Social Security number, birth certificate or passport, immunization record, school records if the child attended a previous school, and sponsor or dependent ID card. For more details, call DSN 314-535-3357/535-4151 or commercial 011-351-295-57-3357.

School bus transportation is provided to and from school for most off-base housing areas. Transportation is not provided from base housing because it is within walking distance of the school.

AAFES provides hot lunches for the students. Parents are encourages to open lunch accounts for their children at the BX. Students may also bring a sack lunch from home.

The Education Services Center is the focal point for all adult education programs at Lajes Field. Professional guidance counselors are available for both active duty and family members on an appointment and walk-in basis. Some of the programs available at the Education Office include: Professional Military Education (PME), Community College of the Air Force (CCAF); Financial Aid Information, Commissioning Programs, Tuition Assistance for Active Duty, and Tuition Assistance for Spouses. Complete testing facilities are available, including CLEP, DANTES, TOEFL and other specialized tests. College credit by examination, correspondence courses, external degrees, and college entrance exams are also available.

Information pertaining to financial aid is available to all personnel, and tuition assistance is authorized for active duty personnel. Spouse tuition assistance is available through the Air Force Aid Society.
DoD Schools.

8
Child Care

Lajes parents enjoy a moment of fun and games with their children during the Child Development Center’s Parents-Children Playtime. Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force; photo by: Staff Sgt Olufemi Owolabi

The Lajes Field CDC is located in Building T-209 and provides professional, quality care in a group setting. The program is also accredited by the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs. Creative Curriculum is used. This unique program offers us the flexibility to adjust the environment to meet the needs, learning styles, and interests of the children.

The Center is open Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Portuguese Holidays the center is open. Saturday, Sunday and U.S. Holidays, the center is closed.

Fees are subsidized with Appropriated Funds. Families are placed on one of six fee categories, based on total family income. Families will be asked to provide their most recent Leave and Earning statement(s) and/or pay stubs. In accordance with federal guidelines, BAH and in-kind equivalent are added together with earnings to determine the fee category. Fees range from $48- $110 per week.

Four types of programs are offered to families at the CDC:

* Full Day Program- Monday through Friday 7:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
* Part Day Preschool Program- Monday through Friday 7:30 - 11:30 a.m. or 1:30-5:30 p.m. This program is for children 3 to 5 years of age.
* Preschool Enrichment Program -Monday, Wednesday and Friday 8:30-1130 a.m. or 2:00-5:00 p.m. This program is for children 3 to 5 years of age.
* Hourly Care- Available Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. and is provided on space available basis and 24 hr notice.

The Lajes School-Age Program offers before and after school care for children in kindergarten through 6th grade. The program is offered at the Youth Center and fees are based on family income. Children start the day with a nutritious breakfast and are escorted to school by the School-Age Program staff. After school, the staff escorts the children to the Youth Center, where a snack is provided. The children are able to make their own activity choices, from art projects, quiet time, homework time and physical activities. The School-Age program offers a Summer Camp program as well and School holiday camps.

A kindergarten Program is offered for those children enrolled in afternoon kindergarten. The children remain at the center in the mornings and are served lunch prior to being escorted to school.

Child care for PCS offers 20 hours of free child care per child to be used within 60 days of arrival to, or departure from, Lajes. This program is paid for by the Air Force Aid Society. The provider must be a licensed Family Child Care provider. For more information, please call the Airman and Family Readiness Center at DSN 314-535-4138.

9
Medical Care

Medical Clinic. Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force

Due to the remote location and limited medical services provided by the 65th Medical Group, a careful screening process is required before family members can be accepted at Lajes. Please discuss thoroughly as a family, any possible dental, educational, emotional/psychological or medical needs you can anticipate for the length of your projected tour. Careful preparation and participation in the screening process is essential to a successful and healthy accompanied tour. Contact your local Exceptional Family Member Program Officer or local MTF regarding the Family Member Relocation Clearance Process (AF Form 1466 process) if you have any questions.

It is highly recommend women over 40 years old have a mammogram prior to arriving at Lajes Field. Also, those who are considering pregnancy, or already pregnant, should understand the possibility that family separation and some additional financial obligations may occur. We recommend any one pregnant greater than 32 weeks remain at their base or deliver in the States. The Medical Group cannot care for any High Risk pregnancies or complications that may arise. Patients that have complications are aero-medically evacuated. If you have any questions, contact the Women's Health Clinic. You can also contact our TRICARE Service Center.

Sponsors and their families should check with the 65th Medical Group upon arrival to ensure continuity of care and the availability of medications. If you have a latex allergy, please check with the 65th Medical Group prior to arrival. It is recommended coming to the island with a 1 or 2 month supply of any prescription medicine from your prior base.

This advance information is provided to help align your expectations with our capabilities. Remember, because of the remote location and limited medical services, it is imperative that your medical clearance be completed in a thorough fashion.