Installation Overview: Naval Support Activity Lakehurst, New Jersey

The 2005 Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC) Report to the President required the relocation of installation management functions and the establishment of Joint Base McGuire–Dix–Lakehurst (JB-MDL). 

JB-MDL consists of the United States Air Force's McGuire Air Force Base, the United States Army's Fort Dix and the United States Navy's Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst, which were merged on 1 October 2009.  JB-MDL spans more than 20 miles, from east to west. It is situated in the two largest counties in New Jersey—Burlington and Ocean—and includes portions of eight municipalities.

McGuire, Dix, and Lakehurst is the Department of Defense’s only tri-service joint base. As America’s premier joint warfighting base, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst is uniquely capable of projecting air, land and sea power in support of our nation’s defense.   Though consolidated into a single joint base, the three facilities which were adjoining, but separate military installations remain commonly known by their pre-merger names

Although the installation management functions have been consolidated, the missions of each of the three installations will continue. The Air Force will still provide global mobility and expeditionary combat support; the Army will mobilize and train soldiers, and the Navy will continue to assure fixed and vertical wing aircraft operate safely and effectively worldwide. 

This overview will cover JB-MDL – Naval Support Activity Lakehurst

Naval Support Activity (NSA) Lakehurst is located on the eastern portion of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. and is formerly known as Naval Air Engineering Station (NAES) Lakehurst.

With a rich heritage as the nation's lighter-than-air center, NSA Lakehurst is now the DoD's Aircraft Platform Interface expert. Sharing common borders with Fort Dix and McGuire Air Force Base, this 42,000 acre Joint Installation Partnership is strategically located in the populous northeast corridor, near New York City and Philadelphia.

NSA Lakehurst performs various tasks. The Lighter-than-Air program is continued with the flights of the MZ-3A, as well as the development and testing of Army and Air Force airships. It is the location of various A and C schools, including Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment Officer, Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment Maintenance Officer, Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment Arresting Gear, Catapult Electrician, Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment Maintenance Technician, Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment Indoctrination and Improved Fresnel Lens Optical Landing System. Lakehurst’s Airfield provides support for McGuire’s C-17 fleet as well as Army National Guard SH-60 flight training. Lakehurst also conducts the unique mission of supporting and developing the Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment and Support Equipment for naval aviation. Lakehurst is the main hub for research and development of The Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System and the Advanced Arresting Gear system that will replace the existing steam catapults and the Mk-7 arresting gear.

Here is the official website for Joint Base McGuire–Dix–Lakehurst.

Location/Driving Directions

The Lakehurst Annex of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey covers 7,400 acres located in the central New Jersey Pinelands. It abuts the Fort Dix annex to the west forming a 42,000 acre contiguous military complex with Fort Dix Annex and McGuire Air Force Annex. The eastern side of JBMDL is a resort area located geographically in a high cost of living region of the United States.

From Philadelphia International Airport

North to exit for Walt Whitman bridge ($2 toll)
After bridge, follow signs to Route 295 North
Route 295 North to Route 195 East (follow signs & stay right when nearing 195 East)
Route 195 East to exit 16. Left onto Route 537
Route 537 to Route 571 (2nd light). Right onto Route 571
Route 571 to Route 547 (right at 2nd light-Ridgeway Liquor)
Proceed to the main gate

From Newark Airport

Parkway South to Exit 88 (Route 70 West)
Follow signs on route 70 West to Route 547 and turn right (Gulf station on right, McDonald's on left)
Bear left down 547 and proceed about ¼ mile to main gate (second gate after the industrial gate)

From Philadelphia's 30th Street Train Station

East on Market Street to the fifth street
Left on Fifth - two blocks to Ben Franklin Bridge ($2 toll)
Cross bridge onto Admiral Wilson Blvd. (Route 30-to Cherry Hill)
2½ miles on Admiral Wilson Blvd. To Route 70 East
Stay on route 70 east approximately 45 miles
Turn left at route 547 (There will be a traffic circle two lights before the turn with the Mike-O-Neal motel on the left. At
547, Gulf station on left and McDonalds on the right.)
Bear left on 547 and proceed about ¼ mile to main gate (second gate after the industrial gate)

From Trenton Train Station

Clinton Ave to Hamilton Ave (right at 2nd light)
Hamilton Ave to next light. Turn left onto Route 129 South.
Route 129 to Route 195 East (Shore Points)
Route 195 East to exit 16. Left onto Route 537
Route 537 to Route 571 (2nd light). Right onto Route 571
Route 571 to Route 547 (right at 2nd light-Ridgeway Liquor)
Proceed to the main gate

Driving to Lakehurst from Patuxent River

Route 2 to 301 east or north
301 (about 896E (4miles) to 13N
13N (16 miles) to Delaware River Bridge ($2)
Immediately as you exit bridge, get on 295N
Route 295 North to Route 195 East (follow signs & stay right when nearing 195 East)
Route 195 East to exit 16. Left onto Route 537
Route 537 to Route 571 (2nd light). Right onto Route 571
Route 571 to Route 547 (right at 2nd light-Ridgeway Liquor)
Proceed to the main gate

When you arrive at the front gate, show proper ID and seek guidance from Gate Guard. You may be expected to detour to the Pass & ID office during working hours to produce appropriate paperwork for the vehicle that you are driving (registration, insurance, etc.)

Main Phone Numbers

NAVAIR Lakehurst employees form human characters in front of famous Hangar 1. Photo courtesy U.S. Navy

Base Operator:  (609) 754 -1110

Balfour Beatty Communities Management Office:  (732) 408-1651

CBH Billeting Office:  (732) 323-2266 / DSN (312) 624-2266

Child Development Center:  (732) 323-2260

Child Development Homes:  (609) 562-3540

Exceptional Family Member Program Liaison:  (732) 323-7098 / 3572 / 2231

Family Advocacy Representative (FAR):  (732) 323-1963 (after hours duty officer) / DSN (312) 624-1963

Family Housing Office:  (732) 323-7225 / DSN (312) 624-7225

Housing Referral Office:  (732) 323-2370 / DSN (312) 624-2370

Information and Referral – Lakehurst:  (732) 323-1248 / DSN (312) 624-1248

Lakehurst Naval Dental Clinic:  (732) 323-2158 / DSN (312) 624-2158

Lakehurst Naval Health Clinic:  (732) 323-2231 / DSN (312) 624-2231

Military and Family Support Center:  (732) 323-1248 / 1 (866) 340-1685 / DSN (312) 624-1248

Youth Center Bldg:  (732) 323-4043

Population/Major Units Assigned

The aircraft carrier, as the heart of Naval Aviation, is the principal customer at NAES Lakehurst. Photo courtesy U.S. Navy

Naval Support Activity (NSA) Lakehurst is under the jurisdiction of the Naval Air Systems Command.

NSA Lakehurst supports over 2875 active duty, guard and reserve, family members and civilian personnel.

In addition, there are more than 60,000 retirees within a ​50-mile radius of Joint Base-McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD), Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training (CNATT), Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 21 (NMCB 21), Army 1st Brigade Mid-Atlantic Recruiting Battalion, EAGLE FLAG (Air Force Exercise Eagle Flag is a USAF Chief of Staff directed exercise, supported by Air Mobility Command), New Jersey Army National Guard (NJ ARNG) Aviation Unit.

Temporary Lodging

Gateway Inn and Suites Combined Bachelor Housing facility. Photo courtesy U.S. Navy

The All American Inn provides temporary housing for DoD ID cardholders.  Rooms are available on a Space-available only basis for members not on orders.  Space-A reservations can be made for a maximum stay of three nights, with a possibility to extend depending on availability.

The Temporary Lodging Facility (TLFs-All American Inn) is the main lodging facility for families PCSing to the joint base. The TLF (Bldg 2786) is located on Mitchell Road.

The All American Inn is open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Call (609) 754-3337 or (609) 754-4667 for more information and advance reservations. Guest check-in and check-out are in building 2786 on McGuire.

Most PCS-in families (all with children) will be assigned to the TLF. You should have reservations; in summer, you must have reservations. TLFs are severely limited during the summer months due to the high turnover of personnel. PCS-in families are usually allowed 30 days of TLF; this may be reduced to 20 days or less during the summer months.

During the summer some VOQ/VAQ units may be converted to TLQ "suites" - two rooms separated by a bath with no cooking facilities other than a microwave in the hall. The Billeting staff will make every effort to ensure you have temporary lodging on base.

Pet-friendly units are available on the McGuire Temporary Lodging Facility (TLF). A daily charge will be applied to your guest folio. When making your reservation you must specify that you are bringing a pet.

There is a two pet maximum; the Lodging Manager may allow additional smaller pets if coordinated in advance.

There are no kennels or boarding facilities on either Dix or McGuire. Remember, it is a good idea to make advanced reservations for pet boarding as soon as you know your arrival date. Most facilities require proof of current vaccinations. Costs vary and are usually determined by the type of pet (dog or cat) and size (body weight).

Campground Lodging

The base FAM-CAMP is operated by the Outdoor Recreation Office and the Outdoor Recreation Office (609) 724-2145. This is a seasonal operation open from April through November. Six full hook ups, water, sewage & electric and restroom/shower facilities. Limited overflow sites and a tent area, grills, and picnic tables are also available. Campers may reserve a site for a maximum of 7 days and may be extended on a space available basis. PCS-in families will be given priority in the FAM CAMP.


Townhouse Style Home in Pinehurst Estates. Photo courtesy U.S. Navy

Privatized family housing is available on McGuire, Dix and Lakehurst and military families from all branches have the option to reside in various housing areas. Referrals for on-base privatized family housing and assistance with off-base housing are provided by the Lakehurst Government Housing Office (GHO) located at Bldg. 483 Walsh Rd, Lakehurst NJ 08733, (732) 323-2370. The GHO serves members of all military service branches and can assist with most housing issues including locating housing, tenant/landlord disputes, discrimination complaints, etc.

Lakehurst Housing Office should be contacted to inquire about current family housing status, policies, and availability regardless of branch of service. For incoming Navy personnel visit the Housing Early Application Tool or HEAT website. Navy Housing has developed HEAT to assist service members (SVMs) and their families in applying for housing Navywide. HEAT allows SVMs and their families to get the housing application process started at one or more Navy installations online before or after they receive their Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders.

Balfour Beatty Communities oversees the homes the homes, roads, playgrounds, and other recreational facilities within the housing areas. For more information about Balfour Beatty Communities at Lakehurst please visit their website or call (732) 408-1651.

Single Service Member Housing:  Eligible military personnel should contact the Lakehurst Government Housing Office (GHO) located at Bldg. 483 Walsh Rd, Lakehurst NJ 08733, (732) 323-2370 to inquire about Single Service Member Housing on Lakehurst.


There are no DODDS schools on Joint Base McGuire/Dix/Lakehurst. School age children living in McGuire and Dix housing attend North Hanover, Northern Burlington Regional and Pemberton Township school districts.  School age children living on Lakehurst attend Lakehurst and Manchester Regional school Districts.

The Lakehurst school district is comprised of the Lakehurst Elementary school housing Pre-school through 8th grade. All grades are in the same facility. This school system services those living on the Lakehurst side of Joint Base MDL and the Lakehurst community. Lakehurst is a walking district. Those that live on the base, bus transportation is available. The Lakehurst School District may be reached through their website or by calling (732) 657-5741.

The Manchester Township School District is a Kindergarten through the 12th-grade district. There are various schools that service the Manchester area for kindergarten through 8th grade. If military live in these communities they will attend the schools in their local districts. These are the Ridgeway Elementary which houses pre-K through 5th grade, Whiting Elementary School which houses pre-K through 5th grade, Manchester Township Elementary School which houses Kindergarten through 5th grade. These schools feed into the Manchester Township Middle School for 6th grade and 7th grade. The Manchester high school, 9th grade through 12th grade also houses our Lakehurst 8th grade graduates. The Manchester Township School district may be reached through their website or by calling (732) 350-5900.

The School Liaison Office (SLO) is available to assist military families with issues surrounding the education of their children. The SLO should be the first stop when seeking school-aged education-related information and guidance. School Liaison Specialists (SLS's) are available to assist transitioning students who are moving to the JB-MDL or relocating to another installation. The SLS's represent, inform and advise the command regarding school issues, assist families, educate schools about military culture and policies and initiate partnerships with local schools and communities. 

There are 68 private schools within a 20 - 40-minute drive of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst; to include Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Christian, Quaker (Friends) Lutheran, 7-Day Adventist, etc. There are 35 Elementary Schools, 25 Middle Schools, and 8 High Schools. All schools are accredited by the State of New Jersey. Contact the SLO for a list of these schools (609) 562-6271 or (609) 562-3160.

Parents/Guardians are not required by law to notify their public school district of their intention to educate the child elsewhere than at school. For further information on homeschooling please call the SLO at (609) 754-3154.

Child Care

The Learning Express Child Development Center caregivers and children. Photo courtesy U.S. Navy

Joint Base McGuire/Dix/Lakehurst (JB-MDL) Child and Youth programs (CYP) is a comprehensive system of programming providing quality care, resources, support and recreational activities for children and youth ages 6 weeks to 18 years of age. We believe that quality programming must meet the needs of all children and youth in the community. Our facilities have created a warm, happy, safe and healthy place for children and youth. Our programs are designed to provide activities and services which are developmental in nature and promote the physical, social, emotional, cognitive, creative and positive character development of each child/youth while responding to the unique needs of military families. Quality, affordability, and availability are our primary goals. All of our child care programs are certified by DoD and accredited by a national accrediting agency.

Child and Youth Programs consist of:

The Central Enrollment Registry (CER), which is a one-stop office for information, availability, and registration for all Child and Youth Programs on JB-MDL. Information on services available off base is available through this office also. The office is located on 3435 Broidy Road, McGuire and is open Mon - Fri 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Call (609) 754-3259 for an appointment. This office also maintains a centralized waiting list for McGuire and Dix. Eligible patrons include active-duty military, DoD civilians paid with either APF and NAF, reservists on active duty or during inactive duty training and DoD contractor's children. For more information on JB-MDL CYP programs, contact the CER at (609) 754-3259.

The Lakehurst Child Development Center (CDC) is located on Lakehurst in building 657. They are open Monday through Friday from 6:45 a.m. -5:30 p.m. and provide full day care for 6 weeks to 5-year-olds. Hourly care is available on a space available basis daily. Registration is taken care of on site.

The Family Child Care (FCC) Program provides the JB-MDL community with an alternative to other child development programs and for evening, weekend and shift care. The FCC program offers quality childcare in a home environment. This may be a good choice for parents who want their child cared for by the same provider each day and in a small group setting. Both hourly and drop-in care are available.

FCC providers are adult military dependents living in JB-MDL housing area who have been through training and certification requirements before becoming licensed. All FCC providers are regularly inspected by safety, military public health, fire prevention and the FCC staff. Currently, 8 providers are licensed with the program.

Current FCC provider listings are available at CER, CDCs, and the FCC office, (609) 754-3341.

The Lakehurst School Age Program (SAP) is located in building 487 on Lakehurst section of the base. Before and after school care as well as  school out days and summer camp for children in grades Kindergarten - 7 grades. Hours of operation are Mon - Fri 6:45 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

The Lakehurst Youth Center in building 487 on the Lakehurst section of base houses the SAP program plus offers special youth programs and field trips as scheduled. (732) 323-4043

Medical Care

Naval Support Activity (NSA) Lakehurst has an Active Duty outpatient clinic on base. There is no inpatient Medical Treatment Facility here or in the general area.

Naval Health and Dental Clinics Lakehurst is open for enrollment of the following Tri-Care eligible beneficiaries: Active duty family members age 18 to 65 and Retirees and retiree family members age 18 to 65.

Health and Dental Clinics Hours of Operation are Monday - Friday: 0730-1600, closed weekends and Federal Holidays.

If interested please contact the clinic at (732) 323-7098, or come into Bldg 39 to be registered.

Pediatric services are now available.

For all personnel checking into our base, please stop by or call the Health Benefits Advisor (HBA) at the Branch Health Clinic. The HBA has the enrollment forms required for TRICARE Prime. All Active Duty personnel are now on TRICARE Prime and must complete an enrollment/change form.

Members have several options for family medical care coverage: TRICARE Prime, Extra, and Standard or the Uniformed Services Family Health Plan (USFHP) at St. Vincent's Hospital. For all medical care coverage plans family members must find a civilian Primary Care Manager which can be provided at the time of enrollment by the health clinics HBA. Family Members who enroll in TRICARE can enroll at a nearby Medical Treatment Facility, including Paterson Army Medical Clinic and Naval Station Earle.

All family members must be enrolled in DEERS to be eligible for a health care plan. The Active Duty member must go to the Personnel Support Detachment (PSD) at Naval Air Station Willow Grove, PA to ensure that each family member is on Page 2 in the service record. Page 2 should be updated anytime there is a change in family status.

The Dental clinic will treat Active Duty personnel in the area of General Dentistry such as filling and pulling teeth. Limited Specialty Dental services are available, Any specialty dental specialty is required that cannot be performed by the clinic will be referred to the nearest military specialized dental treatment facility.

Family members must be enrolled in the Family Member Dental Program. The Health Benefits Advisor maintains a list of dentists who participate in the TRICARE Active Duty Family Member Dental Plan.