Installation Overview: Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), McChord AFB

Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) is located in the beautiful Pacific Northwest on the Puget Sound, in Western Washington, JBLM is near the city of Lakewood, 10 minutes from Tacoma, 35 minutes from Seattle and 20 minutes from Olympia the state capital. Although we are a Joint Base, we are not contiguous. 7.9 miles separate Lewis-Main and McChord Fld. Both Lewis and McChord are situated in a key location along Interstate 5, allowing easy access to Sea-Tac Airport and to the deep water ports of Tacoma and Seattle. On a clear day, majestic Mount Rainier looms on the horizon, towering over the other peaks of the Cascade Range.

The consolidation of Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force base began operation as a Joint Base in January 2010.  We are one of 12 new joint bases created by the 2005 Base Realignment and Closing Commission.  The new joint base has 93 years of service history and is the oldest military installation in the Pacific Northwest. 

The following information will be in regards to McChord AFB.

McChord Air Force Base was named in honor of Colonel William Caldwell McChord, former Chief of the Training and Operations Division in HQ Army Air Corps who was killed in a plane crash on August 18, 1937.

McChord Field was dedicated on July 3, 1940. On January 1, 1948, the field was re-designated McChord Air Force Base. McChord AFB has played a major role in almost every military action in recent history including Vietnam, Desert Storm and Desert Shield, Bosnia, and the former Yugoslavia. In addition, members of the 62nd Airlift Wing have played significant roles in rescue and relief efforts after the eruptions of Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Pinatubo, the tsunami in Southeast Asia, and most recently aiding the Haiti relief missions. McChord and the 62nd Airlift Wing continue to play a major role in Iraq and the Global War on Terror through airlift efforts and the transportation of troops from nearby Fort Lewis and Naval installations.

Here's the official website for Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Location/Driving Directions

McChord AFB is located in Pacific Northwest, Washington State. On a clear day, you can see Mt. Rainier and the Cascade Mountains to the east, and the Puget Sound and a view of the Olympic Mountains only a few miles to the west. McChord is located in the city of Lakewood, 10 miles south of Tacoma, 35 miles south of Seattle and 25 miles north of the State Capitol, Olympia.

If you are traveling by air, you will land at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (commonly known as Sea-Tac). If you have a sponsor, he/she may be able to meet you at the airport. Rental car agencies are available at the airport. If you are driving from the airport, you will need to access I-5 head south going toward Tacoma. Stay on I-5 until you reach Exit 125 for McChord Field and Bridgeport Way. Turn left at the end of the on-ramp onto Bridgeport Way SW and proceed approximately 1/4 mile to the Main Gate. If you are driving a rental car, you will need to stop at the Visitor's Center on the left as you enter McChord to obtain a temporary/visitor's pass for the vehicle. Be sure you have the vehicle registration and rental agreement, as well as your driver's license handy.

To reach billeting (Evergreen Inn), continue straight on this road (Col Joe Jackson Blvd) and at the traffic light, turn left on Barnes Blvd. Continue on this road about 1/2 mile (you will pass the McChord Collocated Club, running track on your left; the POV car wash and Hobby Shop on your right). After the stop lights, the Evergreen Inn office (billeting) is on the left-hand side of Barnes Blvd.

Air Transportation

If you arrive by commercial airline, information and assistance are available at the USO open 24 hours on the second floor in the Seattle-Tacoma (SEA-TAC) International Airport. There is no airport in Tacoma, it is the SEA/TAC located between the two cities. Shuttle service is available from the airport directly to Waller Hall Welcome Center at Lewis Main. While awaiting transportation, you and your family may relax in the USO lounge.

Main Phone Numbers

Tech. Sgt. Bonnie Longie, 62nd Force Support Squadron. Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force; Photo by: Abner Guzman

AAFES--(253) 964-5955

Adjutant General (I-Corps)--(253) 967-3166

Air Field Base Operations--(253) 967-6628

Army Community Services at JBLM--(253) 967-7166

Army Emergency Relief--(253) 967-9852

Barber Shop--(253) 964-9600

Billeting--(253) 982-3591

Bus Depot (JBLM)--(253) 967-6169

Chapels (Base Chaplain)--(253) 967-3718

Child & Youth Services--(253) 967-3056

DEERS (ID Card Section)--(253) 967-5065

Dental Clinics--(253) 968-4039

Education Services--(253) 967-7174

Evergreen Inn (McChord Lodging)--(253) 982-561

Exchange (McChord BX)--(253) 582-3110

Eye Clinic --(253) 968-2790

Family Advocacy --(253) 968-4159

Family Child Care--(253) 967-7364

Family Housing--(253) 912-2150

Fisher House--(253) 964-9283

Fort Lewis Lodge ( Rainier Inn)--(253) 967-2815, Reservations (253) 964-0211

Health Department --(253) 968-4479

Hospital - Switchboard Info--(253) 968-1110

Housing (On-Base)--(253) 912-2150

Information (JBLM-Base)--(253) 967-1110

Learning Center (Education Center)--(253) 967-3976

Lodging (Rainier Inn)--(877) 711-8326 (reservations)

Madigan Health Care System--(253) 968-1110

McChord Air Force Base--(253) 982-1110

MWR--(253) 966-9807

Outdoor Recreation--(253) 967-828

Recreation Center--(253) 967-2539

Veterinarian Service--(253) 982-3951

Veterans Services(800) 827-1000Victim Advocacy (Safeline)(253) 966-7233

Video Teleconferencing Center

(253) 967-5234

Visitor Center--(253) 967-4794

Youth Services--(253) 967-5924

Population/Major Units Assigned

McChord Airmen complete a 2.5-mile run along the perimeter of the flightline while participating in a recent wing run. Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force; Photo by: Abner Guzman

McChord is home to a wide variety of units and missions. The 62nd Airlift Wing is the active duty host wing on McChord. The 62nd Airlift Wing is joined by its Reserve partner the 446th Airlift Wing. Together, the two wings fly 50 C-17 Globemaster IIIs to provide combat airlift for America. McChord also hosts the Western Air Defense Sector, an Air National Guard unit; the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron; the 361st Recruiting Squadron and a number of other units.

Serving at McChord AFB are 714 Active Duty Officers, 3293 Active Duty Enlisted, 5833 Family Members, 12,000 Retirees AF (45,000 total), 1200 Civilians and 2507 Reserve Component.

Temporary Lodging

Evergreen Inn. Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force

Joint Base Lewis-McChord on-base temporary lodging is managed by a military service contractor, IHG Army Hotels, which has a selection of features and service. Lodging at contractor facilities is not generally required. The front desk is open 24 hours a day to take reservations. IGH reservation phone number: 877-711-TEAM. Most temporary lodging is approved for up to 30 days for military personnel.

Local extended stay lodging is also available near the base, offer a full range of amenities, and offer military specials.


Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force

Joint Base Lewis-McChord on post housing is privatized under the management of Lewis-McChord Corporation. Applicants may be placed on a waiting list until appropriate space becomes available. There are 3800 Army-side units available for the Fort Lewis base population of 46,500 soldiers and airmen, plus 58,000 families. Minimum of 2 bedroom housing for ranks E1-E6, minimum 3 bedrooms for E6+ and company and field grade officers. Call the JBLM Housing office at 253-982-5516/5517.

The Tacoma / Pierce County area is a mix of urban, suburban, and rural areas. Tacoma is the third largest city in Washington State, but with a variety of areas nearby. Off post housing is readily available nearby. You have the option to use your BAH in two ways; by renting on post or renting/purchasing a home of your own off post.

The average price of a home in the Tacoma area is about $234,000. Local rents range from about $750 for a one-bedroom to about $1700 for a four bedroom.

Child Care

Child Development Center. Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force

Upon arriving at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, we encourage you to make registration appointments to help reduce long lines and waiting. Call 253-966-2977 or DSN 347-2977 to make an appointment.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord has an excellent child and youth services program, including accredited centers and certified Family Child Care homes. You can put your child's name on the waiting list by calling 253-966-2977 prior to your arrival at JBLM. Bring shot records to register. Child and Youth and School Services Parent Central office hours are 8:00 am until 4:00 pm, Mon-Fri or by appointment after 4pm.

Child and Youth Services offers a variety of optional child care services to include: On-Sites Child Care for Organizations, Volunteer Child Care in Unit Settings, Parent Education, Resource and Referral for child care services and central registration for all CDS programs.

The Family Child Care program offers homes certified for childcare for children ages 4 weeks - 12 years of age.

The School Age Services program offers Before/After school care for children kindergarten through 5th grade. Transportation from all on-post schools is provided. The CYS SAS Program is located at the North Fort SAS Complex.

Family Child Care (FCC) Providers offer Loving, Nurturing, and Professional Care in a home setting for children four weeks-12 years old.  Providers offer part time care, full-time care, before & after school care & extended hours. For additional information call 253.967.3039


Inside Elementary School Classroom. Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force

Lewis-Joint Base Lewis-McChord students who reside on JBLM are served by the Clover Park School District. There are six elementary schools on JBLM. Children must have reached their fifth birthday by August 31 to enter kindergarten and must be six years old by August 31 to enter first grade. Senior and Middle school students living on post attend school off-post are bused to the following schools depending on where they live on post to Lakes High School, Clover Park High School, Woodbrook, Middle School or Mann Middle School depending on which housing area they live on post. Students who may be looking for an academic challenge (grades 6-12) may want to consider General Harrison Preparatory Academy in the City of Lakewood.

Children coming to JBLM with an Individual Education Plan (IEP) will present a current IEP to the school upon registration of the child into the school system.

Off Base

The children of Joint Base Lewis McChord's servicemembers' live in any one of the 19 additional school districts that surround JBLM. Many of the districts off post have K-5 grade as elementary school, grades 6-8 as a Middle School and grades 9-12 as a High School, but there are some that have K-6th grade as elementary school, grades 7-9th as Junior High and grades 10-12 as High School, so be sure to ask what the configuration is in the district in which you are looking to live.

Each school district is different in grading scales, meals, B/A school programs, sports, and SPED programs, please check with the school itself to discuss the options available for that particular school.

Home Schooling

Families that homeschool their children must file a letter of intent with the school district in which they live. If the student will require any additional training or education in the public school setting like advanced science or math the student must be enrolled in the district. The Clover Park School District and the state of Washington require that all home schools be registered through the local school district.

Private School

There are also several private and parochial schools in the local area if this is what you choose for your children.

Medical Care

McChord AFB Clinic. Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force

Madigan Army Medical Center, (MAMC), located just north of the Main Post, gives priority medical care to active duty members at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.  MAMC also provides care to 76,000 retirees and their family members. The medical center, staffed by nearly 3,000 medical, dental, nursing and administrative personnel, examines and treats nearly 800,000 outpatients each year.

The 120-acre site is the largest military hospital on the west coast. Madigan has an average daily inpatient census of about 124. The 9-year-old medical center has 172 beds for inpatients use and can expand to accommodate 622 patients during medical emergencies. Outpatients are seen in the hospital's medical mall complex.

Madigan's ambulatory patient care service is one of the busiest in the country, with as many as 32 surgeries performed daily, 4,400 laboratory procedures are completed, 3,500 prescriptions are filled, 550 X-rays are made and six babies are delivered.

Madigan also oversees the operation of troop medical clinics and battalion aid stations on Fort Lewis.

The Joint Base Lewis-McChord Dental Activity consists of five on-post dental clinics and all dental specialties are represented at Fort Lewis. Each clinic has assigned units for which it is responsible.