Vandenberg Air Force Base, California


Santa Maria (Main) Gate. Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force

Vandenberg Air Force Base in located in Santa Barbara County, California. Vandenberg's location on the northern Pacific Ocean makes it possible to easily launch satellites into polar orbit, unlike the Kennedy Space Center. This, along with its location relative to the jet stream, makes Vandenberg a good site to launch reconnaissance satellites. Vandenberg is also used for the launch of non-military satellites into polar orbits. More than 1,700 launches have been conducted from VAFB since its first launch on 16 Dec 1958.

Vandenberg AFB is named in honor of the late Gen Hoyt S. Vandenberg, second Chief of Staff of the USAF. Previously named Camp Cooke and then Cooke AFB, the base received its present name on 4 Oct 1958. Vandenberg AFB encompasses over 98,000 acres, with 35 miles of pristine coastline stretching along the Pacific Ocean. The land area is considered to be Savannah terrain, with rolling hills, large oak trees and eucalyptus trees. Outside the Vandenberg AFB area it is very common to see fields of vegetables, berries, vineyards, and flowers. There are also many horse and cattle ranches.

Official website of Vandenberg AFB

Location/Driving Directions

Vandenberg AFB is located on the central coast of California, 10 miles NW of Lompoc and 17 miles SW of Santa Maria.

If driving to the Installation from Santa Maria Airport, upon exiting the airport, turn right onto Skyway Dr. Take Skyway Dr to Hwy 135, also called South Broadway, and turn right. Take Hwy 135 until it merges into Hwy 1 and follow the signs to Vandenberg AFB.

If driving to the Installation from Santa Barbara Airport, upon exiting the airport head east onto Fowler Rd, and follow the signs to Hwy 101 Northbound. Turn onto Hwy 246 West towards Lompoc (about 17 miles). Just before reaching Lompoc, take the right turn onto Purisima Road (sign says Purisima Road and Vandenberg Village). Purisima Road will merge with Hwy 1 (just north of town). Follow Hwy 1 North past Vandenberg Village for about 5 miles to the VAFB Santa Maria Gate--main gate. Don't take any other turn-offs, Hwy 1 will take you to the gate.

Driving directions if arriving from the North: Travel 101 South to the Clark St exit;(ignore the exit onto Betteravia) proceed West to Hwy 135 which merges onto Hwy 1 southbound and follow the signs to Vandenberg AFB.

Driving directions if arriving from the South:Take Hwy 101 North to Buellton. Turn onto Hwy 246 West towards Lompoc (about 17 miles). Just before reaching Lompoc, take the right turn onto Purisima Road (sign says Purisima Road and Vandenberg Village). Purisima Road will merge with Hwy 1 (just north of town). Follow Hwy 1 North past Vandenberg Village for about 5 miles to the VAFB Santa Maria Gate--main gate. Don't take any other turn-offs, Hwy 1 will take you to the gate.

An alternate route for arriving from the South would be to travel Hwy 101 until you get to Hwy 1 north turn off (right after the tunnel). Follow Hwy 1 for approximately 21 miles to Lompoc (this is a winding 2 and 4 lane road). Follow Hwy 1 road signs through Lompoc (H Street) to Vandenberg AFB.

Main Phone Numbers

Photo coutesy U.S. Air Force; photo by:Senior Airman Christian Thomas

Base Operator DSN 276-1110 (805) 606-1110

Child Development Center 805 606-1555 DSN: 276-1555

Dental Clinic Phone: 805 606-1846

Education Office 805 605-5900

Family Child Care Program (805) 606-3237 DSN 276-3237

Family Services 805 606-5484 DSN 276-5484/4225

Health and Wellness Center (HAWC) 805 606-2221 DSN 276-2221

Housing Office 805-606-3434 DSN: 276-3434

Lodging (Bldg 13005) 805 734-1111 DSN: 276-1844

School Age Program 805 606-2152

TRICARE Service Center 1-800-242-6788

Unaccompanied Family Style Housing 805 606-2590

Vandenberg Lodge (Billeting) 805 734-1111 DSN 276-1844

Youth Center 805 606-4357 DSN 276-4357

Population/Major Units Assigned

Members of Team V take part in the Vandenberg Warrior Challenge Mud Run designed to test the physical and mental toughness needed to build warrior ethos. Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force; photo by: Airman 1st Class Kerelin Molina

Vandenberg supports a population greater than 18,000 (military, family members, contractors, and civilian employees).

Vandenberg is home to the 14th Air Force, 30th Space Wing, 381st Training Group, the Western Launch and Test Range (WLTR), and elements of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.

Temporary Lodging

Vandenberg Lodge. Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force

The Vandenberg Lodge Reception Desk, Bldg. 13005, has been designated the base's 24-hour arrival point. To reach the Lodge from the main gate, proceed on California Boulevard to the first fork in the road and bear right onto Oregon Avenue. Go through the stop sign and the Lodge is clearly identified on the left approximately one-half block away.

After checking in at the Lodge you should contact your sponsor and report to your orderly room. Further inprocessing procedures will be explained at the orderly room.

The Vandenberg Lodging office, Bldg. 13005 on Oregon Avenue, is open 24 hours a day. Reservation requests for families in permanent change of station status are made on a first come, first served basis. The staff confirms reservations if space is available. Make reservation requests early. Incoming and outgoing families are entitled up to 30 days of lodging if space is available. The Lodging number is 805-606-1844, or DSN 276-1844.


New housing at Vandenberg AFB. Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force

Vandenberg has a total of 1,925 family housing units. There are 1,652 single units and 273 duplexes, multiplexes and quadraplexes.

The Housing office is located in Building 13001.

Balfour Beatty Communities Military Housing is the private sector developer for the Vandenberg Air Force Military Housing Privatization Project. The 50-year term of the project commenced on Nov 1, 2007 with a six-year initial development period that includes the design, construction and/or renovation as well as the overall management, maintenance and operational responsibilities for an estimated 867 end-state housing units with project costs of approximately $163 million. For additional information on housing at Vandenberg, call (805) 734-1445.

Child Care

Vandenberg Child Care Center. Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force

Vandenberg AFB provides comprehensive Child Care programs including the Child Development Center, Family Day Care Program, School Age Program, and Youth Center. Air Force members on a PCS move are authorized priority hourly care at the Child Development Center or in a family day care home, 7 days before their departure and 7 days after their arrival on a 24-hour reservation basis. The Vandenberg AFB Child Development Center (CDC) is dedicated to providing quality childcare for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years. The CDC is accredited by and a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). The Child Development Center offers weekly, full time and part time day pre-school, hourly and special needs care. They do not offer part-day school age programs. The care types include infant, pre-toddler, toddler and pre-school.

The Children's Resource & Referral Program offers free referrals to child care centers, family child care providers, before & after school programs, recreation programs, subsidized child care, and other programs or agencies offering services to families and children. They cover Lompoc, Santa Maria and Santa Barbara.


Jared Coen, a first-grade student at Crestview Elementary School, takes the lead as his classmates count along with him the numbers ranging one to 100. Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force; photo by: Airman 1st Class Steve Bauer

Children residing on Vandenberg AFB may attend schools in the Lompoc Unified School District (LUSD) . There is one elementary school on main base. A middle school and one elementary school are located in the East Housing area across from the Main gate. The nearest high school for base students is located in Vandenberg Village, 5 miles from VAFB. There is bus service for the middle and high school students. These schools are on the traditional schedule.

The city of Lompoc is served by an additional two high schools, two middle schools and nine elementary schools. Two of these elementary schools in Lompoc follow the year-round schedule.

Lompoc Unified School District also serves those choosing Independent Home Study for their children grades K-12. Through the Mission Valley School, the district provides student textbooks and materials as well as teacher guides. Call 805-742-3252 for more information.

Parents/guardians should register their kindergarten students at the school in their attendance area. If parents/guardians have questions regarding their particular attendance area, they should call the Lompoc School District Central Attendance at 805-742-3244, or the nearest elementary school. Parents/guardians registering students must bring their child's official birth certificate for age verification, official immunization records, and verification of address (such as a rent receipt or utility bill with the parents' name). The child should accompany the parent/guardian the day of registration. School nurses and other school staff will confer with each child's parent/guardian, check immunization records and will discuss any concerns for the child's well being while in school.

California law requires that all school children must be up-to-date on the following immunizations:

MMR (measles, mumps, rubella)
DTP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis)
Hepatitis B Series (3 doses)
An official immunization record is required prior to registration and enrollment of the kindergarten child.

New legislation for a Kindergarten Oral Health Check began January 1, 2007. This requires that children have a dental check-up by May 31 of their first year in public school, at kindergarten or first grade. Dental evaluations that have happened within the 12 months prior to school entry also meet this requirement.

In addition to public schools, the Lompoc Valley offers private schools and a network for homeschooling children. A variety of private schools include grades K-12 and are mainly located in the towns of Santa Maria and Lompoc. Not every school is able to provide transportation for their students.

Medical Care

Vandenberg Medical Clinic. Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force

The 30th Medical Group, located in Building 13850, provides a comprehensive community health care system, a worldwide medical mission and professional development for its staff to serve a patient population of approximately 18,000 at Vandenberg AFB.

The local TRICARE/CHAMPUS contractor has developed a referral network of local civilian health care providers who supplement the Vandenberg staff. You must be enrolled in DEERS (Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System) in order to receive medical care at military hospitals or to have claims for civilian health care processed by TRICARE.

By law, TRICARE Prime enrollees have a higher priority for appointments in military health care facilities than those who choose not to enroll. The order for access to health care services in military treatment facilities is:

Active duty service members
Family members of active duty service members enrolled in TRICARE Prime
Retirees, their family members and survivors enrolled in TRICARE Prime
Family members of active duty service members not enrolled in TRICARE Prime
All other beneficiaries
Contact the TRICARE Service Center (TSC) immediately upon arrival to transfer your family enrollment. Enrollment in your new location is effective when the TSC receives a completed enrollment application. Access to civilian pharmacy services may take up to two weeks after you file for transfer.

All active duty service members must complete an enrollment form in order to transfer their TRICARE Prime to this region and receive their TRICARE Prime card.