I enjoy sharing my experience in living at various Air Force bases.
Air Force Base Reviews
When you fill out your "dream sheet," you are forced to list 10 stateside bases as well as 10 overseas bases. So it is best to be prepared. Keep in mind that you may not get anything on your list (my wife and I didn't). However, I enjoy the prospect of increasing my odds of being stationed somewhere deemed suitable. I would like to indicate that I will not be listing bases that are considered "deployments." Should you make a base of preference, that will be your assigned duty station for the next two years.
Best Air Force Bases Overseas
Here are some of the best bases you will find overseas.
1. Kadena, Japan
This is a large base that does not have a lot of Westernized shopping. If you can’t fit in smaller sized clothing, you will be forced to order online. The commissary isn’t great and the types of food are limited. The weather is tropical and can become very humid in the summer. Nevertheless, it is great during the winter.
If you want to experience the culture, you will need to learn to drive on the opposite side of the road and cope with the narrow roadways. There is a lot to do on the island and the people are very friendly. It is a great place if your spouse does not want to work. Overall, it seems that everyone enjoyed their time at Kadena, despite some of the drawbacks.
- Good weather in the winter.
- Great cultural surroundings.
- Friendly neighbors.
2. Incirlik, Turkey
You’ll have occasional lockdowns and curfews imposed, but most people seem to enjoy their time spent here. They have a DOD school that serves 9th-12th grade and recently built a new BX. The base is small but accommodating. You are able to get gardeners and maids for a fairly cheap price to come clean and do yard work once a week (about $50 for both).
- A DOD school that serves 9th-12th grade.
- Fascinating cultural surroundings.
- Good staff.
3. Andersen, Guam
The base is small and it only takes about 45 minutes to travel from the north side of the island to the south. There are many small villages that are very friendly. The weather is great as well as the beaches. One review compared it to Hawaii but without the crowds. Travel comes easy as you can reach Japan and Korea in a few short hours.
- Easy to travel around the island.
- Very friendly villages.
- Great weather with beautiful beaches.
Read More From Soapboxie
What Makes a Great Air Force Base?
All air force and military bases are not made the same. Some are devoid of entertainment, are run by unfit staff, have horrible food, or have horrible amenities. While we don't join the military to feel comfortable and pampered, considering how stressful the job is, it's nice to have some fun around.
What to Look for in an Air Force Base
- Great camaraderie.
- An experienced staff.
- A nearby town or city with fun things to do.
- Good weather.
Highly Rated Military Bases Worldwide
Hunter Army Airfield
El Paso, Texas
Bossier City, Louisiana
St. Clair County, Illinois
Fairfax County, Virginia
West Point, NY
Castello d'Aviano PN, Italy
Jefferson County, New York
Worst Air Force Bases Overseas
Here are some of the worst overseas bases.
1. Aviano, Italy
For the most part, you will have to live off base and may feel that Italian houses are not up to par with Western style housing. One review did happen to indicate that there is government housing, but there is usually a one to two-year wait. The base often runs out of supplies at the PX and has been considered not family friendly. Traveling can be a pain due to traffic, the on-base facilities are spread out and can be cumbersome to travel around. Typically, nothing is open in the city from noon to three. One review went as far as to refer to it as “the gates of hell,” but did not indicate much more than that. They simply said, "Do not come here!" The majority of the reviews do indicate their dislike for this assignment. There was one positive review that indicates that, for the right price, you can find a nice place to live. They also said that traveling was easy.
- You will have to live off base.
- The base often runs out of supplies.
- Traveling can be a pain due to traffic.
2. Volkel, Netherlands
It isn’t technically an AFB, so they don’t have the “normal” base facilities that you would typically see. You are forced to travel to an Army base an hour and a half away to go to the commissary or shop. You have to shop using the Euro. Savings may be hard to come by, as local shopping and driving are both very expensive. If you have children, they will have to drive roughly an hour to the nearest international school.
- Not easy to travel.
- Schools are far away.
- Not a lot of nearby entertainment.
3. Ramstein, Germany
What I am seeing from the majority of reviews indicates that Ramstein is very unsanitary. Offbase housing is nice, but expensive. The Americans there are rude and are begging to leave. One review stated that the school system is out of date (but I am unsure as to what that means).
- Expensive housing.
- Unfriendly neighbors.
Why Are Some Air Force Bases Awful?
Regardless of how tough our soldiers are, no one should feel completely discounted at their military base. There are, of course, many things we cannot control for when joining the military, but some bases are just worse than others.
Some reasons why some bases are terrible include:
- Horrible weather
- Old and broken down facilities
- An unfit staff
- Lack of comradery
More Terribly Rated Military Bases
Fort Bragg, Pope Airfield
Fayetteville, North Carolina
Naval Air Station Lemoore
Jacksonville, North Carolina
Fort Drum, New York
Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms
Twentynine Palms, California
Fort Irwin National Training Center
Fort Irwin, California
Cannon Air Force Base
Clovis, New Mexico
Minot Air Force Base
Minot, North Dakota
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.