Joint Base Lewis-McChord has a subinstallation at Yakima Training Center in eastern Washington. The joint base is 647 square miles with 142 square miles for the main base in western Washington and 505 square miles for the Yakima Training Center. The population of the joint base in FY 2013 is 112,900: 36,500 active duty, 6,700 Reserve and National Guard, 54,600 Family members, and 15,100 civilian and contract employees.
Although the Army and Air Force missions have changed over the years, one thing has not changed — the natural setting of the base. On a clear day, Mount Rainier looms on the horizon, towering over the other peaks of the Cascade Range. From the mountains to the deep waters of Puget Sound and the Pacific Ocean, the local area abounds in natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities. Camping, hunting, fishing, hiking, boating and snow sports are a way of life in Washington.
Tacoma, Olympia and Seattle offer entertainment, restaurants, shopping and cultural events that celebrate Northwest life.
Whether you come to Joint Base Lewis-McChord for a day’s visit, TDY or a permanent move, you will soon see why the base is a popular assignment and many people choose to live their retirement here.
If you arrive by commercial airline, information and assistance are available at the USO in the Seattle-Tacoma (Sea-Tac) International Airport. Commercial transportation is available from the airport directly to Joint Base Lewis-McChord. While awaiting transportation, you and your family may relax in the USO lounge on the second floor.
If you arrive by train, Lakewood is the stop nearest to base. Taxi and bus services are available from the station to Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Those traveling by bus can make connections directly to the base.
If you are driving, you should have no trouble finding Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Interstate 5 goes right by the base.
Exit 120 will take you to Liberty Gate, which is open 24 hours a day.
Air Force Personnel
Exit 125 will take you to McChord Field Main Gate, which is open 24 hours a day.
All active-duty service members are required to in-process through the customer service office located within the Military Personnel Section upon arrival. At that time, your relocation package will be opened and the customer service office will collect your unit personnel records group (if e-records not established yet) as well as a current SGLI form. You will receive back all other records, such as medical, dental and onthe- job training records. After you receive your medical and dental records, you will take them to the medical and dental clinic at your earliest convenience. You will also be scheduled for the Base Newcomers’ Orientation Program at this time.
All officers and enlisted Soldiers must report to the Waller Hall Welcome and Farewell Center, Building 2140, on arrival regardless of unit assignment. If you are not able to report on the required date, call Travelers Assistance at (800) 582-5552 or the Welcome Center at (253) 967-7004 or DSN 357-7004.
You can expect to be with the detachment five days. Once you sign in, you will receive a billeting assignment, bedding and a temporary meal card if you are not on separate rations. If your family arrives with you, the Welcome Center will help make them comfortable during your in-processing. To avoid difficulty with obtaining temporary lodging for your family, make reservations at the Rainier Inn, (253) 964-0211.
You should have all your records with you: personnel (PCS orders, leave forms, etc.), finance, medical and dental. You must be in uniform to in-process. The duty uniform for in-processing is ACU.
Air Force Personnel
If you are a first-term Airman and this is your first assignment, you will be required to attend the First Term Airmen’s Center (FTAC). All briefings held at the Newcomers’ Orientation will be in greater detail during FTAC. However, before FTAC, it is imperative you report to the Military Personnel Section to turn in your relocation package. The 24-hour arrival point is the Evergreen Inn and offers temporary housing at (253) 982-5613 or DSN 382-5613.
In case of emergency during your trip to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, contact your sponsor, unit first sergeant or commander. To reach your unit, call the Joint Base Lewis- McChord automated directory assistance at (253) 982-1110 or DSN 382-1110.
At the base newcomers’ orientation, you will attend briefings provided by different base agencies on Joint Base Lewis-McChord and you will speak with a TRICARE representative.
The Newcomers’ Orientation is held once a month (twice during the summer months) at the McChord Club and Community Center. It is a mandatory appointment, and military members may attend in civilian attire. Spouses are highly encouraged to attend.
If newcomers need free child care, for Air Force, contact the Airman and Family Readiness Center at (253) 982-2695 and for Army, contact Army Community Service (ACS) at 967-7166 to request free child care.