Now that you have orders to NAS Whidbey Island, you will be joining more than 7,200 military men and women, along with 2,400 federal and contract civilians.
NAS Whidbey is actually composed of two bases 5 miles apart: the original Seaplane Base, on the eastern shore of Whidbey Island and Ault Field, on the island’s western shore, looking out at the magnificent Olympic Mountains and the San Juan Islands.
Whidbey Island is about 35 miles long and is ranked as the fourth-longest and fourth-largest island in the contiguous United States. Here you will find abundant recreation possibilities, from boating, hiking and biking to hunting and fishing.
USO SeaTac Center
The SeaTac Center serves military and their families at SeaTac International Airport with a nursery, sleeping facilities, showers, free snack bar, comprehensive travel information and assistance and a lounge area that includes a big-screen TV, Xbox games, Internet access and a library. It’s on the airport mezzanine level and open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For more information call 206-246-1908 or visit www.usopsa.org.
How to Get Here
From SeaTac International Airport
The Whidbey-SeaTac Shuttle provides transportation from SeaTac International Airport to all communities on Whidbey Island. Stops are conveniently located near State Route 20 and State Route 525 at various mini-marts and service stations. The trip takes two hours and 15 minutes to downtown Oak Harbor and is even faster to Coupeville, Greenbank, Freeland, Bayview, Langley and Clinton.
Whidbey SeaTac Shuttle travels on the Clinton/Mukilteo Ferry and has “first-on/first-off” priority boarding just like vanpools and carpools to ensure on-time arrivals at SeaTac Airport.
For schedule and advance reservation, call 360-679-4003 or toll free 877-679-4003 or visit www.seatacshuttle.com.
By highway from the south, drive north on Interstate 5 to the Whidbey Island/Mukilteo Ferry Exit 182. Proceed north on State Route 525 to Mukilteo and board a Washington State Ferry bound for Clinton.
From the Olympic Peninsula, take State Route 101 to State Route 20. Drive east to Port Townsend and ride the Washington State Ferry to Coupeville Terminal.
From the east and north, follow Interstate 5 to Exit 230 in Burlington and continue west on State Route 20 onto the island across Deception Pass Bridge.
From Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula, take a 30-minute ferry ride to Coupeville Terminal, 4 miles southwest of Coupeville. From Mukilteo, north of Seattle, a 20-minute ferry ride takes you to Clinton, Whidbey’s southernmost community.
The air station is about 20 minutes from the ferry landing. Reservations are recommended and can be made at www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries.
Island Transit provides bus service throughout Island County for a nominal fee. For bus route information, visit www.islandtransit.org or call 360-678-7771.
On Ault Field
The 24-hour Langley Boulevard Gate is open seven days a week. No commercial or oversized vehicles are authorized through this gate.
The Charles Porter Avenue Gate is open from 6 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday for inbound and outbound traffic, and from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. for outbound traffic only. The gate is closed on weekends and holidays. All commercial vehicles for Ault Field go through this gate Monday through Friday. Operators of 15-pack vans, recreational vehicles and other full-size government vehicles should use commercial entrances and exits to minimize potential damage from serpentine barriers. After-hours access is provided for oversized vehicles.
Hammer Gate is open from 6 to 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, but is closed on weekends and holidays.
Saratoga Gate (by the Naval Hospital) is open from 6 to 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday for outbound traffic only. The gate is closed on weekends and holidays.
On Seaplane Base
Maui Avenue Gate is open from 6 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Torpedo Road Gate is open 24 hours a day. All commercial traffic, such as delivery vehicles, must use Torpedo Gate.
Passes for Visitors
Visits by the general public are not permitted, but friends and relatives of personnel stationed at NAS Whidbey Island, as well as business representatives, may come aboard when escorted by a sponsor.
The Pass & ID Office, at Langley Gate on Ault Field, issues passes from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday except on holidays.
To obtain a visitor’s pass, the driver must present a valid driver’s license, proof of insurance, vehicle registration and a military ID. Without this ID, visitors will need a properly badged escort. All visitors are subject to an NCIC criminal history check. Contact Pass & ID Office at 360-257-5620.
All personnel, both military and civilian, are required to register their vehicles with the Pass & ID Office.
- ID card (military, civilian employee or family member) or certifying letter from a naval contracting agent for contract personnel
- Valid driver’s license
- Valid vehicle registration
- Current proof of insurance
Satisfactory completion of Personal Responsibility and Value Education and Training (PREVENT) is mandatory for all active duty E-6 and below and all those younger than age 26 within six months of registering the vehicle to be driven on base.
Personnel with motorcycles, see Page 42, Safety & Health Office section.
Washington state traffic laws are strictly enforced on all portions of the air station. Speed limits are enforced by radar.
To combat drunken driving, base driving privileges are suspended for a minimum of one year for any alcohol or drug-related incident. Driving suspensions from other Department of Defense (DOD) installations are continued at NAS Whidbey Island until completion.
Security, located in Building 994, is composed of several branches and divisions. Its functions are those normally associated with any police department. To report an emergency, call 911; nonemergency calls should be directed to 360-257-3893.
No one may carry a concealed weapon or dangerous device or any highly explosive article or compound on board the base.
Any kind of firearm, explosive device, compressed air or gas-powered gun, metallic or chain knuckles, blackjack, billy club and all knives with blades over 4 inches long and all double-edged, spring-loaded or switchblade knives, regardless of blade length, or any handmade device that might be used for assault is considered a dangerous weapon.
If you wish to keep a firearm in housing, you must first register it with Security Police, Building 994. Firearms are not authorized aboard Ault Field. Those who own weapons and who live in Bachelor Quarters must register their weapons with Security Police and store them at the Armory, Building 34, on the Seaplane Base.
As of June 1, 2009, Americans crossing into Canada must have a passport or passport card. NAS Whidbey Island military and DOD civilians as well as family members will need it when crossing the border in Blaine, Washington. This policy also applies to those visiting Mexico. More information is available at www.travel.state.gov.
What's the Weather Like?
The Pacific Northwest is known for its warm, dry summers and cool, stormy winters.
Winter weather on Whidbey Island is dominated by the Olympic Mountains a mere 30 miles to the southwest, across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The Olympics “intercept” incoming Pacific storms, generate tremendous lift and torrential rain on their windward side, and create a huge downdraft to their lee, over Whidbey Island. This lee trough is often seen as a small, swirling area of slightly lower pressure that simultaneously inhibits rainfall (NAS Whidbey Island receives less than half the annual rainfall of Seattle) and produces consistent near-gale-force winds out of the southeast.
Thus, the same storm system that produces light winds and steady rain over much of the Puget Sound region typically yields only a light, windblown drizzle at NAS Whidbey Island.
Of course it does rain, and there are plenty of storms that come from due west or south that are not affected by the Olympic Mountains. In fact, NAS Whidbey Island is a favorite rendezvous for cold British Columbian air and warm Pacific moisture, resulting in occasionally heavy snowfalls. The warm air always wins, however, ensuring the snow is never around for long. Expect winter temperatures predominantly in the 40s, though brief cold snaps in the 15 to 25 degree range are not uncommon.
With weeks on end of dry, sunny weather, cool west winds and as much as 17 hours of daylight, Whidbey Island summers are worth the wait, even if you have to wait till mid-July. Fog is common in the morning hours but almost always gives way to bright sun by the afternoon and temperatures in the low 70s.
Summer is the favorite time of year to explore the mountains, waterways, forests and beaches of the amazing Pacific Northwest.