WELCOME TO GRAND FORKS AFB
Welcome to Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota; a base in transition from air refueling tankers to remotely piloted aircraft which has given the United States a game-changing capability to perform intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions throughout the world.
In compliance with a 2005 Base Realignment and Closure directive, we successfully ended one half century of air refueling operations when the last KC-135 departed Grand Forks on December 4, 2010. During their 50 year history at Grand Forks AFB, tanker operations covered a spectrum of operations from supporting nuclear alert missions during the cold war, to combat support operations during Vietnam, Panama, Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Members of our six major tanker units, who had served our country so admirably both here and abroad, moved on to other military installations. But many members of our 319th Air Refueling Wing staff, the 319th Mission Support Group, and 319th Medical Group remained behind to prepare the base for new missions which are destined to play a critical role in our country's remotely piloted aircraft mission capabilities.
The transition began when a new National Air Security Operations Center was established by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency at Grand Forks AFB in 2009 to provide aerial surveillance by unmanned MQ-9 Predator aircraft over the U.S. and Canadian border for Homeland Security.
An active duty unit was then established in 2010 at Grand Forks to ready the base for an RQ-4B Global Hawk mission that will provide long-range intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and airborne communications link support for missions around the globe. The first Global Hawk aircraft are scheduled to begin arriving in the summer of 2011. Just as important, we want to welcome those new members of the Grand Forks team--military members and their families, DoD civilians, Reservists and Guardsmen--who are arriving in support of our new missions.
As a relatively small Air Force Base, we take pride in providing personalized service to new members. As soon as you receive orders to Grand Forks AFB, we encourage you to contact our staff agencies who can assist with your move.
Before you ever leave home, our Housing Office will work with you on finding the perfect home. Our School Liaison Officer will let you know about local schools and registration requirements. Our Child Development Center will help you enroll your children in day care programs. And our Base Locator can get you a temporary mail box address until you have a permanent residence established.
Once you arrive, the Airman and Family Readiness Center offers a number of services for newcomers: It has a Loan Locker program which can help you until your shipped furniture arrives; it can pay for up to 20 days of free day care service while you house hunt; and it provides a newcomer's orientation with a wealth of information about base and community services available to families who live and work at Grand Forks AFB.
A list of many more services is included in this guide. As the only Air Mobility Command base with remotely piloted aircraft, we welcome you to the Grand Forks AFB team. As we turn a page of history from KC-135 tankers to unmanned aircraft, you can help us continue to play a critical role in our Nation's defense.