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Altus Air Force Base Guide

Altus Air Force Base is located approximately 5 miles from the city of Altus, in Oklahoma’s southwestern portion. Altus AFB hosts is the 97th Air Mobility Wing and is the site of the Air Force Combat Mobility and Expeditionary Training Center of Excellence.

Learn about the Altus AFB, Oklahoma experience, including base history, the surrounding area, and how to check in and inprocess the base if you’re PCSing there.

Altus Air Force Base History

Altus Air Force Base history begins in 1942 with the groundbreaking of Altus Army Air Field (AAF). The installation became operational in 1943 and served as a training base for U.S. pilots assigned to Europe during World War Two.

The site was deactivated 2 years later and stayed dormant until the Air Force took the site over in 1953 and redesignated the site as Altus Air Force base.

The Altus timeline as an Air Force installation begins under the auspices of Tactical Air Command, later changing hands and becoming a support base for Strategic Air Command takers, bombers, and ICBMs.

This ran until 1968 when the base was realigned under Military Airlift Command. The result of that change brought C5 and C141 cargo jets to Altus,

The 443rd Military Airlift Wing trained these crews until 1992. That was the year the 443rd was replaced by the 97th Air Mobility Wing. The C-5 mission would eventually transition to the Air Force Reserve.

Altus wasn’t done with the changes; 1993 saw the base realigned under Air Education And Training Command base.

This move brought the KC-135 Combat Crew Training School to Altus AFB. Today the Strategic Airlift and Air Refueling Training School at Altus is the training environment for U.S. aircraft such as the KC-46 Pegasus, C-17 Globemaster III, and KC-135 Stratotanker.

Surrounding Area

Altus AFB is generally located in a military community, but the distances between bases can be longer than expected. Altus is 230 miles from Oklahoma City. Vance AFB is 65 miles north of Oklahoma City.

In the City of Altus, the Heritage Park Theatre is billed as the “only one in town”, but gets good reviews from travel sites. There is also a local attraction called the Museum of the Western Prairie, and Quartz Mountain Nature Park is some 20 miles away from town, featuring swimming, hiking, and camping.

At press time, Altus’s population was just under 20 thousand.

Mission and Units

As mentioned earlier, the primary mission at Altus Air Force Base is supporting the Strategic Airlift and Air Refueling Training School.

Altus AFB also supports approximately 500 “mobility positions” available “for immediate worldwide deployment,” and the base is designated as a “wartime port” for troops deploying from Fort Sill in Oklahoma. Important missions and units at Altus AFB have included:

  • 54 Air Refueling Squadron
  • 58 Airlift Squadron
  • 730 Air Mobility Training Squadron (Reserves)
  • 97 Air Mobility Wing
  • 97 Aircraft Division
  • 97 Civil Engineering Squadron
  • 97 Communications Squadron
  • 97 Contracting Squadron
  • 97 Force Support Squadron
  • 97 Logistics Readiness Squadron
  • 97 Maintenance Directorate
  • 97 Maintenance Directorate
  • 97 Maintenance Division
  • 97 Maintenance Operations Division
  • 97 Medical Group
  • 97 Medical Operations Squadron
  • 97 Medical Support Squadron
  • 97 Mission Support Group
  • 97 Operations Group
  • 97 Operations Support Squadron
  • 97 Security Forces Squadron
  • 97 Training Squadron

In-Processing and Check-In

All PCSing troops are directed to contact their gaining unit for specific check-in procedures during normal duty hours. If your arrival is after duty hours, report to the 24-hour reporting site in Altus AFB Billeting.

If you are single or unaccompanied, ask your sponsor (before PCS travel begins) whether there is TLF-style lodging or if a room in the barracks is required. All troops PCSing to Altus are required to attend mandatory newcomer briefings; family members are encouraged to attend.

If you are coming to Altus AFB on TDY orders as a student, your gaining training unit should have instructions for you before your arrival.

Child Care

The Child Development Center provides Altus AFB child care. This facility features a “gross motor room” plus age-appropriate play areas for infants, one-year-olds, two-year-olds, and toddlers.

The Altus AFB Child Development Center (CDC) is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and certified by the Department of Defense. Priority placement is offered to DoD civilians and active-duty families.

Reservations are required for hourly care, and is offered on a space available basis. Altus CDCs may have waiting lists due to demand. Contact the Altus AFB CDC at 580-481-7502 for more information.

Altus Air Force Base Housing

Housing at Altus is privatized. Contact Balfour Beatty Properties to learn about waiting lists, local housing options, and utilities.

If you are PCSing to the base, check-in at the Air Force Housing website to learn more about housing at Altus AFB.

Single and unaccompanied service members (E1s through E4s) may be placed on a waiting list for on-base dorms. The waiting list is ordered based on rank and date of sign-up. Entry on the list is not automatic; you must sign up when you get PCS orders to the base.

Related: Basic Allowance for Housing Calculator

PCS and TDY Lodging

The DoD provides confusing advice about temporary lodging facilities. From the DoD:

“Upon your arrival to Altus Air Force Base, contact the 24-hour arrival point in Building 82, Red River Inn.” Please do NOT take this advice. Instead, take the advice from the very next line of the same DoD official site for Altus Air Force Base:

“It is suggested that you make reservations at least four weeks in advance by calling 580-481-7356 or DSN 312-866-7356. You are authorized 10 days of Temporary Living Expense reimbursement from military pay.” Contact the number above for more information as soon as you have PCS orders to learn more about reservations, the availability of pet-friendly facilities, and other options.


The long distances between the airport, Altus AFB, and other bases in the state make it more necessary for military members PCSing to the base to coordinate with their sponsor. Depending on which airport you arrive at when entering the local area, you may need to arrange a pickup.

More driving is required here than in some states. The closest airports to Altus are Lawton Airport, just over 50 miles away, and Will Rogers Airport, which is over 110 miles away.

Vehicle Registration And Driver’s License

All motor vehicles entering and exiting Altus AFB must include all required safety equipment, proof of insurance, and current registration.

Register your vehicle at Pass & ID or contact your sponsor in advance to learn what current base regulations and threat condition levels may require. Contact them at 580-481-6320 to learn what your rights and responsibilities are.

Be advised that the State of Oklahoma has strict DUI laws; a convicted drunk driver with a blood/alcohol concentration of fifteen(0.15) or more must take a minimum 28-day inpatient treatment program.


The Altus Air Force Base installation is within the Altus School District, but other school districts are available within a half hour of the base.

Contact the Altus School Liaison Officer to discuss specific needs for transfer, school choices, etc. at (580) 481-6761. You can learn more about local school entrance requirements, before and after school programs, and private education.

Altus AFB Colleges and Universities

The Billman Education Center at Altus AFB offers career development upgrade training, standardized tests such as CLEP and DANTES and offers counseling to help you navigate your options.

You can get help with undergraduate and graduate-level programs; call the Education Center at (580) 481-6619. Local institutes of higher learning include Western Oklahoma State College and the Southwest Technology Center.

Related: Ultimate GI Bill Guide

Altus Air Force Base Contacts

Altus Air Force Base
510 N 6th St, Altus, OK 73523
Altus AFB, OK 73523-5000

Important Altus Air Force Base Phone Numbers

  • Base Operator (580) 482-8100
  • Emergency 911
  • Balfour Beatty Communities Management Office (580) 379-4002
  • Family Advocacy Program (580) 481-5376
  • Hospital/Medical Treatment Facility (580) 481-5235
  • Finance Office (580) 481-6944
  • Legal Services/JAG (580) 481-7294
  • Victim Advocate Services (580) 481-5376
  • Altus Outpatient Clinic (580) 482-9020
  • Hospital/Medical Treatment Facility (580) 481-5235
  • Temporary Lodging/Billeting (580) 482-7356
  • ID/CAC Card Processing (580) 481-6770
  • Personnel Support Office (580) 481-6781
  • Child Development Center (580) 481-7502
  • School Age Care (580) 481-7903
  • School Liaison Officer (580) 481-6761
  • Household Goods/Transportation Office (inbound) (580) 481-6829
  • Relocation Assistance Program (580) 481-6761
  • Transition Assistance Program (580) 481-6761
  • Travel Office (580) 481-6466





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Kena Sosa is an award-winning author, filmmaker and percussionist. She
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