Beale Air Force Base Guide
Beale Air Force Base is an Air Force installation roughly 10 miles from Marysville, California. Beale’s host unit is the 9th Reconnaissance Wing, and this base is said to operate the only working fleet of U2 spyplanes. Beale is in Yuba County, bordered by Butte County and Sutter County.
The mission at Beale is, according to the DoD, “to deliver superior reconnaissance capability and combat power in support of national objectives” through partnerships with Space Force and the California National Guard.
Beale Air Force Base History
What we know today as Beale Air Force Base started as Camp Beale opened in October 1942, as an Army training site for infantry and armored divisions.
Post-war, Camp Beale was transferred to the newly-founded United States Air Force, and Air Force bomber and navigator training operations began in earnest. In 1951 the Beale Bombing and Gunnery Range became an important aspect of the training operations there.
1948, the camp transferred from the Army to the Air Force. The Air Force conducted bombardier and navigator training at Beale and, in 1951, reactivated the Beale Bombing and Gunnery Range for aviation engineer training.
The base has operated under the jurisdiction of multiple major commands, including Air Training Command, Continental Air Command, Aviation Engineer Force, Strategic Air Command, and Air Combat Command.
The 1960s saw Beal become the home of the supersonic SR-71 spy plane with another aircraft called the U2 Dragonlady arriving to supplement the mission in the mid-1970s.
The SR-71 was retired in the 1990s, but the U2 and an unmanned drone program called Global Hawk continued the aerial surveillance mission there. Today, the U2 still flies missions and gets support from Beale AFB in addition to missions by T38 Talons and KC-135 tankers
Beale AFB has many thriving communities nearby. Sacramento and San Francisco are just two examples. Just under three hours away, you’ll find California wine country in Sonoma County, the home of the Armstrong Redwoods.
If you work at Beale Air Force Base you’re within two hours of the Sierras, the San Francisco Bay Area, Napa Valley. Yosemite and Monterrey Bay are about three and a half hours away. This area is a high-cost-of-living region, so if you are PCSing here, expect higher prices for food, real estate, utilities, and other services.
Mission and Units
The Beale AFB mission is all about intel, surveillance, and reconnaissance. It’s also about delivering “combat power in support of national objectives” through a “total force partnership” between active duty military, Reservists, and National Guard units.
Beale AFB is home to “the nation’s only fleet of Dragonlady U-2 aircraft, and employs more than 3300 active duty members. The base supports 5000 family members, over 1000 civilians, 3000 contractors, plus a regular contingent of Guard and Reserve members.
Major units and missions at Beale AFB have included, but are not limited to:
- 12th Reconnaissance Squadron
- 13th Intelligence Squadron
- 1st Reconnaissance Squadron
- 306th Intelligence Squadron
- 427th Reconnaissance Squadron
- 489th Reconnaissance Squadron
- 48th Intelligence Squadron
- 548th Intelligence Group
- 548th Operations Support Squadron
- 7th Space Warning Squadron
- 940 Wing
- 99th Reconnaissance Squadron
- 9th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
- 9th Civil Engineering Squadron
- 9th Communications Squadron
- 9th Force Support Squadron
- 9th Intelligence Squadron
- 9th Logistics Readiness Squadron
- 9th Maintenance Group
- 9th Maintenance Operations Squadron
- 9th Maintenance Squadron
- 9th Medical Group
- 9th Mission Support Group
- 9th Munitions Squadron
- 9th Physiological Support Squadron
- 9th Reconnaissance Wing
- 9th Security Forces Squadron
In-Processing and Check-In
All new arrivals must report to their gaining unit Commander Support Staff to get an appointment for inprocessing. If you arrive at Beale Air Force Base after normal duty hours, check-in at the Beale AFB lodging office, the Gold Country Inn. For your initial in-processing appointment, you should hand-carry the following:
- In-processing Data Worksheet
- Travel orders and amendments
- Basic military training graduation/ tech school certificates where applicable
- Travel receipts
- Military medical records (where applicable)
- Education records
Beale AFB has one Child Development Center, offering full day care and hourly care. According to the DoD, “Active Duty and DoD civilian employed parents are given a higher priority for enrollment for full-day and part-day care. Local commanders may give single parents and dual military higher priority than other families.”
There is also a policy at Beale AFB, “to terminate, within a reasonable time, the enrollment of children in families where the spouse is no longer employed, actively seeking employment, or is no longer a full-time student, if there is a waiting list.”
Demand for childcare at Beale is high, and waiting lists are common. Contact the CDC as soon as you have orders to discuss waiting list requirements and wait times.
Child care is also available through certified, supervised private homes on Beale AFB. This option is known as the Family Child Care (FCC) program and offers hourly, full-day, and weekend care.
Housing at Beale AFB is privatized and operated in a public/private venture in partnership with Balfour Beatty Communities. The official site for Beale Housing advised at press time, “Now accepting 3-bedroom applications for E1 – E-6; O1 to O3. Also, accepting applications for GEO Bachelor, Single Service Members, DoD, Military Retirees, and First Responders”
Waiting lists may apply depending on the time of year you seek housing, PCS season, and other factors. It’s best to contact the Beale AFB Housing Office as soon as possible once you receive orders to the area. Beale is in a high-cost-of-living area, and your off-base options may be more expensive than at other bases.
Related: BAH Calculator
PCS and TDY Lodging
Beale Air Force Base has a small number of temporary lodging rooms via the Gold Country Inn. DoD information about Beale AFB advises, “Lodging personnel will assist you in contacting your sponsor if your sponsor did not meet you at the airport or a previously-arranged designated location. Upon notification, your sponsor should meet you at the arrival point.”
Due to demand, reservations in advance are encouraged. Pet-friendly options may not be available; call in advance to learn what your local options might be. Contact the Gold Country Inn at 530-634-2953.
The closest airport to Beale AFB is Sacramento International Airport. It’s 45 miles from the base but rush hour and other factors may complicate this drive. It’s best to coordinate your arrival with your sponsor.
You must obtain a statement of non-availability for government quarters if you wish to be reimbursed for off-base temporary lodging. Your sponsor can help you with details of your arrival, where to stay, and other information; don’t start your PCS travel without contacting your sponsor.
Vehicle Registration And Driver’s License
Privately owned vehicles on Beale AFB must comply with California state law regarding insurance, emissions, and other requirements. All POVs must be registered with the following paperwork required at registration time:
- Current military I.D. card;
- Current vehicle registration;
- Current driver’s license from any state;
- A smog certificate.
Those PCSing to the state who are not California residents but would like to register their vehicle in California may be allowed a military exemption from certain California vehicle laws. You must file a completed copy of the State of California Nonresident Military Exemption Statement REG 5045 with the California DMV.
Beale AFB has an on-base elementary school offering classes from Kindergarten to 5th grade. This school is within walking distance for most base residents and is a similar distance to the base Child Development Center and Youth Center.
Students in grades six and higher will attend school off-base will do so based on zip code. You may have the option to apply for an interdistrict transfer to allow children to attend a closer school based on various other factors and conditions set by the school district.
Contact the Beale Air Force Base School Liaison Office to learn how to transfer students or enroll a new student. Call them at 530-634-3539.
Colleges and Universities
Beale AFB Education Services offers counseling and help with Community College of the Air Force degree programs. You can also get assistance with certification and commissioning programs.
This office also processes applications for active duty and DoD civilian Tuition Assistance. You can also visit the Beale AFB Education Center for help with applications to Embry-Riddle University, which has an on-base site at Beale.
Related: Ultimate GI Bill Benefits Guide
Beale Air Force Base
17800 B Street
Beale AFB, CA 95903
- DSN 312-368-2863
Important Phone Numbers At Beale AFB
- Emergency – 911
- Barracks/Single Service Member Housing – (530) 634-2794
- Hospital/Medical Treatment Facility – (530) 634-4831
- ID/CAC Card Processing – (530) 634-3187
- Information and Referral Services – (530) 634-2863
- Law Enforcement – (530) 634-2131
- Legal Services/JAG – (530) 634-2928
- Personnel Support Office – (530) 634-4005
- VA Facilities – (530) 751-4500
- Welcome/Visitors Center – (530) 634-2953
- Base Operator – (530) 634-3000
- Suicide Prevention Hotline – 1-800-273-8255
- Education Center – (530) 634-2525
- Child Development Center – (530) 634-4717
- Child and Youth Registration and Referral – (530) 634-4717
- SNAIC-EFMP Enrollment – (530) 634-6268
- EFMP Family Support – (530) 634-2863
- Women Infants and Children (WIC& WIC-O) – (530) 749-4830
- Family Advocacy Program – (530) 634-3424
- Airman and Family Readiness Center – (530) 634-2863
- Loan Closet at Family Readiness Center – (530) 634-2863
- New Parents Program – (530) 634-3420
- Housing Office – (530) 634-2794
- Gold Country Inn – (530) 634-2953
- Civilian Personnel Office – (530) 634-2255
- Military Personnel Flight – (530) 634-4005
- Victim Advocate/Sexual Assault Response – (530) 634-4400
- Family Home Day Care Program – (530) 634-5655
- School Age Care / Youth and Teen Center -(530) 634-4953
- Joint Personal Property & Shipping Office – (800) 771-1819
- Relocation Assistance Program – (530) 634-2863
- Transition Assistance Program – (530) 634-2863
Related: Ultimate Military Benefits Guide
About the author
Editor-in-Chief Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.