Dover Air Force Base Guide
Dover Air Force Base is located in Delaware, two miles from its namesake city. Said to be the Department of Defense’s largest aerial port, Dover AFB serves more than 10 thousand military members, civilians, and family members.
The base is also home to the only Continental U.S. Port Mortuary in the Department of Defense.
Dover Air Force Base Contacts
Dover Air Force Base
846 Sumner Drive
Dover, DE 19901
Dover AFB Contact Phone Numbers
- Airman and Family Readiness Center – EFMP Family Support (302) 677-3258
- Base Operator (302) 677-3000
- Barracks/Single Service Member Housing (302) 677-6969
- Child Development Center (302) 677-3716
- Children & Families First (302) 672-0510
- Emergency 911
- Family Advocacy (302) 677-2711
- Family Center (302) 677-6930
- Family Child Care Program (302) 677-3712
- Family Member Employment Assistance Program (302) 677-6930
- Finance Office (302) 677-4486
- Hospital Main (302) 674-4700
- Housing Office (302) 677-6969
- ID Cards (302) 677-4541
- Legal Services and JAG (302) 677-3300
- Medical Appointments (302) 730-4633
- New Parent Support Program – Family Advocacy (302) 677-2711
- SNAIC – EFMP Enrollment (302) 677-2598
- Temporary Lodging (302) 677-2841
- Welcome/Visitors Center (302) 677-3645
- Air Force Aid Society (AFAS) (302) 677-6930
- Women, Infants & Children/Nutrition (WIC) (302) 741-2900
- Citizenship and Immigration Services (302) 677-4541
- Personal Financial Management Program (PFMP) (302) 677-6930
- Sexual Assault Prevention & Response (SAPR) Program (302) 677-4357
- School Liaison Office (302) 677-3258
- Housing Office (302) 677-6969
- Temporary Lodging/Billeting (302) 677-2841
Dover AFB is near many east coast attractions and major cities. The most important thing to remember about traveling to them is that rush hour can seriously complicate your departure or return.
Be sure to add in extra time for Delaware traffic. How bad can it get? The typical cost of a shuttle ride (40 miles away) from Greater Wilmington Airport to Dover AFB is roughly $185.00 one-way, with taxi service costing more than $300 one-way.
Dover AFB is within driving distance of Atlantic City, Baltimore, Annapolis, etc. The city of Dover itself is the second largest city in the state of Delaware. Within 100 miles of the base, you’ll find the following attractions:
- Eastern Market
- National Air and Space Museum
- National Mall
- National Gallery of Art
- Washington Monument
- Museum of Natural History
- Lincoln Memorial
- The White House
- Dupont Circle
- National Zoological Park
Dover AFB Mission and Units
Dover AFB is responsible for global airlift, supporting C-5M Super Galaxy and C-17 Globemaster III aircraft operations.
The base features the 436th Airlift Wing and its “key partners,” including the Air Force Reserve 512th Airlift Wing, Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations (AFMAO), the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System (AFMES) and the Joint Personal Effects Depot (JPED).
Important missions and units at Dover AFB have included:
- 326th Airlift Squadron (326 AS)
- 3rd Airlift Squadron (3AS)
- 436 Aerial Port Squadron (436 APS)
- 436 AW/XP Plans and Programs
- 436th Aerial Port Squadron (436 APS)
- 436th Aerospace Medicine-Dental Squadron(436 ADOS)
- 436th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (436 AMXS)
- 436th AW/CP Command and Control (C2) Command Post
- 436th Civil Engineering Squadron (436 CES)
- 436th Communication Squadron (436 CS)
- 436th Force Support Squadron (436 FSS)
- 436th Logistics Readiness Squadron (436 LRS)
- 436th Maintenance Squadron (436 MXS)
- 436th Medical Operations Squadron (436 MDOS)
- 436th Medical Support Squadron (436 MDSS)
- 436th Operations Support Sq (436 OSS)
- 436th Security Forces Squadron (436 SFS)
- 512th Aerospace Medical Squadron (512 AMDS)
- 512th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (512 AMXS)
- 512th Airlift Control Flight (512 ALCF)
- 512th Memorial Affairs Squadron (512 MAS)
- 512th Mission Support Squadron (512 MSS)
- 512th Operations Support Flight (512 OSF)
- 709th Airlift Squadron (709 AS)
- 736 Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (736 AMXS)
- 9th Airlift Squadron (9 AS)
In-Processing and Check-In
If you are PCSing or coming TDY to Dover Air Force Base, check in with your gaining unit for in-processing procedures. Hand-carry the following documents to your check-in and in-processing:
- DITY Checklist and Certification of expenses (where applicable)
- Rental Contract if Applicable
- Certified Weight Tickets
- All expense receipts
- 3 Copies of Orders
Ask your sponsor for instructions on checking in and be sure to coordinate your arrival into the local area.
The Dover Air Force Base Child Development Center offers child care services on base including full-day care and space-available hourly care. CDC options are for children six weeks to five years, and waiting lists typically apply due to high demand.
There are also on-base childcare options available through the Family Child Care (FCC) program. According to DoD literature, “Children, two weeks to 12 years of age, may receive care in the private home of a certified Family Child Care provider living in government-owned/leased housing or off base in the community. Family Child Care offers weekdays, evenings and weekend child care” at Dover.
If you have PCS orders to Dover Air Force Base, create or access an account at MilitaryChildcare.com and get started in the Dover system as soon as you know you’re PCSing to the area.
Housing at Dover AFB is privatized and operated by Hunt Military Communities. If you are PCSing to Dover, do not enter into legally binding agreements for housing before visiting the Housing Management Office.
According to the DoD, “If you elect privatized housing, you must have a referral form signed by one of our housing counselors before you can sign a lease with Dover AFB Properties LLC.”
For more information on this housing policy call 302-677-6969.
Related: BAH Calculator
PCS and TDY Lodging
TDY and temporary lodging for Airmen and other troops PCSing to Dover AFB is offered via the Eagle’s Rest Inn (call for reservations: DSN 312-445-2841 or commercially at 302-677-2841.
If on-base lodging is unavailable, you’ll be offered off-base options.You will be given a certificate of non-availability for off-base lodging, and you will need to file this with your travel voucher.
Pet-friendly accommodations may be limited or unavailable; ask when booking your room if pets are an option for your stay.
There are multiple airports in the area; regardless of which one you choose and when you arrive, traffic issues are a major concern in Delaware. The following are the major airports nearby:
- Greater Wilmington Airport (ILG)
- Philadelphia (PHL)
- Baltimore (BWI)
- Reagan Washington (DCA)
- Harrisburg (MDT)
ILG is about 40 miles from Dover AFB, the rest of these airports are 50 miles out and farther, with the most distant airport in the list being Harrisburg (MDT), over 100 miles away.
The usual ride sharing, commercial taxis and shuttles may all be available depending on the time of your arrival, rush hour issues, and other variables. Taking a taxi from these airports can be expensive. Discuss your arrival with your sponsor ahead of time.
Vehicle Registration and Driver’s License
There is no need to register a vehicle on base at Dover; base vehicle decals have been phased out. There is a 100% ID check during nighttime hours and as mission requirements dictate. Some areas on base are considered restricted areas and you should not travel through them by car without prior authorization. They include:
- Mass Parking Area and Hangars when aircraft are present.
- The Industrial Maintenance Complex, including Ramp Road, Transient Parking Ramp, and “Temporary RAs” when aircraft are not present.
- All flightline areas North and East of the post.
- Cable barriers adjacent to Ramp Road.
Movement into these areas must be coordinated through the Base Defense Operations Center at 677-6664.
School attendance in Delaware is determined in part by your home address. On-base, there are options to send school-age children to:
- Major George S. Welch Elementary (grades K-5)
- Dover Air Base Middle (grades 6-8)
- Caesar Rodney High School (grades 9-12)
Contact the Dover School Liaison Officer for school transfer procedures, requirements, and other educational resources if you don’t plan to live on base. There are several public schools in Kent County, including:
- Capital School District
- Lake Forest School District
- Milford School District
- Polytech School District
- Smyrna School District
Call the Dover AFB School Liaison Office for more information: 302-677-6383.
Colleges and Universities
The Dover AFB Education Office offers help with military Tuition Assistance, the GI Bill, and dependent education options. Three schools have on-base options: Delaware State University, Southern Illinois University, and Wilmington University.
These schools offer on-base classes and have offices at Dover AFB. Call the Dover AFB Education Office at 302-677-4630 to learn more about classes, financial aid options, and application policies.
Find GI Bill®-approved colleges and universities in Delaware with the CollegeRecon School Finder tool.
Related: Ultimate Guide to GI Bill Benefits
Dover Air Force Base History
Dover Municipal Airfield was completed roughly the same time America entered World War Two. At that time, the area was rented to the United States Army Air Corps and used for coastal defense.
By 1942, operations were seriously expanded, including adding 7,000 feet of runway. Dover would run as a training base for P-47 Thunderbolt fighter pilots until the war’s end, when the facility was converted into a “demob” zone for those coming home from the war.
Like many busy bases at the time, a brief closure followed by a reopening due to renewed needs during Korea and the Cold War.
The base reopened in 1951, aligned under Air Defense Command. Over time it would be reassigned to Military Airlift Command, with the 436th Military Airlift Wing replacing the inactivated Air Training Wing as the host organization.
Today Dover Air Force Base operates as the “most technologically-advanced” aerial port in the DoD, according to the official site. The 436th Airlift Wing still operates as the host, providing what the DoD calls “strategic global airlift capability.”
Other operations here include the only Continental U.S. Port Mortuary in the DoD and support for the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System.
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.