Edwards Air Force Base Guide
Edwards Air Force Base, California
Edwards Air Force Base is located in Edwards, California. This base supports R&D for aerospace systems and is also the home of the Air Force Test Pilot School.
This base is so large it crosses Kern County and San Bernardino County, with a southern portion located in Los Angeles County. Edwards AFB supports over ten thousand military members and sits on nearly 500 acres.
Learn more about Edwards Air Force Base, California, including housing, childcare, education services, and inprocessing information.
Edwards Air Force Base History
In 1933, Muroc Bombing and Gunnery Range opened for business. It would evolve into a major bomber training base during World War Two before being redesignated Edwards Air Force Base. Even before that happened, the installation became known for research, development, and training.
Muroc, later Edwards, conducted tests on the rocket-powered experimental aircraft Bell X-1, flown by Chuck Yeager, who was the first to break the speed of sound in 1947.
In 1949, Muroc was redesignated Edwards Air Force Base in honor of Captain Glen Edwards, who died in an air mishap. 1949 was also the year the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School relocated from Wright Field in Ohio to Edwards Air Force Base in California.
In the 1960s, the Edwards AFB Test Pilot School was re-designated as the Aerospace Research Pilot School. This marked the Air Force’s earliest forays into space, and an experimental project at Edwards saw hypersonic flight testing that ultimately broke Mach 6.
The Edwards AFB mission has evolved over the decades. The base’s mission has included unmanned aerial vehicles and work on the Space Shuttle, the B-2 Bomber, and the Joint Strike Fighter.
In the 21st century, Edwards AFB has contributed to the Predator UAV program, Airborne Laser Weapons, and Global Hawk. The Edwards AFB 412th Test Wing performs flight and ground testing of aircraft, weapons systems, and simulation.
Edwards AFB Surrounding Area
Edwards is within reasonable driving distance of many well-known SoCal cities and attractions. Los Angeles is (on paper) under two hours away, but keep in mind that local rush hour traffic is a much bigger issue here than in other areas in the U.S. Peak travel times can cause extensive delays.
If you like driving, Los Angeles and San Diego have major league sports, performing arts, and movie-based attractions. San Diego is a little over three hours by car and features plenty of family-friendly options, including the San Diego Zoo, Olde Globe Theater, and the San Diego Padres.
In Los Angeles, the music scene is a serious draw, with major L.A. venues bringing world-class talent to stages that have included the Whisky-Go-Go, the Troubadour, the Greek Theatre, and the El Rey.
There are also plenty of art museums in the area, but some might be tempted to drive to Costa Mesa (approximately three hours) to take in the Orange County Museum of Art.
Yuma is a golf-heavy destination; check out Desert Hills Golf Course and Ironwood Golf Course, but there are at least nine golf courses in the Yuma area to discover.
If golf is not your thing, try birdwatching at the Imperial Wildlife Refuge, or a visit to the Castle Dome Mines Museum is also worth a look. Fans of local history should see the Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park.
Edwards AFB Mission and Units
Designated as an Air Force Materiel Command Center of Excellence, Edwards Air Force Base conducts research and development of aircraft systems. The base’s host unit is the 412th Test Wing, and Edwards AFB supports the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School.
Edwards has partnerships with other military and federal agencies, including Air Force Research Laboratory Propulsion Directorate, the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, and the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center. Important missions and units here have included:
- 412th Test Wing
- Air Force Test Center
- 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron
- Air Force Audit Agency
- Air Force Research Laboratory
- Det 1, Studies and Analysis Squadron
- Det 111, AF Office of Special Investigations
- Federal Aviation Administration
- General Services Administration
- NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center
- National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
- U.S. Postal Service (USPS)
- Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Nine Det Edwards
- Air Force Flight Test Museum
- Air Force Test Pilot School
Edwards Air Force Base In-Processing and Check-In
If you are PCSing to Edwards AFB, or if you are traveling to the base on TDY orders, check in with your gaining unit’s Command Support Staff upon arrival.
All instructions are provided to new arrivals upon check-in; if you don’t have a CSS to check in with, you are directed to call 661-277-4611 or DSN 312-527-4611 for instructions for in-processing.
If you are PCSing with family members and have children between six months and 12 years old, visit the Edwards AFB Military and Family Readiness Center and ask for a Childcare for PCS voucher.
This is part of a local community program run by the Air Force Aid Society; you may be eligible for up to 20 hours of childcare per child for active-duty Air Force families within 60 days of PCSing to Edwards AFB.
Edwards AFB Child Care
The Child Development Center and Family Child Care homes serve Edwards Air Force Base. CDC waiting lists typically apply due to high demand. You can find on-base care for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years.
Full-time care or part-day enrichment programs for children ages 3 to 5 with part-day options offered on a space-available basis.
Due to high childcare demand, it is best to sign up as early as possible. Call the CDC at 661-275-8687 or DSN 312-525-8687 to get information on current registration procedures and waiting lists.
Edwards AFB Housing
If you are PCSing to Edwards, start your housing application process before departing your losing base. You can do so using the Air Force Housing official site.
New arrivals must in-process through the base Housing Management office even when they don’t plan to use government housing or reside on base.
On-base housing is privatized and managed by Corvias. See the official site for policy about on-base housing waiting list sign-up procedures, single service member housing, and local utility information.
Edwards AFB Commissary
The Edwards Air Force Base Commissary is located at:
312 West Fitzgerald Blvd
Edwards AFB, CA 93524-1590
Edwards AFB PCS and TDY Lodging
PCS and TDY season at Edwards means there is a high demand for temporary lodging. If you travel on official orders, you have booking priority at the on-base High Desert Inn. While there are some pet-friendly facilities on the base, demand is high. Don’t travel to the base with pets without making prior arrangements.
Make reservations at 661-275-7666 or DSN 312-525-7666 for best results as soon as you have your orders.
Edwards AFB Transportation
California traffic issues are legendary. For PCSing and TDY troops, it’s smart to arrange a pickup from the airport due to issues related to rush hour and peak travel times. If you have never driven in Los Angeles or San Diego, you may appreciate the ride until you get used to local traffic.
Depending on where you depart, your journey may end at Van Nuys or Bob Hope International, but most likely, your destination is Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Discuss your arrival with your sponsor and plan on delays due to traffic, tourist season, weather, etc.
Vehicle Registration And Driver’s License
The State of California has strict emissions requirements. These are often above and beyond the requirements in other states. Before shipping or driving a vehicle to Edwards AFB, discuss vehicle laws in California with your sponsor. If you are stationed at Edwards or another California base, you may be exempt from the California vehicle license fee for any motor vehicle registered in California if you are the registered owner.
All vehicles entering and leaving Edwards AFB are subject to searches, 100% ID checks, and other security measures.
Edwards Air Force Base Schools
Edwards AFB has on-base schools operated by the Muroc Joint Unified School District in Kern County. There are off-base options offered by multiple school districts operating on a school calendar from August through June each year.
The local school district operates the on-base schools, but there are no DoD schools are at Edwards. Contact the Edwards AFB School Liaison Office at (661) 277-2456 for transfer information and other details.
Edwards Air Force Base Colleges and Universities
Several schools are operating at Edwards AFB. Contact the Education Center for information about classes offered by the following schools:
- American Military University
- Cerro Coso Community College
- Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Call (661) 277-2713 to learn more about off-base college programs. According to the DoD, Education counselors are available for each individual school on base with no appointment needed. New arrivals should know the Edwards AFB Education Office offers access to a database of over 150,000 awards, grants, loans, and scholarships for military members, dependents, and spouses.
Related: Ultimate GI Bill Guide
Edwards AFB Contacts
Edwards Air Force Base
90 Farrell Drive, Bldg 5620
Edwards AFB, CA 93524
Important Edwards AFB Phone Numbers
- Airman & Family Readiness Center (661) 277-0723
- Base Operations (661) 277-2222
- Civilian Personnel Office (661) 277-3840
- Command Post (661) 277-3040
- Communications Squadron Customer Support Center (661) 277-3444
- Education Office (661) 277-2713
- Emergencies 911
- Employee Assistance Program (661) 277-1183
- Equal Opportunity Office (661) 277-7985
- Finance (661) 277-4550
- Health Promotion (661) 275-4292
- High Desert Inn (661) 275-7666
- Household Goods & Housing: Corvias Community Office (661) 385-6060
- Household Goods & Housing: Corvias Military Living (661) 385-6060
- Household Goods & Housing: Housing Office (661) 277-4506
- Household Goods & Housing: Inbound (661) 277-7888
- Inspector General (661) 277-4888
- Medical & Dental Care: After-Hours Care (800) 874-2273
- Medical & Dental Care: Central Appointments (661) 277-7118
- Military IDs/CAC/DEERS Office (661) 277-2276
- Military Personnel Flight (661) 277-2518
- Pass & Registration (661) 277-6263
- Base Schools Switchboard (661) 258-4411
- School Liaison Office (661) 277-2456
- Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (661) 209-0115
- Visitor Control Center (661) 275-9771
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.