Eglin Air Force Base Guide
Eglin Air Force Base is a sizable facility located in the Florida Panhandle. Eglin serves as a training site for almost 20,000 personnel, offering services to thousands more. The 96th Test Wing utilizes this site for testing and new developments.
The installation features five wings with 35 associate units from the Air Force, Army, Marine, and Navy, spanning over 700 miles. Elgin also has the advantage of over 130,000 square miles of air space and over 150 miles of shore. This expansive property currently houses 70 test sites.
The 96th Test Wing here tests “non-nuclear munitions, electronic combat systems, and navigation/guidance systems,” according to the DoD, hosting 40 tenant units. Learn more about Eglin Air Force Base services, housing, education, childcare, and important contact numbers for the base below.
Eglin Air Force Base, first founded in 1935, was named after Lt. Col. Frederick I. Eglin who had perished in a plane crash. The site has proven its durability by serving the country during five major conflicts.
Before WWII, the property the base now stands on was part of a national forest, but the land was recognized as useful for training due to its location, the weather and the large territory it was located on. Service members from the Air Corps Tactical School were looking for a new land for developments in gunnery and weapons.
The end of the war offered Eglin the chance to shine and promote its pioneering missile handling, being the site of the 1st Experimental Guided Missiles Group in 1946. Eglin then also became the site of the USAF Special Warfare Center in 1962. With the conflict raging in Asia in just a few years later, the testing site eventually gained division status.
Later in the 1990’s, the site scaled down a bit and faced deactivation of the Air Armament Center in 2012. However, Eglin AFB maintains its importance by supporting the 96th Test Wing and many major units representing most commands.
Today, Eglin AFB Eglin tests munitions, electronic combat systems, and navigation systems hosting 40 tenant units representing virtually every major command.
Nestled in the western sector of the Florida Panhandle, spanning 700 acres, Eglin Air Force Base is closest to Valparaiso. Its Okaloosa County location is not far from major travel and recreation hubs, including Destin and Pensacola.
It is as much known as a beach retirement area as an active military site. The area has beach-worthy weather for most of the year to highlight the crystal waters and enjoyable sandy beaches, giving it the noteworthy name, the Emerald Coast. Local top spots include the Air Force Armament Museum, Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park, Destin Harbor Boardwalk, and Henderson Beach State Park.
Mission and Units
The Eglin Air Force Base facility is the Department of Defense’s second-largest testing complex. The site focuses on support for missions and weapons testing and development in the 96th Test Wing.
Major units include:
- 33rd Fighter Wing
- 6th Ranger Training Battalion
- 919th Special Operations Wing
- USAF Warfare Center
- 486th Flight Test Squadron
- 53rd Wing
- 96th Test Wing
- 7th Special Forces Group
- 58th Fighter Squadron
- 1st Special Operations Wing
- Air Combat Command
In-Processing and Check-In
Immediately upon arrival at Eglin AFB, locate your Commander Support Staff. They will provide the information and documentation you will need to facilitate check-in. Be sure to bring your current identification, orders and any other relevant documentation to ease the process. The Commander Support Staff will then assign you a sponsor. To request a sponsor, call the gaining unit’s Commander Support Staff or Military Personnel Services at (850) 882-6331.
Child Development Centers in Eglin offer care for children as young as six weeks of age into grade school. There are Parents’ Night Out programs to help families have a break from time to time. Both center locations are on Boatner Road.
School Age Programs for kids from five to twelve are also available to entertain kids after school and during the summers. School aged kids will be kept busy with arts, academics and outdoor activities that maintain a healthy lifestyle. Costs depend on family income. Space may be limited, so look into the waiting list beforehand.
For those who prefer home care, this facility also has access to Family Child Care Centers from infancy to twelve years of age, including late night and weekend care. Rates for this service will also vary based on income.
All housing for service members at Eglin AFB is privatized and run by Mayroad. Mayroad maintains and manages the community and amenities. Single service member housing is also available. Typical floor plans include a room with a bathroom and kitchenette. The Military Housing Office will have information on availability and application statuses. Contact the MHO in advance at (850) 882-4533.
1511 Memorial Trail Bldg 1755, Suite 1
Eglin AFB, FL32542
The Eglin AFB Commissary has a wide selection of necessary household items. The commissary also offers special orders for fresh produce, meat, cheese trays, cakes, and cupcakes. Fresh sushi is available to order and made daily. To ensure availability, try to order 24 hours in advance.
PCS and TDY Lodging
Eglin does not have many temporary lodging facilities, so reserving a stay ahead of time is key. Contact Eglin Inns for availability and registration at (850) 882-8761.
For those flying into the area, the closest airports are The Destin-Fort Walton Beach Regional Airport and Pensacola Regional Airport. The prior is a fifteen-minute trip from Niceville, and the latter is closer to Pensacola.
Pensacola Regional Airport is about 70 miles away. The easiest way to get to Eglin AFB will be using I-10. If you drive in, the easiest way to the base is off I-10. You can get to I-10 from Hwy 85 or Hwy 123 until you reach Interstate 10. It should be noted that there is limited public transportation once on base, so it is advised to look into shuttle schedules ahead of time.
Vehicle Registration And Driver’s License
Bringing a vehicle into Florida requires registration, Personal Injury Protection, and Liability insurance. Both forms of insurance must have a $10,000 minimum coverage. The insurance company must also be an approved insurance vendor in the state.
Obtaining a license will require a vision test, proof of original Social Security card, and a pair of other forms of identification. Vehicles do not have to be registered separately to enter the base. At all times, maintain and carry proof of vehicle registration, driver’s license for Florida, insurance card, and military ID.
Children of military service members near Eglin will usually attend schools in the Okaloosa County School District. Children entering Kindergarten through fourth grade go to class at Eglin Elementary School. Fifth through eighth graders go to Addie R. Lewis Middle School in Valparaiso. And high schoolers attend Niceville High School in Niceville. If your child has special needs or services required or for voluntary transfers to other schools, see your School Liaison Officer for options.
Colleges and Universities
For adult education and information on degree programs from undergraduate to master’s degrees, Eglin’s Educational Center is the prime resource for service members. Members have access to the Community College of the Air Force and the Air Force Institute of Technology as well as military training seminars. Open Monday through Friday during regular business hours, Eglin Educational Center can be reached at (850) 882-8141.
Related: Ultimate GI Bill Guide
502 W Van Matre Ave, Suite 1 Bldg 205
Eglin AFB, FL 32542
- Adult Education Center (850) 882-8141
- Barracks/Single Service Member Housing (850) 882-5153
- Child Development Center (850) 882-5519
- Civilian Personnel Office (850) 882-6258
- Commissary (850) 882-3172
- Housing Office/Government Housing (850) 882-4533
- ID/CAC Card Processing (850) 882-2742
- School Age Care (850) 882-8291
- School Liaison (850) 882-4319
- Temporary Lodging/Billeting (850) 882-8761
- Visitor Center (850) 882-0791
- Youth Programs (850) 882-8212
Related: Ultimate Military Benefits Guide