Luke Air Force Base Guide
Luke Air Force Base is in Glendale, Arizona, and is a short drive from Phoenix, Arizona. Named after the first aviator to be awarded the Medal of Honor, 2nd Lt Frank Luke Jr., Luke AFB is home to the 56th Fighter Wing, said to be the largest in the Air Force.
Luke AFB is responsible for the Gila Bend Air Force Auxiliary Field and nearly two million acres of the Goldwater Military Training Range.
Luke Air Force Base History
Luke Air Force Base began in 1941 as Litchfield Park Air Base. When flight training classes began there, it had been redesignated as Luke Field. It became a large fighter training base during World War Two, training pilots in aircraft operations for the P-40 Warhawk, P-51 Mustang, and P-47 Thunderbolt.
Like many such bases, at the end of World War Two, Luke Field was deactivated only to be placed back in service during the Korean War.
The base would change hands a few times, being transferred from Air Education and Training Command (AETC) to Air Tactical Command, only to revert to AETC in the 1990s. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, Luke AFB would fly combat air patrols around New York and Washington D.C.
Luke Air Force Base also supported expeditionary operations as part of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Today, Luke AFB is home for the 56th Fighter Wing. The AETC base operates the largest F-16 Wing in the USA.
Luke AFB Surrounding Area
Luke Air Force Base is close to many popular attractions, including Major League Baseball in Phoenix, the Out Of Africa wildlife park in Camp Verde, AZ, and the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.
You can also take in the Chandler, AZ-based Rawhide Western Town and Steakhouse or make a trip to experience Biltmore Fashion Park. For lovers of the great outdoors, the Grand Canyon and the Petrified Forest National Park are a must-visit.
On-base, and off there are various golf options for those who love the links; the Luke AFB Golf Course and the Wigwam Golf Resort are two options to explore, with four courses between them.
Luke Air Force Base Mission and Units
Luke AFB supports the 56th Fighter Wing. Its critical missions and units have included:
- 56th Medical Group
- 56th Mission Support Group
- 56th Fighter Wing Staff Agencies
- 56th Operations Group
- 56th Maintenance Group
- 54th Fighter Group
- 944th Fighter Wing
- 21st Fighter Squadron (21 FS)
- 309th Fighter Squadron (309 FS)
- 310th Fighter Squadron (310 FS)
- 425th Fighter Squadron (425 FS)
- 56th Communications Squadron (56 CS)
- 56th Component Maintenance Squadron (56 CMS)
- 56th Comptroller Squadron (56 CPTS)
- 56th Contracting Squadron (56 CONS)
- 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron (56 EMS)
- 56th Fighter Wing (56 FW)
- 56th Force Support Squadron (56 FSS)
- 56th Logistics Readiness Squadron (56 LRS)
- 56th Maintenance Group (56 MXG)
- 56th Maintenance Operations Squadron (56 MOS)
- 56th Medical Group (56 MDG)
- 56th Medical Operations Squadron (56 MDOS)
- 56th Medical Support Squadron (56 MDSS)
- 56th Mission Support Group (56 MSG)
- 56th Operations Group (56 OG)
- 56th Operations Support Squadron (56 OSS)
- 56th Training Squadron (56 TRS)
- 607th Air Control Squadron (607 ACS)
- 61st Fighter Squadron (61 FS)
- 62nd Fighter Squadron (62 FS)
- 63rd Fighter Squadron (63 FS)
- 944th Fighter Wing
- DET 1 ACC Training Support Squadron
- DET 12/372 Training Squadron
- OLAD, 29th Training Systems Squadron
In-Processing and Check-In
When arriving during regular duty hours, check-in at your Unit Personnel Office or Command Support Staff. You must report in uniform, and you will be required to begin your in-processing with a visit to the Military Personnel Section in Building 1150.
Those traveling on PCS orders with permissive TDY for house hunting should know that, unlike some other bases, you will take your PTDY after in-processing, not upon arrival and check-in.
Coordinate with your sponsor to check in on weekends, holidays, or after duty hours.
Child Care At Luke AFB
There are two basic childcare options at Luke Air Force Base. One is the Child Development Center, and the other is care in Family Child Care (FCC) homes on base.
Luke AF Child Development Centers (CDCs) provide full-time, part-time, and limited walk-ins (offered on a space-available basis) on base. CDC fees are set based on family income.
Active duty families and Department of Defense civilians given child care priority and waiting lists may apply. The following documents are required to sign up for CDC care:
- Program Patron Registration AF Form 1181
- Medical Evaluation Form
- Current Immunizations
- USDA Meal Benefit Eligibility Form
Luke AFB also provides options via the Family Child Care (FCC) program, which has on-base providers offering licensed and inspected child care from private homes on a full-time, part-time, and hourly basis.
Luke AFB Housing
If you are PCSing to Luke AFB with your family, contact the Housing Management Office within 30 days. Don’t enter into legally binding housing agreements until you have checked in.
Housing on Luke AFB is a privatized public/private operation run by Balfour Beatty Communities. Unaccompanied/single airmen in ranks E-3 and below plus E-4s (with less than three years in uniform) may be required to live on base in dormitories.
Waiting lists may apply for privatized on-base housing, but help is available to locate off-base homes in the area. Call (623) 856-7643 or DSN 896-7643 for assistance.
Related: BAH Calculator
PCS and TDY Lodging
The Fighter Country Inn provides temporary lodging for Luke Air Force Base. Due to high demand during PCS and TDY season, book as soon as you get orders by calling (623) 856-3941 or DSN 896-3941 for reservations.
During peak travel season, you may be given a Statement of Non-Availability, which authorizes you to stay off base at the government’s expense. Without this Statement, you will NOT be reimbursed on your travel voucher for such PCS or TDY-related lodging expenses.
Unaccompanied airmen PCSing to Luke AFB and arriving after duty hours may be housed in “hospitality quarters” until assigned to a squadron dormitory.
There are several airports in the area; coordinate your arrival with your sponsor as local traffic conditions during rush hour, tourist season, and PCS/TDY season may complicate your arrival.
The nearest airports to Luke Air Force Base include:
- Phoenix Sky Harbor
- Phoenix-Mesa Gateway
- Flagstaff Pulliam
Of these, the last two are the farthest away, 75-to-100 miles each. The usual ride-sharing, taxis, and shuttles may all be available, but demand may complicate your trip from the airport depending on when you arrive.
Vehicle Registration And Driver’s License
Luke AFB does not issue base decals, but you must carry an unexpired ID and proof of insurance to drive on base. Expect 100% ID checks and random searches when driving on base. All privately owned vehicles must conform to Arizona state law, including minimum insurance requirements.
Luke AFB Schools
Luke AFB does not have on-base Department of Defense schools. School-age children will attend school districts based on their home address/zip code on or off base. In addition to the school districts below, there are opportunities for fully-online learning. Ask the Luke AFB School Liaison Officer if you need to know more about this option.
Local school districts include:
- Avondale Elementary School District #44
- Litchfield Elementary School District
- Dysart Unified School District
To attend public schools in Arizona, students must submit proof of all required immunizations or an exemption form.
Colleges and Universities
The Luke Air Force Base Education Center offers help with college and professional military education. You can take Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) and College Level Examination Programs (CLEP) tests here. Nearby colleges include:
- Northern Arizona University
- Estrella Mountain Community College
- Webster University
- Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
- Park University
Related: Military Tuition Assistance
Luke Air Force Base
14185 West Falcon Street
Luke AFB, AZ 85309
- (DSN) 312-896-6550
Important Luke AFB Contact Numbers
- Emergencies – 911
- Airman Family Readiness Ctr – 623-856-6550
- Armed Forces Bank – 623-535-9766
- Base Taxi – 623-856-6866
- Balfour (Family Housing) – 623-388-3515
- Child Development Center – 623-856-6338
- Dorm Management – 623-856-7841
- Education Center – 623-856-7722
- Equal Opportunity – 623-856-7711
- Family Readiness – 623-856-6550
- Housing Assistance – 623-856-7643
- Housing Facilities – 623-856-3007
- Housing Maintenance – 623-935-2676
- ID Cards – 623-856-7875
- Legal Assistance – 623-856-6901
- Lodging Office/Switchboard – 623-856-3941
- Maintenance Control Center – 623-856-5469
- Marine Corps 24-hr Duty Desk – 602-421-5806
- Military Pay – 623-856-7028
- Sexual Assault Response Coordinator – 623-856-4878
- (TMO) Household Goods – 623-856-6425
- (TMO) Passenger Travel – 623-856-7035
Related: Ultimate GI Bill 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.