MacDill Air Force Base Military Base Guide
MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, is an Air Mobility Command base home to two major commands: U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command. The base’s mission is primarily air refueling and airlift support. MacDill AFB is less than 10 miles from Tampa, Florida, and serves over 50 tenant units.
MacDill Air Force Base History
What we know today as MacDill AFB started as Southeast Air Base in 1939, later designated MacDill Field in 1941. This base was named after Colonel Leslie MacDill, a World War One pilot killed in an air mishap in 1938.
MacDill played an important World War Two training role for bomber crews, but after the war, these operations would be reduced until the base was realigned under Strategic Air Command in 1946, and the base began training Air Force crews in anti-sub warfare.
By the 1960s, MacDill’s future was uncertain; the Air Force had started phasing out B-47 bombers, and what mission remained was transferred to McCoy Air Force Base in 1962.
For a time, MacDill AFB may have been thought of as “surplus,” but changes would come in the 1980s; United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) opened at MacDill, and with hindsight, we note the earliest glimpses of what the base is known for today.
MacDill survived a round of base closures in the 1980s, and in 2001 the 310th Airlift Squadron was activated here to support United States Southern Command and Central Command.
Today, MacDill Air Force Base serves as an Air Mobility Command base. Its mission is to support global airlift and air refueling missions anywhere in the world.
Located roughly 10 miles from Tampa, MacDill AFB is uniquely situated in Tampa Bay as a large military community on the southwestern Interbay Peninsula.
Sports fans have much to love here between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Tampa Bay Rays. You can also take in the local area by boat with fishing and scenic boat tours, and for a family-friendly destination, try the Tampa Museum of Art, CASS Contemporary art museum, or the Hyde Park Art Center.
MacDill AFB is an easy drive from Orlando, Florida, and approximately 70 miles to Disney World. If you are considering a trip there and have never done so, making the trip an overnight stay is recommended.
MacDill AFB Mission and Units
MacDill AFB, home of the 6th Air Refueling Wing, has a dual mission. As an Air Mobility Command (AMC) base, its job includes what the DoD describes as “…rapidly projecting air-refueling power anywhere in the world” and providing airlift support to Central Command and Special Operations Command.
Important missions and units at the base have included:
- 290th Joint Communications Support Squadron (FL Air and Army National Guard)
- 310th Airlift Squadron
- 45th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron (Air Force Reserve)
- 6th Aerospace Medicine Squadron, Bioenvironmental Engineering
- 6th Air Mobility Wing
- 6th Aircraft Maint Squadron
- 6th Civil Engineering Squadron
- 6th Communication Squadron
- 6th Comptroller Squadron
- 6th Contracting Squadron
- 6th Dental Squadron
- 6th Force Support Squadron
- 6th Logistics Readiness Squadron
- 6th Maint Operation Squadron
- 6th Maint Squadron
- 6th Maintenance Group
- 6th Medical Group
- 6th Medical Operations Squadron
- 6th Medical Support Squadron
- 6th Mission Support Group
- 6th Operation Group
- 6th Operation Support Squadron
- 6th Security Forces Squadron
- 91st Air Refueling Squadron
- 927th ARW(Air Force Reserve)
In-Processing and Check-In
All new arrivals must contact their gaining unit during normal duty hours. If you arrive after 4:30 PM, or on weekends or holidays, contact the MacDill Inn for check-in instructions.
Child Care at MacDill AFB
MacDill operates three Child Development Centers on-base, with care offered on a priority basis for children 6 weeks to 5 years old.
Due to high demand, expect waiting lists and be prepared to seek alternative options such as Family Child Care, offered by licensed and supervised private homes on base at MacDill.
MacDill CDCs participate in the Florida Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten Program for eligible children. Call the Child Development Center at 813-828-3332 or DSN 312-968-3332 for information about current waiting lists and sign-up requirements.
Read more: Military Child Care Options
MacDill Air Force Base Housing
Do you have PCS orders to MacDill AFB? Use the MacDill Government Housing official page to learn MacDill’s application procedures, waiting lists for on-post housing, etc.
You’ll use this site whether you are traveling with your family or if you are PCSing to MacDill unaccompanied or as a “geographic bachelor.” Unaccompanied troops E4 and below (with three years of service or less) may be required to live on base until they qualify for off-base housing options.
Read more: BAH Calculator
MacDill PCS and TDY Lodging
PCS and TDY seasons are both high-traffic times for MacDill AFB, and if you must travel here on orders, it is best to make reservations as far in advance as possible.
Those on orders for travel during May, June, July, and August should call the Traffic Management Flight in advance at 813-828-6722 or DSN 312-968-6722 or toll-free 1-800-432-7131.
MacDill Inn provides all Temporary Lodging services at MacDill. Make reservations by calling 813-828-4259 or DSN 312-968-4259. Pet-friendly rooms are limited; you should not assume you can bring your pet without prior authorization.
The Tampa Bay area has a pair of major airports, Tampa International Airport (TPA) and St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport.
While there are no dedicated “military shuttles” from these airports to the base, you will find the usual ride-sharing, taxis, and rental car options. It’s best to coordinate your arrival with your sponsor if you are unfamiliar with the area. Your travel times will be greatly affected by rush hour, tourist season, and weather factors.
Vehicle Registration And Driver’s License
Florida has strict car insurance laws; make sure you know your obligations if you must serve in Florida for over 90 days on official orders.
According to the DoD, “Car insurance rates in this area tend to be higher than other locations. Any person who has a vehicle in Florida for more than 90 days during one year must purchase personal injury protection and property damage liability insurance coverage.”
You do not need to register a vehicle on base to drive at MacDill AFB, but you must carry a current, valid military ID, plus:
- State Vehicle Registration
- State Driver’s License
- Insurance Certificate
- Armed Forces ID Card or Base Pass
- All Documents must be valid & current
There are six school districts in the MacDill AFB area to choose from. Your school choice may be affected by where you live (on-base or off) and other variables:
- Hillsborough County School District
- Pinellas County School District
- Pasco County School District
- Hernando County School District
- Manatee County District
- Polk County School District
Hillsborough County School District is where many who live at MacDill Air Force Base send their school-age children, including the following:
- Tinker Elementary School (813) 840-2043
- Monroe Middle School (813) 272-3020
- Robinson High School (813) 272-3006
On-post students attend Tinker, Monroe Middle School, or Robinson High School. Busing may be provided for Monroe Middle School and Robinson High School.
Contact the School Liaison Program Manager as soon as you receive orders to MacDill (call 813-828-0146) or visit the MacDill School Liaison Office official site.
Colleges and Universities
MacDill Air Force Base has much to offer those who want to attend college while serving, thanks to the Base Education and Training Center.
There is help for both active duty military and family members in terms of school choices, financial aid options, and help for those who want to explore their education options as they transition out of the military.
Colleges at MacDill AFB include:
- Embry Riddle Aeronautical University
- Hillsborough Community College
- Saint Leo University
- Troy State University
Related: Military Tuition Assistance
MacDill AFB Contacts
MacDill Air Force Base
6801 S. Dale Mabry Hwy
MacDill AFB, FL 33621- 5313
Important MacDill AFB Contact Phone Numbers
- Airman & Family Readiness Center (813) 828-0145
- Airman & Family Readiness Center (Brandon) (813) 655-9281
- Beneficiary Counseling Assistance Coordinator (813) 827-9900
- Customer Service (ID/CAC) (813) 827-9400
- Lodging Office (813) 828-4259
- MacDill Family Housing (813) 840-2600
- Military Crisis Line and Suicide Prevention Hotline (800) 273-8255
- School Liaison Office (813) 828-0146
- Child Development Center 1 (813) 828-3332
- Child Development Center 2 (813) 828-2244
- Child and Youth Registration and Referral (813) 828-3332
- Family Child Care/Child Development Homes (813) 828-7760
- Youth Center – School Age Care (813) 828-5971
- SNAIC – EFMP Enrollment (813) 827-9487
- Family Advocacy (813) 827-9172
- Family Advocacy – New Parent Support Program (813) 827-9172
- U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) (1-800) 375-5283
- Victim Advocate (813) 935-2015
- Brandon Medical Clinic (813) 828-2273
- MacDill Medical Group (813) 828-2273
- Bay Pines Healthcare System (727) 398-6661
- James M Haley Veterans Hospital (813) 972-2000
- Housing Management Office (813) 828-5404
- Billeting/ Lodging Office (813) 828-4259
- DEERS Enrollment (813) 828-2252
- Airman & Family Readiness Center – School Liaison Office (813) 828-0146
- Household Goods/Transportation Office (813) 828-6722
Read more: Ultimate GI Bill Benefits Guide
About the author
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.