March Air Reserve Base, California Military Base Guide
March Air Reserve Base is located in Riverside, California. This Reserve base is the home of 4th Air Force and the 452d Air Mobility Wing. The state of California is a military-friendly community in general, but the area around March is impressive–some 70 thousand military and family members live in the area.
Learn more about March ARB, including housing and childcare services, base transportation, temporary lodging for PCSing and TDY troops, and inprocessing.
March ARB History
The March ARB story begins in 1918 as Alessandro Flying Training Field, which was redesignated as March Field. The base was named to pay tribute to Second Lieutenant Peyton C. March, Jr., who died in a flying accident during World War One.
The base would close in 1923, starting the first of a series of closures, reopenings, redesignations, etc. In 1927, the base reopened and, over time, would support the B-29 Superfortress, the C-119, and the first B-52 B bomber.
In 1982, the base inherited the KC-10 tanker mission thanks to the 22nd Air Refueling Wing, and eventually, the base would become home to units serving in the California Air National Guard.
But another closure was coming; in 1993, the Base Realignment and Closure Commission chose March to be “realigned,” with the result being the deactivation of the 445th Airlift Wing and the 452nd Air Refueling Wing.
1996 was the year March officially became March Air Reserve Base. According to the DoD, in the 21st century, Reservists, Guard members, and active duty from all military branches serve at March ARB.
March ARB Surrounding Area
March ARB is a reasonable drive to Los Angeles, and being stationed here is a gateway to Hollywood, So-Cal sports, beach culture, and a storied music scene.
But being assigned to a Southern California military base has some issues to contend with, including high cost of living and transportation issues. Cost-of-living issues can be problematic for junior enlisted members and senior NCOs alike, especially if you are living off-base or off-post.
Southern California is an expensive housing market; expect rents and home sale prices as much as 40% higher than the national average, depending on the location. Those PCSing to the area may qualify for Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for the area, but be advised that this allowance may not cover your entire housing expense.
Mission and Units
March Air Reserve Base and 4th Air Force are responsible for training and equipping Reservists from all over the country. Important missions and major units have included:
- 144th Fighter Wing
- 452nd Air Mobility Wing Contracting Office
- 452nd Air Mobility Wing Flight Chief
- 452nd Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs Office
- Blue Eagles Honor Guard
- Civil Air Patrol, Squadron 45
- March Joint Powers Authority
- Air Force Audit Agency
- Defense Media Center
- 653rd Regional Support Group
In-Processing and Check-In
If you receive PCS orders to March ARB, you should receive a sponsor package from your gaining unit.
For those training at the base (such as weekend Unit Training Assembly duty), there is an inprocessing station at the Military Personnel Flight. You will check in on the Saturday of the first UTA.
There is no Child Development Center at March ARB. Those assigned here typically seek other options, and there is help available via the Military & Family Readiness Office (951-655-5097) that can provide resources for you to find childcare in your area.
For Reservists, the DoD recommends using the USAF Services Home Community Care program (advance reservations are required), which can be reached at 951-655-3507 or DSN 312-447-3507.
There is no on-base housing at March ARB. Visit the Air Force Housing website to learn more about local, on-the-economy housing choices. Housing expenses are much higher in California than in many other markets. Discuss this issue with your sponsor before you relocate to the area.
The March ARB Commissary is located at:
15150 6th Street
Riverside, CA 92518-1875
951.419.6950 x 2999
PCS and TDY Lodging
Temporary lodging is provided at the base by the March Inn. Demand is high and March Innj rooms fill up quickly ahead of UTA weekends. Make reservations as far in advance as possible, but many should expect to be given a statement of non-availability allowing reimbursement for off-base lodging.
Call the March Inn for reservations at 951-655-5241 or DSN 312-447-5241.
The nearest major airport to March ARB is LA/Ontario International some 39 miles away. Despite its proximity to March, your arrival may be complicated by rush hour traffic, which in the area is a major consideration.
Ask your sponsor about the best options for arrival into the Riverside area. The usual ride-sharing and commercial shuttles/taxis may be available.
Vehicle Registration And Driver’s License
When operating a privately owned vehicle on March ARB, you must carry your military ID card, state vehicle registration, a valid state driver’s license, and required proof of insurance.
If you operate a privately owned vehicle in the State of California, you are required to carry proof of auto insurance for at least $15,000 for death or injury to any person, $30,000 for death or injury (more than one person), and $5,000 for property damage coverage.
Failure to obtain this insurance coverage could result in fines as high as $2,000, depending on the number of offenses. The fine may also depend on whether you are involved in a traffic accident while not properly insured. In such cases, the California DMV may suspend your license and impound your car.
There are no DoD schools located at March ARB. Those relocating to the area will learn that school choice is typically assigned based on the address where the family lives. In the local area, there are several school districts, including:
- Moreno Valley Unified School District
- Val Verde Unified School District
- Riverside Unified School District
- Alvord Unified School District
Contact the school district you want to send your children to for information on registration requirements, immunization rules, and school term start dates.
Colleges and Universities
The March ARB Education Center is your gateway to classes at Embry-Riddle University, which has offered options through the Education Center, including but not limited to:
- Associate in Science in Aircraft Maintenance
- Associate in Science in Professional Aeronautics
- Associate in Science in Technical Management
- Bachelor of Science in Aviation Maintenance Management
- Bachelor of Science in Professional Aeronautics; Bachelor of Science in Technical Management
- Bachelor of Science in Technical Management Logistics
- Master of Aeronautical Science
- Master of Business Administration in Aviation
- Master of Science in Management
Call 951-653-4074 for more information.
Related: Ultimate GI Bill Guide
March Air Reserve Base Contacts
452nd AMW Public Affairs
14560 2nd Street
March ARB, CA 92518-1852
Important March ARB Phone Numbers
- Emergency 911
- Home Community Care (HCC) (951) 655-3507
- ID and CAC Card Processing (951) 655-3028
- March Field Air Museum (951) 902-5949
- NAF Human Resources Office (951) 655-7342
- Special Morale and Welfare Funds (951) 655-5241
- Suicide Prevention Hotline (800) 273-8255
- Adult Education Center (951) 655-4441
- Airman and Family Readiness Center (951) 655-5350
- Base Lodging (951) 655-5241
Related: Ultimate Military 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.