Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Yuma Base Guide
Marine Corps Air Station Yuma is located in the desert two miles from Yuma, Arizona. This installation is home to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron-1, Third Marine Aviation Weapons units.
MCAS Yuma is also tasked with supporting weapons training for Navy and Marine forces. This military base guide for MCAS Yuma includes information on the surrounding area, child care, in-processing, and housing in the Yuma, Arizona area.
MCAS Yuma Base History
MCAS Yuma started when the federal government purchased over 600 acres in Arizona in the 1920s. This area would become a joint military/civilian operation known as Fly Field.
When America entered World War Two, the site was redesignated as Yuma Army Airfield, where it was a training site for single-engine warplanes.
After the war, the need for such training dwindled; in 1945, the base was closed and transferred to the federal government’s use as headquarters for the Bureau of Land Reclamation.
But the Korean War and the Cold War brought new training requirements, and in 1956 the site was transferred to the United States Air Force and renamed Vincent Air Force Base after Brigadier General Clinton Vincent, who earned his General’s star before the age of 30..
Vincent Air Force Base was reassigned to Navy jurisdiction in 1959, with the site becoming a Marine Corps Air Station three years later.
Today, MCAS Yuma operates as one of the Marine Corps’ busiest air stations. It still conducts weapons training; there are approximately a million acres of bombing and flight training ranges here. MCAS Yuma also provides about 80 percent of the Corps’ air-to-ground aviation training.
Yuma Surrounding Area
MCAS Yuma is about 160 miles from Phoenix, Arizona, and San Diego, California. The desert climate here can take some getting used to if you’re used to colder regions, but with the nicer weather here comes the ability to take in outdoor adventure travel and sports for much longer than just tourist season.
Golf is a major pastime here. Ironwood Golf Course and Desert Hills Golf Course are just two of at least nine golf courses in the Yuma area.
Fans of the outdoors will enjoy birdwatching at the Imperial Wildlife Refuge, and a visit to the western-style ghost town at the Castle Dome Mines Museum & Ghost Town is considered a must-see in some circles.
Local history buffs will want to see Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park, with a historic prison facility that’s been around since 1876. Yuma Crossing State Historic Park is another excellent option. Those interested in early America should visit the Century House Museum, which features a collection of artifacts and exhibits focused on pioneer-era events.
MCAS Yuma Mission and Units
Marine Corps Air Station Yuma supports aerial weapons training. It has an impressive set of weapons ranges, and some 4500 Marines and Sailors are assigned here.
Yuma is home to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 (MAWTS-1), Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 1 (VMX-1) and Marine Fighter Training Squadron 401 (VMFT-401).
Important missions and units at the Air Station have included:
- Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 4 VMU 4
- Marine Wing Support Squadron MWSS 371
- 1st Force Service Support Group CLC 16
- Marine Air Control Squadron MACS 1
- Marine Aircraft Group 13 MAG 13
- Marine All Weather Flight Aircraft VMFA 121 Temp
- Marine Attack Squadron VMA 211
- Marine Attack Squadron VMA 214
- Marine Attack Squadron VMA 311
- Marine Attack Squadron VMA 513
- Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 13 MALS 13
- Marine Aviation Weapons & Tactics Squadron 1 MAWTS 1
- Marine Fighter Training Squadron 401
This base routinely supports approximately 600 aircraft and trains approximately 14 thousand troops annually.
In-Processing and Check-In
All who arrive at MCAS Yuma on PCS or TDY orders should check in with their gaining unit. Hand carry all travel orders, medical records, DEERS updates, and other crucial information to your inprocessing appointment once scheduled.
If you arrive after normal duty hours, report to Station Headquarters, Building 980. Call 928-269-2252 for assistance.
Child Care At MCAS YUMA
MCAS Yuma Child Development Centers provide child care on-post. Full-day, part-day, and hourly/drop-in care are offered with hourly care on a space-available basis only. Due to high demand, waiting lists may apply. You can make reservations or learn about waiting list requirements by calling 928-269-2350.
You may also explore child care options with the Family Child Care (FCC) program, which is a DoD program offering additional on-base care options provided by private certified and inspected family homes in base housing.
The FCC program operates on some, but not all, military bases and may depend on whether or not there is a participating community offering these services. Call the Child Development Center as soon as you have orders to MCAS Yuma to learn your options, waiting list times, and whether FCC is available at the time of your arrival.
Housing At MCAS Yuma
MCAS Yuma housing operations are privatized and managed by Lincoln Military Housing. Due to high utility costs in the area, on-base housing is preferable and you should expect elevated air conditioning costs for roughly 8 months out of the year compared to other assignments.
Temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit are not unusual in this part of the country. Due to demand, there are waiting lists for on-base housing. Call Lincoln Military Housing at 928-269-2826.
Unaccompanied service members with PCS orders to MCAS Yuma may not be required to live on post but doing so is strongly encouraged. Especially for those E5 or below or arriving at MCAS Yuma as their first duty station.
Related: BAH Calculator
PCS and TDY Lodging
MCAS Yuma TLF provides temporary lodging for those on PCS or TDY orders to the area. If you have PCS orders, you can make reservations as early as a full year in advance, otherwise, reservations are accepted 90 days out.
If you travel with pets, you may be required to stay in a local commercial hotel instead. Pet-friendly facilities may not be available, and it’s not safe to assume there is a place for your pet without reservations with pets specifically listed.
Call to make reservations: 928-269-2262. You will be given priority if you are traveling on PCS orders.
Yuma International Airport is about 5 miles from the base. The usual ride-sharing, shuttles, taxis, and other options may be available depending on the time of your arrival, demand, tourist season, etc. It’s always best to coordinate your arrival with your sponsor for best results.
Vehicle Registration And Driver’s License
MCAS Yuma requires vehicle registration before you can use a privately owned vehicle on-post. Register at the MCAS Yuma Pass and Registration Office within 30 days of the report. To register, you will need the following documentation:
- Valid Armed Forces Identification card (AFID/CAC)
- Valid state registration for the vehicle
- Valid state operator’s/driver’s license
- Proof of valid insurance.
- If under 26 years old, must show verification of Driver’s Improvement Course
If you are on active duty you are not required to register a vehicle with the State of AZ.
MCAS Yuma Schools
There are no DoD schools on board MCAS Yuma. All school-age children attend classes in the off-post community. Typically, school choice options are based on location; many elementary schools in the area, five middle schools, and there are separate school districts for high schools.
School districts in Yuma include:
- Crane Elementary School District
- Yuma Elementary School District One
- Yuma Union High School District
- Somerton School District
Contact the MCAS Yuma School Liaison at 928-269-5373 for additional information on enrollment, transfer, and immunization requirements. Transportation to local schools may be available depending on the school and your location.
Colleges and Universities
There are a handful of colleges in the local area, including:
- Arizona Western College
- Northern Arizona University
- University of Arizona
- Arizona State University
The MCAS Yuma Education Center offers help for military members and family members to enter college, training, or other higher education opportunities. Call them at 928-269-3248. Services include:
- Academic and Career Counseling
- Tuition Assistance up to $4500 per fiscal year for active-duty service members
- Monthly Montgomery GI Bill®/Post 9/11 GI Bill® Briefing
- MYCAA (Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts Program) information
- Scholarship/Financial Aid Assistance
- Joint Services Transcripts (JST)
- Proctoring Services
- United Services Military Apprenticeship Program (USMAP)
Related: Ultimate GI Bill Benefits Guide
MCAS Yuma Contacts
Ave 3E Main Gate
Yuma, AZ 85369-9132
Important MCAS Yuma Contact Phone Numbers
- Base Operator (928) 269-2011
- Child Development Center (Annex) (928) 269-2349
- Child Development Center (CDC) (928) 269-2350
- EFMP Enrollment (928) 269-2425
- EFMP Family Support (928) 269-2425
- Navy-Marine Corps. Relief Society (928) 269-2373
- Family Advocacy Program, Counseling Branch (928) 269-2561
- Marine and Family Services/Family Center (928) 269-5615
- New Parent Support Program (928) 269-2308
- Relocation Assistance Program (RAP) (928) 269-2425
- SARC Emergency Number (928) 941-3650
- Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (928) 941-3601
- Victim Advocate Emergency Number (928) 941-3650
- BCAC Health Benefits Advisor (928) 269-2916
- Branch Health Clinic (928) 269-2772
- Dental Clinic (928) 269-2353
- Housing Assignments/Referrals (928) 269-2826
- Lincoln Military Housing (928) 344-1240
- Billeting Office (928) 269-3578
- Dos Rios Inn (928) 269-2262
- ID/CAC Card Processing (928) 269-3588
- Pass & Registration (928) 269-2888
- Citizenship and Immigration Services (928) 269-2481
- Legal Assistance (928) 269-2481
- Victim Advocate Services (928) 269-2561
- Station Library (928) 269-2785
- Family Child Care (FCC) (928) 269-3233
- School Age Care / Youth Center (928) 269-3659
- School Liaison Services (928) 269-5373
- Household Goods/ Transportation INBOUND (928) 269-2313
- Household Goods/ Transportation OUTBOUND (928) 269-2311
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.