Military Base Guide: Buckley Space Force Base Colorado
Buckley Space Force Base, Colorado, was formerly a 14th Air Force and Air Force Space Command base. But since the advent of the United States Space Force, the base has been redesignated and transferred from the Air Force to Space Force.
Buckley Space Force Base History
Buckley wasn’t always reaching for the stars; this installation had humble beginnings as Buckley Field, named after a World War One fighter pilot, 1st Lieutenant John Harold Buckley. Like many soon-to-be Air Force bases, this one began as a WW2-era Army operation.
Roughly 50 thousand troops received training for the war across various fields; at the end of the war, Buckley would change hands multiple times, including a stint as a Navy installation.
It would be known as Naval Air Station Denver until 1959, when it was redesignated Buckley Air Force Base, but this lasted only about a year.
The installation made history as the first modern Air National Guard Base. It would become the home of the 120th Tactical Fighter Squadron, which supported operations during the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam. Later missions included Operations Desert Storm, Northern Watch, and Iraqi Freedom.
At the turn of the 21st century, Buckley became an active duty base again, acquiring the 460th Space Wing in 2001. Two decades later, the base made history when it was renamed Buckley Space Force Base on June 4, 2021.
According to the Department of Defense, “The name change does not bespeak a change in Buckley’s mission but rather signifies a realignment of our installation under the Space Force. It also highlights the multi-faceted mission of the base and tenant units across multiple domains – Air, Space, Cyberspace, Land, and Sea.”
Related: Comprehensive Military Benefits Guide
Buckley SFB Surrounding Area
Buckley is part of a larger military community in the area that includes Peterson Space Force Base, Fort Carson, and Schriever SFB.
You’ll have roughly half an hour’s drive to Buckley SFB from Denver, and the mile-high city is a place many return to for the major league sports (Colorado Rockies, the Denver Broncos, and the Colorado Avalanche) as well as attractions like the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
There is a thriving live music culture here, with plenty of venues to explore. Those stationed at Buckley also enjoy an easy drive to Colorado Springs, which features the Garden Of The Gods, a registered National Landmark complete with trails and tours.
Broadmoor World Arena in “the ‘Springs” is also an attraction; some also explore the Broadmoor Resort while here. Family-friendly adventures are also at the Colorado Springs National Museum of World War II Aviation and the Petersen Air And Space Museum.
Buckley SFB is in an area known for its recreational cannabis culture. You’ll need to pay close attention during your in-processing briefings to learn what establishments are off-limits to military members and what current issues may affect your spouse and dependents–especially those who live in military housing.
Related: Disabled Veteran Benefits Guide
Buckley SFB Mission and Units
Space Base Delta 2 (SBD2) is the host unit at Buckley and is responsible for “day-to-day support to the operational mission of the Space Delta 4 (DEL 4) Missile Warning Delta.” According to the DoD, Buckley SFB and DEL 4 “directly support Combatant Commands across the globe.”
There are more than 100 tenant units at Buckley, including the 140th Air Wing, Colorado Air National Guard (COANG), and the Aerospace Data Facility Colorado.
At press time, there are some 3,500 active duty members from every service and 4,000 National Guard and Reserve troops serving at Buckley.
Major units and missions at Buckley SFB also include:
- 460th Civil Engineering Squadron
- 460th Force Support Squadron
- 460th Logistics Squadron
- 460th Medical Squadron
- 460th Security Forces Squadron
- 460th Space Wing
- 566 IS
- 743d Military Intelligence Battalion
- Air Reserve Personnel Center
- Battery A, 1st Battalion, 14th Marines
- Defense Finance and Accounting Systems Denver Center
- Detachment 45, Space and Missile System Center
- Military Entrance Processing Station
- Naval Security Group Denver
- Navy and Marine Corps Reserve Center
- Navy Personnel Support Detachment
- Second Space Warning Squadron (2SWS)
In-Processing and Check-In
If you are traveling to Buckley SFB on PCS orders, check in with your gaining unit Command Support Staff during normal duty hours.
The day you check-in, you may start your in-processing. Be prepared for this, including a visit to the Buckley SFB Finance Office for travel voucher submission. The Buckley Space Force Base Military Personnel Section handles check-ins for those who do not have Command Support Staff assistance upon arrival.
Buckley SFB Child Care
Buckley SFB has two Child Development Centers on base. Registration is required, and be prepared to open or maintain an account at militarychildcare.com to request child care at Buckley. Waiting lists may apply. CDC care here is offered for children six weeks to kindergarten age.
Child Development Centers provide full-time care with hourly options offered on a space-available basis. CDCs here are closed on all federal holidays. There may be additional childcare options via Buckley’s Family Child Care (FCC) program, which features base residents offering licensed, inspected child care in their homes.
Housing at Buckley SFB is operated as a public/private partnership with Hunt Military Communities. DoD websites are, at press time, still encouraging those with PCS orders to Buckley to use the Air Force Housing website to learn more about housing options at Buckley.
If you arrive at the base on PCS orders, do not sign any binding agreements for housing before you check in with the Military Housing Office (MHO) for local housing counseling.
Are you a single or unaccompanied military member PCSing here? Expect to be assigned base housing in the barracks if you are between the rank of E-1 to E-3. Unaccompanied service members E-4 or above may be asked to find housing in the local community.
PCS and TDY Lodging
If you are traveling to the area on orders, there is temporary lodging at Buckley at the Rocky Mountain Lodge. Make reservations online at the Department of Defense Lodging website. Pet facilities may be limited or unavailable.
Don’t assume you can bring pets without specific authorization. It is best to make reservations as soon as you have orders, as this base may have peak PCS and TDY seasons to contend with.
Typical Uber and similar ride-sharing options, as well as commercial taxis and shuttles, may be available from Denver International Airport, but much depends on when you arrive. Local traffic issues may seriously affect the duration and cost of your journey during peak travel times and tourist season.
It is best to plan your arrival with your sponsor; ask them for the best options to travel from the airport or arrange for your sponsor to meet you at Denver International Airport.
Vehicle Registration And Driver’s License
When PCSing to the State of Colorado, know that Colorado drivers must get emissions testing for all automobiles for vehicles made in 1982 or newer. These vehicles may be tested once every other year. Annual emissions tests are required for all vehicles made before 1981
You do not need to register a vehicle on base to drive at Buckely, but drivers must carry a current license, unexpired vehicle registration, military ID, and proof of minimum insurance.
When driving on base, all privately owned vehicles must not enter areas marked “Controlled” or “Restricted” unless the driver and passengers carry the required clearances.
According to the DoD, those living on base housing at Buckley SFB may send their children to the Aurora Public School District. For those who live off-base, there are multiple public school options in the local area. Depending on where you live, your options may include:
- Aurora Public Schools
- Douglas County Public Schools
- Denver Public Schools
- Cherry Creek Schools
Registration requirements will vary but expect to hand-carry the following documents to the school:
- Photo ID of Parent/Guardian
- Birth certificate or an acceptable-to-the-school copy
- Valid passport
- Proof of address
- Immunization records.
Call the Buckley SFB School Liaison Office for more information: 720-847-6694.
Colleges and Universities
If you need continuing education or college courses while stationed at Buckley, visit the Buckley Space Force Base Training and Education Office for information on Tuition Assistance, scholarships, Professional Military Education, and VA education benefit programs.
Nearby colleges include:
- Community College of Aurora
- Everest College
- Cambridge College
- Columbia College
- University of Colorado
Related: Military Tuition Assistance
Main Base Address and Phone Numbers
Buckley SFB (6th Ave Gate)
18500 East 6th Ave
Aurora, CO 80011
Important Buckley Air Force Base Contact Numbers
- AFOSI (720) 847-6624
- Airman & Family Readiness (720) 847-6681
- American Red Cross (303) 722-7474
- Buckley Clinic (720) 847-9355
- Command Post (720) 847-5613
- Crime Stop (720) 847-7770
- Emergency 911
- Flight Medicine (720) 847-6971
- Inspector General (720) 847-9277
- SARC (720) 847-7272
- Security Forces (720) 847-9250
- Snow Line (720) 847-7669
- Education Office (720) 847-6675
Related: Veteran Education Benefits Guide