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Military Base Guide: Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona

Home of the 355th Wing, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base is in Tucson, Arizona, roughly seven miles from the downtown area.

This base supports 12th Air Force (AFSOUTH), the 55th Electronic Combat Group, 943rd Rescue Group (AFRC), and the 214th Attack Group (ANG).

But David-Monthan is likely best known for the work of the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group, which operates “the Boneyard”, an aircraft storage facility with more than 4,000 individual planes stored here after being retired from active service.

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base History

Davis-Monthan AFB is named after two people who died in aviation-related accidents; 1st Lieutenant Samuel H. Davis was killed on December 22, 1921, and 2nd Lieutenant Oscar Monthan was killed on March 27, 1924.

The installation we know today as Davis-Monthan Air Force Base opened in 1924 with none other than Charles Lindbergh leading the opening ceremonies.

When it was known as Army Air Base Tucson, Arizona, the base was used to train B-17 and B-24 crews, with the addition of the B-29 Superfortress bomber training program in 1944.

The 355th Fighter Group flew its first combat mission during World War Two in the skies over Belgium and later served as escorts for night-time bombing raids on Berlin.

In 1947 the Air Force became a separate branch of service; many former Army Air Force operations were rebranded as Air Force missions.

The base was redesignated Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, and since then, Davis-Monthan has been a part of nearly every major Air Force mission, including Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, and Noble Eagle.

Davis-Monthan AFB Surrounding Area

Tucson, Arizona, is the second-largest city in the state, with half a million-plus residents as of the 2020 U.S. Census.

There are “incorporated suburbs” in the Tucson area, including Oro Valley and Marana. The state features many amazing outdoor adventure opportunities like the Sonoran Desert, Tucson Botanical Garden, Colossal Cave Mountain Park, and Kartchner Caverns State Park.

There is plenty of historic preservation here; the Hotel Congress was designed in 1919, the Art Deco Fox Theatre is from 1929, and the historic Pima County Courthouse was built in 1928. There is a lot of early and mid-20th-century Americana on display here.

Kitt Peak National Observatory and the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory are very popular among visitors and locals alike.

You’ll discover Spanish and Tohono O’odham cultures at the Mission San Xavier del Bac, and you can see hundreds of aircraft on display at the Pima Air & Space Museum.

Davis-Monthan AFB Mission and Units

Davis-Monthan is an Air Combat Command base. The host unit, 355th Fighter Wing, trains A-10C Thunderbolt II pilots, 355th Wing, and is responsible for training and deploying A-10C Thunderbolt II pilots. The aircraft inventory at Davis-Monthan also includes:

  • EC-130H Compass Calls
  • HC-130J Combat Kings
  • HH-60G Pave Hawks
  • F-16 Fighting Falcons

Important missions and units here have included:

  • 355th Maintenance Group
  • 924th Maintenance Squadron
  • 924th Fighter Group
  • 47th Fighter Squadron
  • 68th Rescue Squadron 1
  • 923d Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
  • 55th Electronic Combat Group
  • 12th Air Force
  • 563rd Rescue Group
  • 55th Electronic Combat Group
  • 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group
  • 25th Operational Weather Squadron

In-Processing and Check-In

If you arrive at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base during normal duty hours, check in with your gaining unit and your gaining Command Support Staff.

Expect to begin in-processing 72 hours from check-in. In Processing includes stops at Finance, a household goods appointment at the Traffic Management Office (TMO), and a Medical inprocessing appointment. According to the Dod, “Spouses and children should attend” if possible.

You will also have an appointment with the Military Housing Office; don’t enter into legally binding agreements for local housing until you have unprocessed through the Housing Office.

Davis-Monthan AFB Child Care

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base has two Child Development Centers; the Finley CDC and the Davis-Monthan CDC.

These centers offer full-time care for the children of active duty and DoD civilians stationed at the base. Waiting lists for preschool, hourly care, and special programs for parents may apply. To enroll your children once you have orders to the base, you’ll need to gather the following documents: are also available depending on demand and space available.

  • AF Form 1181
  • Emergency contact and phone number
  • Current immunization record
  • Family Care Plan
  • Current financial details (for establishing your fees)

Davis-Monthan AFB also has in-home Family Child Care options; you may be able to place children in registered, inspected, and supervised on-base care in private homes.

Related: VA Life Insurance Overview

Housing at Davis-Monthan

Military Family Housing is privatized in a public/private partnership between the base and Soaring Heights Communities.

Contact the Housing Management Office when you have PCS orders to the base; you’ll get information on signing up for waiting lists, how to apply for on-base housing, and base policies for living in privatized housing. Call the HMO at 520-228-3687.

Single and unaccompanied troops PCSing to the base should contact their gaining unit Command Support Staff to learn what options are available for on-base quarters or off-base accommodations.

Depending on rank and time-in-service, some junior troops may be required to live on base, while others may be authorized BAH to live in the local community.

Related: VA Home Loan Guide

PCS and TDY Lodging

Temporary lodging at Davis-Monthan is provided by The Inn on Davis-Monthan, with reservations available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by phone (520-228-3309.)

Reservations can also be made on a space-available basis up to 120 days in advance of the arrival date, for up to three-night stays.

If you are traveling on orders, it’s best to make reservations in advance, especially during peak PCS season, peak training times, etc. Pet-friendly facilities may not be available; call in advance to learn what your options are.


The closest commercial airport to the base is Tucson International Airport which is typically a 10-minute ride.

The usual ride-sharing and commercial taxis/shuttles may be available depending on the time of your arrival, tourist season, etc. Coordinate with your sponsor if you aren’t sure about navigating the local area once you arrive.

Vehicle Registration And Driver’s License

Only those with valid, unexpired DOD ID cards are allowed on base without a sponsor. Those without ID must stop at the Visitor Center to get a pass. If you are driving on the base for the first time you must stop at the Base Legal Office.

Military members stationed here may qualify for discounted vehicle registration fees, but you must get a statement from the Base Legal Office “affirming that they are physically assigned in Arizona,” according to the DoD.

All vehicles entering or leaving Davis-Monthan are subject to search. You must have current vehicle registration and insurance.

Schools at Davis-Monthan AFB

The Tucson area features many public school districts with on and off-base options. Schools here include:

  • Borman Elementary School,
  • Sonoran Science Academy
  • Palo Verde High School
  • Roberts Naylor K-8

Arizona is an open enrollment state, so you can place children in schools outside the local neighborhood school. Those who choose to do so must provide their own transportation.

Contact the Davis-Monthan AFB School Liaison Office at (520) 228-6040 for more information and details on how to enroll new students in Arizona.

Colleges and Universities

If you are interested in taking classes on base, you have multiple options. At press time these are the current schools offering classes on the installation but check with the base Education office or Installation Education Center to learn what may be available when you apply.

  • Pima Community College (PCC) offers traditional semesters featuring daytime and nighttime options, plus the ability to take accelerated classes. This college has six campuses to choose from as well as on-base. PCC’s on-base office also offers Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) testing by appointment.
  • Park University also has a campus at Davis-Monthan, offering three associate degrees and ten bachelor’s degrees.
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is said to be the “only accredited, aviation-oriented university in the world” according to the DoD. Embry-Riddle has traditional residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Florida, and Prescott, Arizona but also in Tucson, Arizona. They offer accelerated classes and offer credit for military experience and training.

Related: Military Tuition Assistance Guide


5355 E. Granite Street
Building 2441
Tucson, AZ 85707-3526

  • 520-228-5690
  • (DSN) 312-228-5690

Important Contacts at Davis-Monthan AFB

  • Airman and Family Readiness Center – EFMP Family Support  (520) 228-5690
  • Airman and Family Readiness Center -Davis-Monthan Career Focus Program (Spouse Employment) (520) 228-5690
  • Civilian Personnel Office (520) 228-3712
  • Davis-Monthan Family Advocacy (520) 228-2104
  • Family Center (520) 228-5690
  • Davis-Monthan Family Child Care (520) 228-2201
  • Chapels (520) 228-5411
  • Civilian Personnel Office (520) 228-3712
  • Hospital/Medical Treatment Facility (520) 228-2669
  • ID/CAC Card Processing (520) 228-1818
  • Information and Referral Services (520) 228-5690
  • Legal Services/JAG (520) 228-3168
  • Personnel Support Office (520) 228-4425
  • VA Facilities (520) 792-1450
  • Welcome/Visitors Center (520) 228-4886
  • Finance Office (520) 228-5111
  • Housing Office/Government Housing (520) 228-3687
  • Temporary Lodging/Billeting (520) 228-3230
  • Barracks/Single Service Member Housing (520) 228-5089

Related: DoD Priority Placement Program for Military Spouses

About the author

Editor | + posts

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.