The complete guide to Andrews Air Force Base - We Are The Mighty
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The complete guide to Andrews Air Force Base

Heading to the National Capital Region for a duty assignment at Andrews Air Force Base? Well, then, you’re in luck! Not only is the NCR one of the best places to ever be stationed, but this Air Force installation is often called the military’s “premier” joint base. Joint Base Andrews is under the jurisdiction of the Air Force’s 316th Wing, the Air Force District of Washington. It’s also home to Army, Navy, and Marine Units. There’s even a chapter of the Civil Air Patrol! You probably know it as the installation that houses two Boeing VC-25s – the aircraft with the Air Force One call sign. Read on to find out what you can expect when you call the NCR home. 

Overview 

This important installation is physically located in the town of Camp Springs, Maryland and is bordered by four other towns – Clinton, Upper Marlboro, Town of Morningside, and Forestville. The installation itself is relatively small; census population puts the installation at less than 3,000. However, because the 316th Wing is so massive, more than 60,000 Airmen and families call the area home. Andrews is a total area of about seven square miles. There are two runways on base; the western runway is 11,3000 feet and the eastern is 9.750 feet long. 

Andrews Air Force Base Location

JB Andrews is located in Prince George’s County, Maryland. It’s about 10 miles outside of Washington, D.C. and about 15 miles from Virginia. 

andrews air force base ceremony
Joint Base Andrews comes together for the 9/11 memorial ceremony held on JBA Sept. 11, 2019. Nearly 3,000 people lost their lives in the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Noah Sudolcan)

Directions

From I-95/495 South to Main Gate:

Take exit 9, turn right at the stop sign. At the light turn right onto Allentown Road and then turn left at the next light. 

From I-95/495 to Virginia Gate:

Take exit 7A, Route 5 South (Branch Avenue). Follow Branch south and take the Coventry way exit.Then turn left. Next, turn right onto Old Alexandria Ferry Road. Turn left at Virginia Ave, and proceed through the Virginia Gate. 

From I-95/495 North to North Gate:

Take exit 9 and follow around. At the light, make left onto Allentown Road. Then merge onto Suitland Parkway. Follow signs. 

From 95/495 South to North Gate:

Take exit 11A, Route 4 South/Pennsylvania Avenue. Make sure you stay to the right. Then go through the first light and at the next light, make a right onto Suitland Parkway. Follow signs. 

From 95/495 North to Pearl Harbor Gate:

Transportation

There are three airports in the NCR – Ronald Reagan National, Dulles International, and Baltimore-Washington International. Ronald Reagan National is closest to JB Andrews. Depending on traffic, it might take anywhere from 30-45 minutes to reach base. Dulles is further out; expect the drive to take over an hour or sometimes two, depending on the time of day you’re traveling. BWI is 25 miles away from base; drives take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. 

JB Andrews is located off of Exit 9 of I-495, about 10 miles southeast of Washington DC in Camp Springs, Maryland.

One very important thing to keep in mind is that JB Andrews does not allow same day unofficial guests without authorized base access credentials. 

Due to security concerns, taxis are not permitted on base. You’ll need to stop at the Visitor Control Center first and then proceed on foot. 

Gates and Hours 

There are four gates at JB Andrews. 

Main Gate, 24/7

Pearl Harbor (West) Gate, Monday – Sunday 0600 – 1800

Virginia Gate, Monday – Sunday 0600 – 1800

North Gate is closed until further notice. 

andrews air force base 9/11 ceremony
An Airman salutes during the sequence of events at the 9/11 memorial ceremony held on Joint Base Andrews, Md. Sept. 11, 2019. Nearly 3,000 people lost their lives in the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Noah Sudolcan)

Contacts at Andrews Air Force Base

CWT/Sato Travel Office 800-705-7286

Chapel Two (301) 568-0180

Child Development Center (301) 981-3055/3324

JP Hoyer Child Development Center (240) 857-3207

Commissary (240) 857-6512 

Community Activity Center (301) 981-4041

Dental Clinic (240) 857-2854

Family Support Center (301) 981-7087

Freedom Hall DFAC (301) 981-5303

Education and Training Center (301) 981-677

Hangar One (301) 568-3100

ID Card Section/DEERS (301) 981-2277

Information, Ticket, and Tours (301) 981-4109

Laundrette (301) 735-9673

Legal Office (240) 612-5750

Library (301) 981-6454

Malcolm Grow Medical Center (240) 612-4866

Medical NAF Washington (240) 857-9764

Military Housing Office (301) 736-8082

NAF Human Resources Office (310) 981-5614

Optometry (301) 735-1393

Passenger Terminal Space A (301) 981-3604

Personal & Family Readiness Program (301) 981-7087

Pharmacy – Refill (240) 857-4893

School Liaison Office (301) 981-0057

Traffic Management Office (TMO) (301) 981-7520

Transition Assistance Program (TAP) (301) 981-7087

Visitor Center (301) 981-0689

Mission and Units

The 11th Wing is the host wing at JB Andrews. This wing is responsible for providing security, personnel, contracting, finance, and infrastructure support for six additional wings, 2 HQs, and over 50 tenants. But that’s not all. The 11th Wing is also responsible for contingency ops in DC and can provide immediate response rotary-assets. Translation: This wing can get the important people out of the capital when need be. It’s also responsible for ceremonial support for the Air Force Band, the Honor Guard, and the Air Force Arlington Chaplaincy.

Major tenants include 89th Airlift Wing, the 79th Medical Wing, the 113th Wing (D.C. Air National Guard), and the 459th Air Refueling Wing (Air Force Reserve Command). Additionally, the 457th Airlift Squadron, the 744th Communications Squadron, and the 844th Communications Group are all embedded on the installation. 

andrews air force base history
Dozens of aircraft from yesterday, today and tomorrow, repair and rescue vehicles, and static military and civilian displays greeted the thousands of visitors to the flight line at Andrews Air Force Base May 15-17 with the 2009 Joint Service Open House, an event showing off the outstanding work done by members of the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy.

Andrews AFB History

Andrews AFB is one of the few current DoD installations that can trace its history back to the Civil War. The Union Army occupied a small church as its headquarters for soldiers stationed nearby. Today, that church is called Chapel Two and the installation still uses it. 

In 1942, President Roosevelt ordered the War Secretary to build an airfield at the present site of JB Andrews. Within a year, the first permanent unit arrived. Camp Springs, as it was known, was fully operational in May 1943. After the Air Force became a separate branch of the military, the base’s name was changed.

Following WWII, Andrews had many uses, including being the HQ for Continental Air Command, Strategic Air Command, and the Military Air Transport Service. However, it’s best known for its special air mission role – transporting senior military and government leaders. 

In fact, President Truman was the first to fly a presidential flight from Andrews. Then, when President Kennedy’s aircraft permanently transferred to base in 1962, the installation officially became home of Air Force One. 

Andrews AFB is named for Lt. Gen. Frank Maxwell Andrews, a former Commanding General of the European Theater during WWII.

Things to Do Around Andrews AFB

Not only do you have access to so much to do, see, and enjoy, but being stationed at Andrews means you can also take advantage of Space A flights! Check out the current schedule here.

Hotels

Country Inn & Suites Camp Springs (240) 492-1070

Hampton Inn & Suites Camp Springs (240) 532-5510

Holiday Inn Express Camp Springs (301) 423 2323

Sleep Inn & Suites Upper Marlboro (301) 599-9400

TownePlace Suites Clinton (301) 856-2266

Food Scene

Foodies, you’ll be so happy living in the NCR! From the crab and seafood in Maryland to Virginia’s famous Brunswick stew, your taste buds will delight in trying everything this region has to offer. In Maryland, make sure you visit an authentic crab shack. When it’s time for something sweet, seek out a Smith Island cake. The cake is made from 8-10 thin layers of yellow cake with chocolate fudge frosting as a filler. 

andrews air force base marathon
A half marathon participant finishes the last leg of the race April 13, 2013, at Joint Base Andrews, Md. A half marathon is 13.1 miles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Brittany E. Jones)

Activities

The closeness to Washington D.C. means endless activities await! From days at the Smithsonian museums to checking out the monuments along the National Mall, you’ll always find something to do. Keep in mind that tourist season runs from spring through autumn. So expect longer wait times and lots of crowds. Speaking of our nation’s capital, here’s the history of Arlington National Cemetery.

Further afield, the NCR offers so much more to see and do! Shenandoah Valley is great for hiking and when you just want a day away from the city. The National Army museum and the Marine Corps museum are both just a short drive away, too. 

Andrews AFB Housing

First things first, contact the Military Housing Office as soon as you receive orders. The MHO can help with referrals, relocation assistance, and more. 

Housing is privatized on base. Liberty Park Communities owns and manages housing. Your housing choices will depend on your family size and rank. Community amenities include several playgrounds, tennis courts, a fitness center, and more.

The cost of living in the NCR is high, so base housing might be the most economical choice. If your family decides to live off base, there are several areas around the installation. Ask the MHO for more information.

Of course, Airmen ranks E1-E3 and E4s with less than four years of service are required to live in the barracks. 

Schools Near Andrews Air Force Base

Unfortunately, there aren’t any schools located on base. However, Prince George’s County Public Schools is one of the country’s largest school districts. That means it should be relatively simple to find a school to fit your needs. However, there’s a lottery application for these schools. It runs annually from November – January for the following school year. Other choices include Alexandria (Virginia) Public Schools and Charles County Public Schools. To find out more about this school district and your choices, call the School Liaison Office. 

andrews air force base air show
A P-51 Mustang flies over Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, during a Military Tattoo on base Sept. 17, 2015. The “Warbirds flight” also consisted of two B-25 Mitchells and two P-40 Warhawks. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mariah Haddenham/Released)

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Andrews called a joint base?

Andrews is a joint base because both the Air Force and the Navy have units embedded there. 

What is the population of Joint Base Andrews?

The base itself is pretty small, but the surrounding National Capital Region is massive and very welcoming to service members and families. 

Who is stationed at Joint Base Andrews?

Air Force personnel are primarily stationed at JB Andrews, but there are units from all DoD branches as well. 

What is Joint Base Andrews used for?

Andrews is most famous for being the home of the aircraft that use the call sign Air Force One when the president is onboard. 

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