The complete guide to Hanscom Air Force Base

Jessica Evans
Updated onDec 12, 2022 11:18 PM PST
6 minute read
Hanscom Air Force Base

Lt. Gen. Dorothy Hogg, Air Force Surgeon General, left, walks with Capt. Jenifer Mouser, 66th Medical Squadron officer in charge of Laboratory and Radiology services, during a visit to Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., May 11. During her visit, Hogg spoke with Airmen about training and development opportunities throughout the Air Force Medical Service. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lauren Russell)


Searching for info on Hanscom AFB housing? Or maybe you’re wondering what life in Bedford, Massachusetts, is going to be…

Searching for info on Hanscom AFB housing? Or maybe you’re wondering what life in Bedford, Massachusetts, is going to be like after your PCS. If you’ve never been to the Greater Boston area, prepare yourself for your new favorite place - especially if you love fresh shellfish, snowy weather and exploring the great outdoors! Hanscom is just about 20 miles northwest of Boston, so a trip to the city is never out of reach. And, since the installation is considered a walking base, there’s no reason you even need a car. Read on to find out more of what to expect when you call Hanscom AFB home. Speaking of Boston, here's how coffee became the official morning (afternoon, and evening!) beverage of America.

Hanscom Air Force Base Location

Hanscom Air Force Base is located two miles outside of Bedford, MA, and about 20 miles northwest of Boston.

An Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Aerial Networks Division holiday sign is covered in fresh snow near the F-86 static display at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., Dec. 17. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Maki)


Hanscom AFB can be reached by car using the following routes.

Heading in from the north? Take I-95 S to Bedford, MA.

Driving from the south? Take I-95 N to Bedford, MA.

Making the trek from the west? Take I-90 E to I-95 N.

Coming from Boston? Take I-93 N to I-95 S.


Flying to the closest airports: Boston Logan International Airport

Boston Logan International Airport (26 miles) is the closest airport and has flights with most major airlines.

Driving is possible but not necessary. If you do choose to drive, prepare for a long drive from the west or south!

Airman 1st Class Everly Wilkes, Joint Personal Property Shipping Office Northeast Detachment 2 movement support technician, poses for a photo at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., Oct. 23. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Maki)

Contacts at Hanscom AFB

Airman and Family Readiness Center: (781) 225-2765

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment: (781) 225-6392

Child Development Center: (781) 225-6128

Chaplain: (781) 225-5501

Civilian Personnel Office: (781) 225-1401

Clinic Services: (781) 225-6789

Command Post: (781) 225-6960

Commissary: (781) 377-4210

Dorm Management: (781) 225-2219

Education Center: (781) 225-5942

EFMP - Family Support: (781) 225-2765

Equal Opportunity Office: (781) 225-6397

Family Child Care: (781) 225-3330

Health & Wellness Center: (781) 225-6374 

Housing Office: (781) 225-5638

ID/CAC Processing: (781) 225-1320

Information and Referral Services: (781) 225-2765

Inspector General: (781) 225-5533

Legal Assistance: (781) 225-1410

Lodging Reservations: (781) 225-4444

Mental Health Clinic: (781) 225-6392

Military Family Life Counselors: (781) 225-2763 | (781) 315-7992

Outdoor Recreation: (781) 225-6621

Public Affairs Office: (781) 225-1686

School Liaison: (781) 225-2765

Sexual Assault Prevention and Response 24/7 Hotline: (781) 225-7272

Transportation Incentive Program: (781) 225-6913

Unaccompanied Housing: (781) 225-2219

Veterinary Clinic: (781) 225-2772

Welcome Center: (781) 225-6642

Mission and Units 

Hanscom is what’s known as a non-flying base because it manages the development and acquisition of electronic command and control systems. As the systems gather info, commanders can make quick decisions on how to best keep America safe. The base also hosts tenant units and offices, including the Hanscom Education Center, Retirees Office and Band of Liberty.

At Hanscom, you’ll find the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. The AFLCMC is the only center solely responsible for managing the life cycle of all AF weapon systems. 

Bobby Jacques, a retired chief master sergeant, holds a portrait of himself recently while in his office on base where he serves as a civilian employee for the 66th Air Base Group. Jacques served on active duty from 1965 through 1995, retiring as the Electronic Systems Center Senior Enlisted Advisor (command chief equivalent). Jacques, a Vietnam veteran, held many positions throughout his career, most in Air Force Recruiting Service. He was one of the 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year in 1983. Jacques is one of many veteran’s continuing his service as a member of the Hanscom civilian workforce. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Maki)

Hanscom AFB History

Initially built to serve as an auxiliary airport to Boston Logan, Hanscom was requisitioned by the War Department in 1942. Then it served as the home of the Army Air Corps 85th Fighter Squadron. During the time it was operational, it hosted over 100 plans and trained hundreds of pilots. 

After the war, the DoD built Cambridge Field Station to train service members on radio and radar. As with most Army Air Corps installations, it eventually transferred from Air command to Air Force command. 

Despite playing a vital role in both Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Hanscom was slated to close in 1994. Then, a group of advocates, including astronaut Mark C. Lee and members of the Air Force, lobbied to keep it open by  partially opening it to civilian use.

Now it’s a unique blend of civilian and military operations. It’s under the control of Air Force Materiel Command and is focused entirely on research and electronic systems. Speaking of the Materiel Command, here's how the AF is increasing readiness with science, tech, and innovation.

Jenny Finazzo, a spouse, navigates an obstacle on the Alpha Warrior Station at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., May 9. The Air Force Alpha Warrior Tour, managed by the Air Force Services Activity, introduces the fitness initiative to Airmen at Air Force installations around the world. The tour was at Hanscom AFB May 8 and 9. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Maki)

Things to Do Around Hanscom AFB


Bedford Motel (4.4 miles)

Extended Stay America - Boston-Burlington (5.7 miles)

Element Lexington (2.9 miles)

Food Scene 

Did you know that Massachusetts is the most populous state in all of New England? Even more exciting is that nearly 80 percent of that population is from the Greater Boston area - Bedford included! That means that you’ll never run out of great places to eat when you call Hanscom home. 

Restaurants open and close all the time, but the foodie culture in this dynamic region is here to stay. Greater Boston has some of America's oldest breweries and eateries, so there’s no shortage of fantastic spots to try. In Bedford specifically, you can look forward to delicious shellfish and all the chowder you can eat, plus fresh takes on international cuisines from sushi to Italian to Irish fare and more. There’s also a great food truck scene embedded in and around Bedford. 

Rhiannon Mouser draws a picture while sitting at her dining room table at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., June 8. Rhiannon took second place from 329 entries in the 2022 Air Force Art Contest’s “Youth 6-8 years” category. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jerry Saslav)


Fenway Park (17.2 miles) is home to the Boston Red Sox, so take the family to a game during baseball season or take a tour any time!

The Freedom Trail (21.6 miles) is 3 miles long and leads you past 16 city landmarks like Boston Common, the State House, King Chapel Burying Ground, and the Old State House, which is the site of the Boston Massacre. It’s a great way to explore Boston and see some history.

The New England Aquarium (21.4 miles) hosts thousands of aquatic animals, including lionfish, a giant Pacific octopus, a sea turtle and California sea lions. There is also a four-story Giant Ocean Tank, two touch tanks, and plenty of other exhibits for you and your family. Get your tickets ahead of time, though - they have a limited number available for purchase on-site each day.

Hanscom AFB Housing

First things first, call the Military Housing Office to find out the most current information about the housing climate at Hanscom. Then decide if you want to live in privatized housing or in the local community. Housing costs in this region are very high. Hanscom ranks in the top three areas for cost of living. Prepare financially if you’re planning to live in a local community. 

Hunt Military Communities manages housing at Hanscom. Neighborhoods are open to DoD employees, geo-batch service members, extended TDY service members and active duty service members. 

Unaccompanied housing is offered for unaccompanied Airmen in the ranks of E-1 to E-3 and E-4 with less than 3 years of service. Each Airman is provided a private sleeping room, furnishings, bed linens and supplies required for comfortable living. Unaccompanied Airmen in the rank of E-4 with greater than 3 years of service and above can live in the local community.

Artist’s rendition of the Hanscom Primary School.

Schools Near Hanscom Air Force Base 

Mil-kids living at Hanscom will benefit from two schools on base. Hanscom Primary School serves kindergarten through 3rd grade and the middle school is for grades 4 through 8. Students in high grades attend school through the Lincoln Public School system. Preschool programming is also available. Visit the LPS website for the latest information, including enrollment requirements. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Hanscom AFB have a runway?

Yes, civilian planes can use Hanscom Field.

What county is Hanscom AFB in?

Hanscom AFB is in Middlesex County, MA.

How far is Fort Devens from Hanscom AFB?

Fort Devens is about 25 miles northwest of Hanscom AFB.

Who is Hanscom AFB named after?

Hanscom AFB is named after Laurence G. Hanscom, a local Worcester pilot and reporter who was killed in a plane crash in 1941.


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