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

Looking for answers about the Maxwell Air Force Base Visitor’s Center? We’ve got you covered with this complete guide! Located in Montgomery, Alabama, Maxwell is art of the Air Education and Training Command of the Air Force. Located on the outskirts of the state’s capital, the installation recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. It’s about 80 miles south of Birmingham, so there’s always something to do. In fact, the area is rich in historical significance and boasts ties to the Wright Brothers. 

Overview 

Officially, it’s known as the Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base. It’s also home to one of the most significant milestones in aviation history! Maxwell is the site of the Wright Brothers first aviation school. Throughout the years, the base has kept its ties to education and now is home to Air University. Air University runs the Air Force Office Training School and the Air War College. 

Expect warm humid weather during your time at Maxwell. There are fall and spring tornado seasons, so preparedness is key. Snowbirds won’t love the mild quick winter, as temperatures rarely get to freezing or below. 

Keep in mind that Gunter Annex is a separate installation. However, to avoid BRAC targeting in the 1990s, the DoD consolidated Gunter with Maxwell.

maxwell air force base main gate
Runners competing in the Montgomery Marathon enter Maxwell Air Force Base March 14, 2015. Nine miles of the marathon course was on Maxwell.The Montgomery Marathon was a qualifying marathon for the Boston Marathon. (US Air Force photo by Bud Hancock/Released)

Maxwell Air Force Base Location

Maxwell AFB is centrally located in Montgomery Alabama. It’s just 82 miles south of Birmingham. You can reach Atlanta in about two hours, since it’s only 162 miles away. The area surrounding the installation is called the River Region. Thanks to the large military community, the installation has a significant impact on the area. 

Directions

From the east: Take I-16W to I-85 and follow signs. 

From the south: Navigate to I-75N. Then take US 82W and follow signs. You can also take I-10W. 

From the west: Depending where on the west coast you’re coming from, there are multiple routes. If you’re in the middle of the country, take 1-20 E or I-40 E. 

From the north: Take I-95s to 1-85S. Take Exit O from 1-85 S and continue on Day Street Drive to Kelly Street. 

Transportation

More than likely, you’ll arrive by plane when you PCS to Maxwell AFB. That means that you’ll be flying through the Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport. If that’s not accessible, you might explore flying into the Montgomery Airport. It’s a smaller regional airport, but it’s located very close to base. 

Gates and Hours 

There are five gates to enter the base, but not all are operational 24 hours a day. One is currently closed until further notice, so it’s not included here. 

Day St Gate: Open to traffic Monday through Friday from 0600 to 1800

Gunter Congressman Dickerson Gate: Open 24/7

Kelly St Gate: Closed January 25th through March 1st

Maxwell Blvd Gate: Open 24/7

thunderbirds at maxwell air force base
The United States Air Force Thunderbirds Aerial Demonstration Team race across the horizon in their F-16 Fighting Falcons at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama during the Heritage to Horizon Airshow on April 8, 2017. (U.S. Air National Guard Photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeffery Foster)

Contacts at Maxwell Air Force Base

AFSNCO Academy: (334) 416-2900

Air Command and Staff College: (334) 953-7902

Air War College: (334) 953-7902/7903

Airman and Family Readiness Center 3(334) 953-2353 / (334) 953-9694

Airman Leadership School: (334) 953-2415

Carl A. Spaatz Center for Officer Education: (334) 953-7808

Community College of the Air Force: (334) 649-5000

Curtis E. Lemay Center for Doctrine Development and Education: (334) 953-5421

Enlisted Heritage Hall: (334) 416-3202

FamCamp: (334) 953-5161

First Sergeant’s Academy: (334) 416-2900

Gunter Child Development Center (334) 416-3185 / DSN (312) 596-3185

Household Goods/Transportation Office: (334) 953-6058

Housing Management Office (334) 953-5718/DSN (312)493-5718

Immunizations Clinic: (334) 953-5731

International Officer School: (334) 953-6915

Ira C. Eaker Center for Professional Development: (334) 953-2864

Jeanne M. Holm Center for Officer Accession and Citizen Development: (334) 953-7087

Judge Advocate General’s School: (334) 953-2802

Maxwell Child Development Center (334) 953-6667 / DSN (312) 493-6667

Medical Services (334) 953-3368 

Non-commissioned Officer Academy: (334) 416-2900

Officer Training School: (334) 953-5222

Reserve Officer Training Corps: (334) 953-5420

School of Advanced Air and Space Studies: (334) 953-5155

School Liaison Office: (334) 953-6430

Squadron Officer College: (334) 953-4762

Thomas N. Barnes Center for Enlisted Education: (334) 416-1470

Transportation Management Office: (334) 953-4774

Visitor’s Center: (334) 953-4283

Youth Center: (334) 202-6814

air force one at maxwell air force base
Air Force One departs Maxwell Air Force Base, Saturday, March 7, 2015. (U.S. Air Force Photograph by Donna L. Burnett/Released)

Mission and Units

Maxwell’s host wing is the 42nd Air Base Wing. 

The main mission of Maxwell is to educate and to train. This is achieved via Air University, which runs several military education programs. This includes the Air Force Institute of Technology, the Air War College, and both the Air Force Officer Training School and the Senior NCO Academy. 

The School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, along with the Air Command and Staff College and the Air Cyber College are also here. 

Another notable unit is the Air Force Reserve Command’s 908th Airlift Wing. This tenant wing is the only operational flying unit at Maxwell Gunter. The 908th AW operates eight C-130H Hercules aircraft for theater airlift.

Maxwell AFB History

The Wright Flying School, opened by the pioneers of American aviation, the Wright Brothers, occupied the space that’s now Maxwell AFB. The school closed its doors in 1910 but the field continued to be purposeful. It served as a repair depot during WWI. Speaking of WWI, ever wonder why we don’t talk about those veterans more often?

In 1922, the War Department renamed the depot Maxwell Field in honor of 2nd Lt. William C. Maxwell, who died while trying to land his Dh-4 in a sugarcane field in the Philippines. 

In 1931, the Air Corps Tactical School opened its doors. This school would go on to become the Air Force’s first tactical center. In 1940, the installation was converted into a pilot-training center. After the war, Air University was established in 1946 as a way to provide continuing education for Air Force personnel. 

maxwell air force base history
The team of Greg and Ashley Shelton from Greg Shelton Airshows acrobatic team streak across the sky while Ashley Shelton walks on the wings of the 450 Super Stearman at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama during the Heritage to Horizon Airshow on April 8, 2017. (U.S. Air National Guard Photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeffery Foster)

Things to Do Around Maxwell Air Force Base

You’ll never run out of things to do and see when you call Maxwell home. The entire region is steeped in history. Be sure you check out all of the very important Civil Rights landmarks, including the Civil Rights Memorial Center and the Rosa Parks Library. 

Hotels

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Montgomery Downtown, (334) 245-2320

Embassy Suites by Hilton Montgomery Hotel & Conference Center, (334) 269-5055

Hilton Garden Inn Montgomery East, (334) 272-2225

Hampton Inn & Suites Montgomery – Downtown, (334) 265-1010

Staybridge Suites Montgomery – Downtown, (334) 532-0700

Food Scene

This deep-South installation comes with all that you might expect from Southern comfort in the ways of food. Expect fried chicken, BBQ ribs, and fried pork skins at lots of eateries. Shrimp and grits is a popular local dish, as are fried green tomatoes. In summer, don’t skimp on fresh peach or pecan pie. 

Nearby Montgomery has a dazzling array of culinary choices if you’re looking for non-Southern options too. Further afield, Atlanta is home to a vibrant foodie scene, so it’s definitely worth the trip. 

maxwell air force base food
Fresh pastries stand on display at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, May 10, 2021. Prevail Union Coffee’s newest location has opened within Maxwell’s Base Exchange. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Anthony Cllingerman)

Activities

As you might expect, on base you’ll find a few gyms, a swimming pool or two, and a bowling alley. What makes Maxwell stand out is that there’s a vibrant museum located within the gates! The Maxwell Air Force Base Historic Air Park is an interactive museum that showcases the start of American aviation all the way through today.

Off the installation, be sure to check out the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. Originally opened in 1930, it holds over 4,000 works of art. Admission is free! You don’t want to miss the Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum either. The former home of the legendary writers, the house is filled with curated exhibitions that detail their lives. 

Outdoor enthusiasts, be sure to check out the Maxwell FamCamp. It’s an inexpensive way for families to enjoy the great outdoors. There’s even RV sites with hookups. 

Maxwell AFB Housing

Like all DoD installations, Maxwell housing gives you lots of options. You can choose to stay on or off base. No matter which you decide, the first thing you should do is call the Military Housing Office. The MHO can provide you with current up to date information on housing wait lists. 

Of course, Airmen ranks E1-E3 and E4 with less than four years of service are required to stay in the barracks.

For everyone else, you might explore living in privatized housing. Hunt Military Communities owns and operates the housing. Each neighborhood has access to a community center, pool, fitness center, and more.

If that’s not an interesting idea, then the nearby area offers plenty of communities to choose from. Montgomery is a small town with a big city feel. Nearby Prattville has a thriving military community, and Millbrook is for those Airmen and families who want to experience a more rustic, rural life. 

Schools Near Maxwell AFB

Mil-kids have access to one DODEA school on base for students in preschool through 8th grade. Additionally, there are nearly 100 public schools within a 25-mile radius of base in four school districts. No matter where you send your child to school, transportation is provided. Contact the School Liaison Office for more information. 

maxwell air force base rotc
Cadets, participants of the Puerto Rico Project Language program, pose for a group photo at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, June 17, 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Rhonda Smith)

Frequently Asked Questions

What county is Maxwell AFB in?

Maxwell is in Montgomery County, Alabama. 

Does it snow in Maxwell AFB Alabama?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t snow at Maxwell Air Force Base. Alabama isn’t known for its snowfall, since the state’s average annual temperature is about 64F. The last major snowstorm was back in 1993. 

What aircraft does Maxwell AFB have?

Since Maxwell is primarily a training facility, there’s only one operational flying unit at base. That’s the Air Force Reserve Command’s 908th Airlift Wing. The 908 AW and its subordinate 357th Airlift Squadron operate eight C-130H Hercules for theater airlift. 

Is Maxwell AFB a good base?

It’s a great base… if you can get used to the Alabama humidity!

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