The complete McGuire Air Force Base guide - We Are The Mighty

The complete McGuire Air Force Base guide

Officially known as Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JB MDL), McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey is not only massive, but its footprint is significant. It’s home to several important commands, including the 174th Infantry Brigade, the 514th Air Mobility Wing, and the Naval Air Systems Command. Moreover, and as if that weren’t enough, the NJ National Guard, the Coast Guard Strike Team, and the DoJ all have tenants embedded on the massive base. JB MDL is located in North Hanover Township in a rural area. Fewer people like in this township than anywhere else in NJ! But don’t let that alarm you. NYC, Philadelphia, and Atlantic City are all within driving distance. 

If you’re looking for info on McGuire AFB housing, lodging, or just need directions, scroll down because this guide as it all. 

McGuire AFB Location

McGuire Air Force Base is located in Burlington County, New Jersey (south central) in the Delaware River Region, near New York City, Philadelphia, Atlantic City, and the New Jersey Shore.

Thunderbirds at McGuire Air Force Base
The U.S. Air Force “Thunderbirds,” perform the Diamond Formation Roll during the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Open House, May 11, 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo Staff Sgt. Larry E. Reid Jr., Released)


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

From New Jersey Turnpike: Exit 7 or I-295 McGuire/Dix exit: Take U.S. Route 206 south for approximately half a mile. Stay in the left lane to the “Y” intersection of Routes 206 and 68. Then turn left on Route 68 and go approximately 4 miles. Look for a sign pointing left to “McGuire/Deborah Hospital.” Here, you’ll turn left at the sign across the opposite lanes of Route 68. Next, at the immediate “T” intersection, turn right on Burlington County Route 545 and head south for approximately two miles. At the intersection of Route 537, continue straight ahead as the road becomes a four-lane divided highway. Follow the four-lane highway (which eventually becomes Burlington County Route 680) straight into the Main Gate.

Heading in from the north? Travel south on the New Jersey Turnpike (I-95 in northern New Jersey) to Exit 7. Then follow directions from the turnpike.

Driving from the south? Travel north on I-95 through Delaware to just south of Wilmington, Del. Follow the signs for I-295 and the New Jersey Turnpike across the Delaware Memorial Bridge into New Jersey. Be sure to take the New Jersey Turnpike north to Exit 7 or I-295 north to the McGuire/Dix exit and follow directions. 

Coming from the west? Travel east on the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-76 becomes I-276: do not take I-76 into Philadelphia.) to the New Jersey Turnpike. Go north on the New Jersey Turnpike to Exit 7. Follow directions from the turnpike. 

tours at McGuire Air Force Base
Capt. Mike Sare, 32nd Air Refueling Squadron pilot, talks with guests as they wait to tour a KC-10 Extender at thePower in the Pines Open House and Air Show at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. May 14. As the nation’s only tri-service joint base, JB MDL’s Power in the Pines Open House and Air Show boasts demonstrations from each branch of the armed forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Christian DeLuca


Flying to the closest airports: Philadelphia International Airport, Newark International Airport

All major airlines serve Philadelphia International Airport (47 miles) and ground transportation is available through Rapid Rover and the New Jersey Transit bus line.

Same goes for Newark International Airport (62 miles) and ground transportation is available through the New Jersey Transit bus line.

Driving: Driving to McGuire AFB and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst is definitely something you can do, and having a car would allow you to visit the surrounding states. There is also a lot of great public transportation to and from the base and in the surrounding area.

Contacts at McGuire AFB

Air Force Aid Society: (609) 754-3844

Base Exchange: (732) 323-7680

Base Operator: (609) 754-1110

Chaplain: (609) 754-4673

Civilian Personnel Office: (609) 754-5698

Command Post: (609) 754-3935

Commissary: (609) 754-2153

Education Center: (609) 754-3019

EFMP – Enrollment: (312) 650-9752

Equal Opportunity Office: (609) 754-2657

Family Advocacy Program: (609) 754-9680

Housing Office: (609) 754-3662

ID/CAC Card Processing: (609) 754-0250

Information, Tickets, Travel: (609) 562-6667

Inspector General: (609) 754-8711

Legal Assistance: (609) 754-2010

Lodging Reservations: (609) 288-7901 or (609) 754-4667

Medical Clinic: (609) 754-9200

MFSC Relocation Readiness Program: (609) 754-3154

Morale Welfare and Recreation: (609) 754-5327

Outdoor Recreation: (732) 323-2583

Passenger Service Terminal: (609) 754-5023

Public Affairs Office: (609) 754-2104

Relocation Assistance Program: (609) 754-3154

Safety Office: (609) 754-7233

School Liaison: (609) 754-3878

Sexual Assault 24/7 Response Line: (609) 754-7272

Transition Assistance Program: (609) 754-5751

Unaccompanied Housing Office: (609) 754-5498

Veterinary Clinic: (609) 754-2830

Welcome/Visitors Center: (609) 754-3938

special operators at McGuire Air Force Base
Members of the U.S. Air Force Special Operations, Tactical Air Control Party, from Fort Drum N.Y., pose for a group photo at the Power in the Pines Open House and Air Show at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. May 15. As the nation’s only tri-service joint base, JB MDL’s Power in the Pines Open House and Air Show boasts demonstrations from each branch of the armed forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Christian DeLuca/released)

Mission and Units 

JB MDL is committed to providing world-class installation management to support expeditionary operations. Together with its joint forces, JB MDL makes up America’s premier joint-warfighting base – uniquely capable of projecting air, land, and sea power to support our nation’s defense.

McGuire AFB currently hosts the 87th Air Base Wing, with all its subdivisions. It also hosts a few tenant units, like the 621st Contingency Response Wing or the 108th Air Wing.

In addition, more than 46,763 Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, civilians, and their family members living and working on and around JB MDL contribute to the economic impact of the state of New Jersey.

airmen at McGuire Air Force Base
Col. Frederick D. Thaden, 87th Air Base Wing commander, (center right) and 87th ABW Command Chief Master Sgt. Craig A. Poling (center left), pose with the Breitling Jet Team members at the beginning of day two of the Power in the Pines Open House and Air Show at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. May 15. As the nation’s only tri-service joint base, JB MDL’s Power in the Pines Open House and Air Show boasts demonstrations from each branch of the armed forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Christian DeLuca/released)

McGuire AFB History

Air Mobility Command operates McGuire AFB. However, that wasn’t always the case. In fact, base construction started back before America entered WWII. The installation build-out finished quickly but McGuire didn’t live up to its expectations. The DoD closed the base after WWII. Just a few years later, it was reopened.

Then, BRAC closures impacted McGuire. In 2005, realignment guidelines created a plan to merge McGuire with nearby installations Ft. Dix and NAES Lakehurst. Now, the Air Force operates the installation and it’s massive. It’s more than 20 miles east to west and there are nearly 4,000 buildings on site. In addition to speaking of BRAC, check out these haunting photos of a closed AF base.

Moreover, as if that weren’t enough, there are over 40 commands and 80 mission partners on base! That means it can support most types of combat. 

Things to Do Around McGuire AFB


Hampton Inn Bordentown (9.6 miles)

Best Western Bordentown Inn (10 miles)

Hilltop Motel (3.8 miles)


Pasquale’s Naples Pizza and Pasta (8.7 miles) – Italian

Stone House Eatery (2.2 miles) – American Grill, specializing in Seafood

Afghan Kabob (2.2 miles) – Afghani food


Camden Children’s Garden (42.2 miles) is part garden, part playground along the waterfront in Camden, NJ.

John F. Mann Recreation Park is on-base and is the perfect place to spend the day with the family. You can utilize the batting cages, mini-golf, go-karts, horseshoe pits, volleyball courts, basketball courts, and playground.

Millennium Skate World (35.4 miles) is a retro roller rink with a cafe and an arcade that will be fun for the whole family.

ceremony at McGuire Air Force Base
Two U.S. Air Force Airmen salute a wreath during the Parade of Wreaths ceremony at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey, May 24, 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Robert Waggoner/RELEASED)

McGuire AFB Housing

First, call the Military Housing Office after receiving orders to McGuire. Then, determine if you and your family want to live on or off base.

United Communities and Balfour Beatty manage privatized housing in partnership with the Navy. Because Joint Base McGuire Dix Lakehurst is so massive, you should aim to live close to where you work, whenever possible. Housing options change often so get on a waiting list as soon as you can.

As you might expect, living in NJ is expensive. Living on base might the most economical choice for you and your family.

Schools near JB MDL 

Although this base is massive, unfortunately there are no DoDEA schools on JB MDL. However, mil-kids living on McGuire can attend North Hanover, Northern Burlington, Regional, or Pemberton Township schools. If you live on Lakehurst, your kids will attend Lakehurst and Manchester schools.

Free school bus transportation is provided to all students. Meals are provided to all students in New Jersey and most schools offer breakfast programs. Speak with the School Liaison Office for more information. 

games at McGuire Air Force Base
Washington Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Cassie Saephanh, 194th Wing assigned to Task Force Liberty, plays a game of catch with a young Afghan at Liberty Village site at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, on Sept. 4, 2021. The Department of Defense, through U.S. Northern Command, and in support of the Department of Homeland Security, is providing transportation, temporary housing, medical screening, and general support for at least 50,000 Afghan evacuees at suitable facilities, in permanent or temporary structures, as quickly as possible. This initiative provides Afghan personnel essential support at secure locations outside Afghanistan. (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. John Hughel, Washington Air National Guard)

Frequently Asked Questions

Do civilian aircraft land at McGuire AFB?

Yes, but Space Available seats are always in short supply! It’s probably better to check tickets out of Baltimore-Washington International Airport. BWI operates a Space A terminal. Here’s what the AF wants you to know about Space A travel.

What is McGuire AFB known for?

McGuire is the only base in both the Air Mobility Command and the entire U.S. Air Force hosting three AMC-gained flying wings of the Regular Air Force, Air Force Reserve, and Air National Guard.

How far is McGuire AFB from NYC or the ocean?

McGuire AFB is about 73 miles from NYC and about 34 miles from the ocean.

What planes fly out of McGuire AFB?

Currently, the AF flies KC-135, KC-10, KC-46, C-17, and C-130 planes out of McGuire.

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