The complete base guide to Barksdale Air Force Base - We Are The Mighty
MIGHTY HISTORY

The complete base guide to Barksdale Air Force Base

Barksdale Air Force Base is one of those Air Force installations that’s pretty darn great. Who are we kidding? Most AF installations are spectacular. But the thing that sets Barksdale apart is its location and its mission. For nearly 100 years, it’s been serving the Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas areas. At one time in its legendary history, Barksdale was the world’s largest airfield with more than 22,000 acres for training.  As a key Air Force Global Strike Command base, Barksdale AFB has a pivotal role in providing a large part of the nation’s deterrent force.

Overview

Because of its climate and the large military presence in the region, Barksdale is a favorite location for lots of retirees. So, expect a robust community when you call this Air Force base home! Barksdale also hosts the Defenders of Liberty airshow. Find out more about this dynamic air show here

Expect a lower-than-average cost of living at Barksdale. On average, the weather is fairly humid but not unbearable. Daily temps hover around 710F. The rainiest month is December. Expect less than half an inch of snow. 

Barksdale Air Force Base Location

Located in the Bossier Parish of Bossier City, Louisiana, Barksdale Air Force Base is about two and a half hours east of Dallas, Texas. It’s three hours west of Jackson, Mississippi. You’ll also enjoy access to several other large metropolitan areas in the surrounding Ark-La-Tex area. That’s how locals refer to the tri-state region of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas.  

snow at Barksdale Air Force Base
Snow covered B-52H Stratofortresses sit on the flightline at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Feb. 19, 2021. Barksdale tied the record low temperature of 1 degree Fahrenheit for lowest temperature recorded at the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathan E. Ramos)

Directions

Barksdale is located on the southern side of Bossier City. You can easily access it from Interstates 20 and 49.

Heading to Barksdale from the east? Travel east on I-20 then take exit 22. Turn left at the traffic light. Take another left onto Old Minden Road (LA-72). Be sure you stay in the right lane. This road merges onto Northgate Drive and ends conveniently at the Bossier gate. 

If you’re heading to base from the west on I-20E, take the US 71S/Barksdale Boulevard Exit 20C. Then turn left at the sixth traffic light onto Barksdale Blvd (Hwy 71). The Shreveport Gate is about half a mile down the road. 

Traveling from the south is easiest using I-49 . First, exit onto Bert Kouns Industrial Loop. Stay on this road until 70th Street crosses the Red River into Bossier City. Next, turn left at the intersection of 70th Street and U.S. Highway 71. Continue through five traffic lights then turn right into the Shreveport gate. 

Transportation

If you travel to Barksdale by plane, you’ll arrive at the Shreveport Regional Airport. This small hub serves five airlines to just seven destinations. However, there are more than 40 daily scheduled arriving and departing times, so you shouldn’t have an issue getting here! 

Unfortunately, there’s no military shuttle to take you from the airport to their installation. However, you can use a taxi or rent a car. 

Flying will be most convenient for you, but PCSing with your POV might be better since you’ll have a way to tour the area and see what all the Ark-La-Tex area has to offer. 

under secretary of the air force
The Honorable Gina Ortiz Jones, Under Secretary of the Air Force, converses with Airman 1st Class Sigrith Johnson, 2nd Force Support Squadron food service apprentice, during a visit to Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, April 12, 2022. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jonathan E. Ramos)

Gates and Hours

Barksdale has four gates. Shreveport and Bodcau are both 24/7. 

Bossier (North) Gate: Open year from 0545 – 1800. 

Bodcau (South) Gate: Open 24/7

Industrial (East) Gate: Open to all outbound-only traffic 0545 – 1800. Inbound passenger vehicles have access Monday – Friday from 0630 – 0800. Closed on holidays. 

Shreveport (West) Gate: Open 24/7

Contacts at Barksdale Air Force Base

Airman & Family Readiness Center (318) 456-8400

Arts & Crafts (318) 456-3140

Auto Hobby & Repair (318) 456-4695

Barber Shop – Exchange (318) 588-5088

Barksdale Inn – Holtzen Hall (877) 261-5265

Base Training & Education Services (BTES) (318) 456-2615

Beauty Salon – Exchange (318) 746-5930

Bowling Center – Barksdale Lanes (318) 456-4133

Chapel (318) 456-2151

Child Development Center (318) 456-2735

Civilian Personnel (318) 456-3288

Class Six (318) 746-5662 

Commissary – Barksdale AFB (318) 456-8263

Defense Finance and Accounting Service (888) 332-7411

EFMP (318) 456-8700 

Embroidery Shop (318) 549-1050

Equipment Rental (318) 456-3426

Exchange (BX) (318) 746-6429

Express Shoppette – Capehart (318) 741-5964

FamCamp (318) 456-2679

Family Child Care (318) 456-9688

Fire Department (318) 456-2642

Firestone Car Care Center (318) 747-6888

Fitness Center (318) 456-4135

Flight Kitchen (318) 456-8167

Frame Shop (318) 456-5644

Golf Course – Fox Run (318) 456-4195

Honor Guard (318) 456-5859

Housing Office (318) 456-4791

Human Resources Office (318) 456-3243

ID Card Section/DEERS – Barksdale (318) 456-3710

Information, Tickets & Travel (ITT) (318) 456-1866

Iron Airmen Facility (318) 456-1119

Laundry Dry Cleaner & Alterations (318) 742-0133

Leadership School (318) 456-3298

Legal Office (318) 456-2562

Library (318) 456-4101

Manpower & Organization (318) 456-4247

Medical Clinic (318) 456-8481

Military Clothing Store (318) 746-6429

Operator (318) 781-1110

Optical Shop (318) 746-6060

Outdoor Recreation (318) 456-3426

Pool (318) 456-3482

Red River Dining Facility (DFAC) (318) 456-8068

Safe Helpline – Sexual Assault (877) 995-5247

School Liaison Officer (318) 456-8400

Security Police (318) 456-2551

Veterinary Clinic (318) 456-3923

Welcome Center (318) 456-4984

Wood Shop (318) 456-3409

Youth Programs (318) 456-3448

change of command ceremony
8th Air Force Change of command Ceremony at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., August 20th, 2018

Mission and Units

The mission at Barksdale is simple. “Protect the liberties of our nation with unmatched long-range strike capabilities.” Its vision includes have a 2D Bomb Wing of successful and ready Airmen while supporting one another. Priorities for the installation include integrity, service, and excellence. 

Barksdale AFB hosts the 2nd Bomb Wing, the oldest wing in the Air Force. You’ll also find the 2nd Operations Group, 2nd Maintenance Group, 2nd Mission Support Group, and the 2nd Medical Group embedded on base. The base is also home to the “Mighty Eighth,” of WWII legends. 

Barksdale Air Force Base History

The installation is named in honor of Lt. Eugene Barksdale, Army Air Corps who lost his life while testing a Douglas O-2 observation plane over McCook Field in Dayton, Ohio. 

Construction began in 1931 and was completed a year later. Shortly after, the 20th Pursuit Group and the 3rd Attack Wing arrived at base. Barracks were added in 1936 and 1937. In May 1940, the installation hosted practice mar maneuvers. This led the way to the base becoming a training center for pursuit pilots and bomber crews. 

During the Cold War, Barksdale was reassigned to the Strategic Air Command and became the headquarters of the Second Air Force.

Since its inception, it’s remained a training center and has supported both fueling and basing missions around the world. The first bombing sortie of Operation Desert Storm launched from Barksdale. Following the 9/11 attacks on America, Barksdale served as President Bush’s secure shelter. Here’s the story of the iconic 9/11 light memorial. During OIF and OEF, the base served as the nexus of several missions. 

Recently in 2022, Barksdale upgraded its Nuclear Command, Control and Communications system for the first time in 30 years. The Global Aircrew Strategic Network Terminal allows for new two-way reliable communication with wing command posts, munition support squadrons, and mobile support teams. 

Things to Do Around Barksdale Air Force Base

Before venturing off the installation, make sure you check out the Barksdale Global Power Museum. There, you’ll find historical aircraft and artifacts from the base’s history.            

basketball at Barksdale Air Force Base
Airman 1st Class Daryl Parker, 608th Air Operations Center offensive duty technician, shoots a basketball at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Oct. 12, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Damon Kasberg)

Hotels

Comfort Suites Bossier City – Shreveport East (318) 742-3444

Hilton Garden Inn Shreveport Bossier City (318) 759-1950

Holiday Inn Shreveport Downtown (318) 222-7717

Quality Inn & Suites (318) 742-7890

Food Scene

Foodies will want to check out the local Creole, Cajun, and Tex-Mex cuisines. These three distinct cuisines all offer plenty to explore and try. Since the area is such a hodgepodge of culinary delights, your options really are endless. Of course, you won’t want to miss out on crawfish, red beans and rice, and gumbo. If it’s time for something sweet, beignets are legendary and come Mardi Gras season, King Cake has to be on your list. 

Activities

Airmen families will want to take advantage of the lush landscape that surrounds the  base. There are plenty of parks, but the best is probably Water Town. It’s about 20 miles from the installation and it features plenty of waterslides, a wave pool, and a lazy river. It’s the perfect place to spend a Saturday in summer! You might also want to check out Toledo Bend. It’s the largest surface area lake in the south and the fifth largest in the country. 

Nearby Shreveport gives you access to all the shopping and entertainment options you want. Be sure to check out the Louisiana Boardwalk. Shop and then get a bite to eat at the riverfront. 

Barksdale Air Force Base Housing

Hunt Military Communities owns and manages on-base housing. You can choose from five different neighborhoods, each offering distinct floor plans and residence styles. Speak with the Military Housing Office for more information, including housing wait times. Four neighborhoods are for enlisted Airmen only. One is for senior NCOs and junior officers. 

Barksdale’s location means you can easily find housing off-base if that works best for your family. Shreveport is the third-largest city in the state and has a robust population of around 200,000 people. Bossier City is part of the base, but its population is much smaller. It hovers around 56000 people and offers a really fresh riverfront community. 

Of course, it should come as no surprise that Airmen ranks E1-E3 and E4s with less than four years of service are required to live in the barracks. 

kids at Barksdale Air Force Base
Young visitors attempt to move an F/A-18F Super Hornet at the 2012 Defenders of Liberty Air Show, Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City. Assigned to the “Blacklions” of Strike Fighter Squadron 213, the fighter was part of a static display at the air show.

Schools Near Barksdale Air Force Base

Unfortunately, there are no DoDEA schools offered on base. However, there are almost 40 public schools located in both BOssier Parish and the Caddo Public School District. Call the School Liaison Officer for more information about new enrollment, homeschooling options, and more. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What county is Barksdale AFB in?

Barksdale is located in Bossier Parish. 

Are civilians allowed on Barksdale AFB?

Of course, but you’ll need to visit the Visitor’s Control Center first and be accompanied by a DoD ID card holder to gain access. 

How many Air Force bases are in Louisiana?

Barksdale is the only Air Force installation in the entire state. 

Is Barksdale AFB a nuke base?

Not anymore! Recently, all nuclear weapons that were stored at Barksdale were removed.

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