I created a list of the best and worst Air Force bases as rated on the internet. When you enter the Air Force you may have the opportunity to fill out a dream sheet. This is a sheet of all the places you would like to be stationed while serving in the United States Air Force. I wanted to know what bases were highly rated, yet, I had a hard time finding a comprehensive guide and wanted to ensure I stayed away from the lowest rated. So I decided to create a master list of the best and worst rated Air Force bases in America.
This review is based on the following criteria:
- Affordable off base housing
- Nearby universities
- Base facilities
- Friendliness attitude towards military personal
Keep in mind that opinions vary, but I had used the average for each.
- Andrews, DC: Expensive off-base housing, but it is in a centralized location so it is close to common necessities. The houses in the area are older but charming and many people on the internet seem to enjoy the base facilities.
- Bolling, DC: Expensive off-base housing, but it is in a centralized location so it is close to common necessities. The houses in the area are older, but charming and many people on the internet seem to enjoy the base facilities.
- Moody, GA: My mother says nothing else exists around the city, which for the most part is true. The city seemed like a large suburb on my way through with an estimate of about 60,000 people. From what I found on the internet, everyone seems to enjoy it and it meets the criteria I had listed above.
- Whitemans, MO
- Tinker, OK: Good base, affordable off-base housing with all the amenities I have listed above, but keep in mind it is prone to tornados.
- Grand Forks, ND: Being from MN, I know it gets colder there than it does in the Twin Cities. Again, the reason it is on the list is that it offers the things I have listed above. I personally know several people stationed here and they all seem to love it. It got great reviews 90% of the time and North Dakota currently has about a 2.3% unemployment rate.
- Peterson, CO: It is in a great are just outside Colorado Springs and not too far from Denver. From my own research most of the universities seem to be located in and around Denver so you may have to drive about an hour if you are stationed here and you are set on attending a university.
- Goodfellow, TX: The majority of people seemed to like this base, but, I refuse to live in Texas so I didn't research this one too much.
- Patrick, FL: Off-base housing is cheap since Florida was hit hard by the housing crash. Yet, you will be raking in a good amount of BAH while you're there. You might have to drive a good 30 minutes away from base to find a good location for off-base living.
- Malmstrom, MT: Extremely windy, this makes winters harsh. It is a great location for outdoor lovers. Friendly people, but the city is small as well as the base itself. Cost of living can be high in some areas. The base is building all new houses.
- Luke, AZ: This base is on the outskirts of Phoenix, AZ so you can bet it has everything listed above. Everyone stationed there seems to love it and everyone I know from Arizona can't wait to move back.
- Mac Dill, FL: This base is located in the heart of Tampa. There isn't much of a transition from the city to the base as it sort of just appears, which is good for those who want to be close to civilization. It is a massive base and you may find the facilities crowded which plays on the popularized term hurry up and wait.
- Nellis, NV: Nevada was another state that was hit hard by the housing market. In other words. you will find ample properties for sale for cheap. Now, if you have ever been to Las Vegas you will know it is a pretty busy place which may not be good for the more down-to-earth people. Other than Vegas there isn't much else around except for vast amounts of desert sand.
- Wright Patterson, OH: Big base, several universities just down the road University of Dayton, Sinclair, Wright State University, or Edison 30-40 minutes away in Piqua. There are plenty of places to rent and own as well as base housing which is extremely cheap. Base housing looked pretty nice when we looked, however, we only saw the one home because there was a waiting list for the others. I will state that the property taxes in Montgomery county are ridiculously high. On a $100,000 house you'd be paying $3,000 in tax (That's nearly 1/3 of what we were paying in Colorado on a $400,000 house). The people are friendly and there is plenty of entertainment in the area; Casino's, scene 75, plenty of bars and dining. Beavercreek is generally your ideal place to live, close access to the base an amenities to include the best school district in the area. Carriage Hills of Tipp City located in Miami County is relatively nice and close to the base as it is located just outside of Huber Heights. The houses are built custom "Ryan Homes". You may need to wait if you want to build your own, also it will cost you for the extra add-ons. Carriage Hills currently uses Bethel School District last I checked. I will say south of Dayton smells like Sewage so be prepared for that. North Dayton smells like dog food (Near Needmore Rd.) Englewood/ Union area is about a 30-40 minute drive to the base if you don't mind the drive. It's a little more quiet. Nice homes, and Northmont School district is on par with Beavercreek. Fairborn right next to the base has some nice homes, but, the school district was rated terribly.
- Hickam, HI: Hawaii, need we say more? Now, I always feel like I wouldn't want to be "stuck" on an island. But everyone who has been stationed there absolutely loves it.
- Lackland, TX: Originally this was on the bad list, but I had put it on the good list for the simple fact that I have been able to experience living here for myself. I'm positive that most of the airmen out there would probably disagree and quite frankly the base itself is a bore. It becomes overly condensed on graduation days and becomes impossible to find anything that isn't crowded. Despite the boredom you may encounter during base liberty, I guarantee there is something for everyone off base. The University of Texas San Antonio Medical Campus is 15-20 minutes away. You will have no problem finding places to rent; a new housing development is being created close to base. There is plenty of food and things to do in the city. Best of all, you can get around quickly on the several different interstates. The weather comes and goes in extremes for as long as I've been here so ensure you bring a variety of clothing. All in all, it wouldn't be a bad place to get stationed if you would like to stay in southern Texas.
- United States Air Force Academy, CO: This is a great base in my opinion. The academy is nestled underneath a mountain atop of Colorado Springs. They have 4 colleges/universities within a 30 minute drive outside of the gate. Not to mention that the city is a good size so you can find everything within that 30 minute drive: groceries, restaurants, shopping, and entertainment. Now, I'd say that most of us know Colorado for being an outdoorsy state. This couldn't be more true as 90% of the vehicles here have bicycle racks on them. Which goes to show you there are plenty of trails to blaze be it bicycle or snowboarding. The high elevation (circa 6,700 ft.) will throw you off for the first week or so until you adjust. There are plenty of "tourist" sights for you to enjoy as the surrounding area is filled with history such as the Pikes Peak rail way which brings you to around 14,000 ft. and the Manitou Cliff Dwellings.
The base itself is kind of small and you will most likely need a POV to get around as the areas are spread out. The commissary is a decent size whereas the PX/BX/ Exchange is smaller than most. There is plenty of housing nearby the base, but on-base housing is quite nice as well. This base is one of the nicest I have been on and most of the people here would agree.
Worst Air Force Bases
- Seymour, NC
- Shaw, SC
- Eglin, FL
- Elmendorf, AK
- Beale, CA
- Buckley, CO
- Keesler, MS
- Eielson, AK
- Cannon, NM
- Travis, CA (My wife has never had allergies before coming to Travis, but, unfortunately for her and many others, she is now suffering from hay fever. Luckily, there is an In-N-Out right outside the gate.)
- Minot, ND
- Langley, VA
- Offutt, NE
- Warren, WY
- Mountain Home, ID
- Columbus, MS
- Hanscom, MA (Base good, Cost of living bad)
- Robins, GA (I drove through Macon the other day, it is about two hours away from Atlanta, and there is nothing else around. Fun fact: Jason Aldean (Country Star) is from Macon.)
- Davis-Monthan, AZ
- Tyndall, FL (Good for spring break, Bad because of travel time to anything else)
Your Duty Station Is...
Update: You will find out where your permanent duty station is within the first few weeks of arriving at your "tech" school. Keep in mind that some people will have their locations posted sooner than others.
Brad on October 02, 2018:
"Andrews, DC: Expensive off-base housing, but it is in a centralized location so it is close to common necessities. The houses in the area are older but charming and many people on the internet seem to enjoy the base facilities."
This base contributes nothing to national defense. 911
Cindy Hedgepath on April 21, 2018:
We were stationed at Shaw for 13 years (1988- 2001) and I wholeheartedly disagree that Shaw is the #2 worst AFB. Low cost of living, less than 2 hours from the beach and 2 hours from the mountains. Most of the worst bases that you chose were in the South so it appears that you are biased against those bases. Shaw is very family oriented and spouses and children were taken great care of when AF members are deployed. Shaw’s base housing was great. We retired from Shaw and now live right down the road (Camden, SC). We were also stationed at Luke, Lackland, Andrews and my husband had a remote at Kunsan, South Korea plus several TDY’s while at Shaw. We enjoyed every assignment for different reasons. People just like to always be complaining about something. Life is what you make it and the USAF was very good to my husband and our family.
Dale Hespe on February 15, 2018:
Whiteman not whitemans
Glenn Chapman on November 06, 2017:
Has anyone ever remember that there are only one good and one bad bas? The bad on is in you rear view mirropr, the good one is in hyou windshield. Until you get there and find that it's reverseed.
Anthony on October 11, 2017:
come to holloman this place is trash
Bram on October 10, 2017:
You didn't even mention Laughlin AFB, on the Mexican border. Worst base ever. The theater was demolished, no DFAC, you couldn't cross the border, rental houses were all priced for LTs in pilot training, my wife couldn't get a job because she didn't speak Spanish, and we were 2.5 hours away from any real civilization.
Ed Brumley on October 09, 2017:
I did my time at Grand Forks AFB North Dakota from 1977 to ‘81. In short, you’re out of your mind!
GFAFB sucked. It was flat, cold, windy, cold, treeless, cold, remote and cold. Did I mention it was cold? Ass whipping COLD! It stayed below 32 degrees for a 180 consecutive days one winter I was there. The town of Grand Forks is 18 miles away and the townspeople called us “Scum Basers” and openly and visibly hated us.
There was little to do and was a horrible base. It should be classified as an open air prison, but you won’t want to go outside.
Rick on October 09, 2017:
Hjohnson on October 09, 2017:
No!!! Moody AFB belongs on the worst list. It's in Satan armpit. It is hotter than 2 squirrels screwing in a wool sock and every creatuture here wants to eat you or fly in your face. No one likes 2 inch flying cockroaches. Stop telling me they are palmetto bugs, they're still a stinking roach! You have to drive at least 2 hours to do anything fun. Not a lot of good restaurants here. I don't understand how moody made 3. Also, why the heck did 4 not get any explanation?
SrA Mondez on October 09, 2017:
You forgot McConnell under the worst bases. The new wing leadership is terrible.
Matthew Perry on October 09, 2017:
I would love to see your 'sources' and how you compared these empirically. No idea how Moody is on the best list. Bagram Afghanistan was a better base than Moody, and we got mortared daily.
Not lost on October 09, 2017:
You are lost in the sauce if you think Keesler, DM, and Eglin are worse than Holloman.
Damian on October 09, 2017:
Whiteman Mo was horrible, no jobs for spouses, in the middle of nowhere, considered by those who live there the black hole.
SSgt FU on October 08, 2017:
You forgot Altus AFB, OK. A desolate base lodged in the middle of nowhere. Your scenery is meth, cotton fields, and butter bar pilot trainees. An unofficial motto being "Altus! Where the fuck is that?" A small base with zero off base recreation aside from drugs and dead shrubbery while, leadership is often bored. Incredibly bored. Meaning any opportunity to attack airmen is seized with the utmost vigor of a starving prostitute being offered a bacon wrapped dong and a $20 bill.
Bryan on October 08, 2017:
Beale AFB was by far my favorite base. Tons to do on base and whatever you wanted to do off base was within 50 miles. You could go boating and snowboarding in the same weekend!
Dress AFB was by far the worst shit hole I’ve ever been to. People in the community were ok I guess and they sure do love military, but the base, and availability for things to do suck.
Cjd on October 08, 2017:
Robins should be #1 on the worst list. Town is rude and there is absolutely nothing to do there. Even worse, crime and drugs are RAMPANT there. We couldn't get out of there quick enough!
JuanDiaz on October 08, 2017:
AFliz on October 08, 2017:
Davis-Monthan on the worst list....you have got to be kidding. I was there for many many years and it was great. I also know a lot of people that left and chose to go back. Dyess AFB Texas should be on the worst list.
Gregg Burrer on October 08, 2017:
I disagree that Offutt is 13th on your list. I spent 7 years total stationed there twice. Have you REALLY been there and seen the area? Culture galore with all the ethnic restaraunts, College World Series, AAA Royals, Nebraska football an hour away, fishing, etc...
The base was great, affordable housing, activities beyond your daily time allowance
Alan Boesel on October 08, 2017:
Totally disagree Eglin ABB Fl was my first and by far the best assignment the community surrounding the base is very dependent on the commerce business the base gives them
Dragon on September 01, 2017:
Forget best and worst. If you were ever in the Air Force (I retired from it) just remember th4 old saying about the bases. There are only two good basesL: The one you just left, and the one you are going to. That sums it up. My opintio? Best base, Laughlin, yet lousy town. Best all around, Beale. Sacramento was metter than Marysville/Yuba City but whatevery you want, its there within 50 miles. Quit Griping, Dammit!
Frisco Jones on January 28, 2017:
I was at Eielson for 8 years. It's a great assignment!
MSgt on January 10, 2017:
You can't make a list like this that will work for everyone. People have different reasons for liking and disliking a place, you can't please everyone.
John E. Rich on January 09, 2017:
Why is Randolph AFB,TX not on your list of bases?
Jerry on January 09, 2017:
I was at FEW 74-78. I didnt think it was so bad.
USAFE and one US on January 08, 2017:
Ramstein, Germany and Lakenheath, England were my favorites outside the US, and Elmendorf my fav in the US, even if we were what seemed to be worlds away. :)
Josh on January 08, 2017:
I would put Eielson near the top of the list. Freezing cold, dark, and in the middle of nowhere.
Dave G on January 08, 2017:
Eglin?!?!? Are you freaking serious???? Oh my god, that is one of the best bases I've ever been in. There is so much to do there, there's water everywhere you look and great places to eat and the night life is amazing!!!
Airmen on January 08, 2017:
4th but First, SJAFB.
D on January 08, 2017:
Article written by a moron that clearly has no idea what they're talking about
GD on January 08, 2017:
Edwards needs to be on top of the list. Middle of the Mojave desert with a 20 mile drive across a dry lake bed to get to main gate. Little base amenities, regular 20 mph sustained winds, nearest Walmart 45 min from base. About 1.8K military to 8k civilians.
Tom on January 08, 2017:
Dream Sheet? When I enlisted there was only a few bad base's and they were all in NAM, all others were preferred. Yet back to the Dream Sheet, only thing I signed was for my pay. $86.00
Ron Jeremy on January 08, 2017:
I've never met a single person outside of myself that likes Moody AFB. Everyone hates the OPS tempo, the command, the area, the frequently backwards and exclusive locals, and the temperature. Most consider it a black hole and cannot wait to "get out of this fuckin' place, man." Wherever you got your information was flawed.
Damon on January 08, 2017:
Wow you're off about Nellis and Travis.
Nellis-there is SOOOO much more than the damn strip there. Mt Charleston, Zion, Valley of Fire, Red Rock, Lake Mead..sure these are out door areas..but are amazing to explore. There are down to earth people, you just need to find them. The area has a rich LDS influence, some of the nicest people on the face of this planet, but there are a lot of transients.
Travis-I love how you said there is an In-N-Out right outside the gate. Well out of the north gate there is a cow pasture and/or a Horse taking a dump. Out of the main gate is a pizza hut, a porn shop, and a seedy booze store. The nearest In-N-Out is about 5-7 miles down Air Base PKWY. Being between Sac and San Fran is pretty cool with Napa in reach; however, you also get to deal with ultra ghetto Vallejo and Fairfield. Yes there are allergies here, but there are everywhere.
Please ensure you do a bit more research before making broad sweeping statements.
And why no overseas bases? Just asking.
Tom Deibler on January 08, 2017:
you have Moody and Robins on the wrong lists
NK on January 08, 2017:
It is important to remember that this is this individual's opinion. Additionally This person does not wear the uniform. I have been stationed at Goodfellow, Eglin and respectfully disagree with this individuals. Goodfellow has been the worst assignment of my 22 year career. Elmendorf the best. Eglin not bad at all. There are a lot of things to consider when creating this type of list and it's important to recognize this is this persons opinion. Just like we each have our own....
Chris on January 08, 2017:
I was at Robins for over a decade, and I can tell you that the town is very, very supportive of military personnel. I really do miss it there and if I would have had more opportunities as a civilian, then I would still be there. My only complaint is that the civilian (depot) side of the base has many issues, but that has nothing to do with the active duty side of the house. Like all places, a person can make each assignment a positive experience or a negative experience. I don't care if you are going on a short deployment, there is something that you can do to better yourself while there. It's all about what you make of it!
JC on January 08, 2017:
You say in a comment "if you want to travel you should deploy" and that people shouldn't bother getting stationed overseas because people can't buy a home (which is only partially true anyway). Right, so having a launching pad in Europe or Asia to travel the entire region instead of the relatively isolated US and be there for years is the same as deploying to one base where at best you can go off base to the local area at worst cant leave base? Dumb dumb dumb. Plus most overseas bases have local amenities moreso than many bases listed for the US. Kaiserslautern provides more things than Mountain Home. Tokyo provides more things than well anywhere really.
SSGT HamNEggs on March 17, 2016:
Shaw AFB has been built up and is now a joint base with the Army. When we were stationed there it was horrifyingly bad--as in two kids were shot while trick or treating one block down from my apartment. However, the base's expansion allowed for tons more financing towards DoT, education and police. So, it is a great place since it only takes an hour to drive to Hilton Head and about two hours toward Tybee Island--which are some of THE BEST beaches in the entire world IMHO.
JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam is currently disgustingly awful since the train rail construction is disrupting traffic in all directions now and it is ridiculously crowded. It can take upwards of three hours to get to Al Naturale Hawaii spots with no buses of tourists littering the beaches with Starbucks cups and McDonald's wrappers. Keesler AFB is pretty awesome, considering I went there during the Hurricane and dead body flavored water out on the beach is cleared up. It's a really short drive to a lot of beaches, great cost of living and can even drive to historic NO when crime is not too bad........
Tinker AFB is a really wonderful base, too, since job availability is amazing for civilians and the housing is pretty amazing too. It's just really hot. Lackland kind of sucks because I keep having flashbacks from Basic. However, San Antonio is amazing despite housing issues. Essentially, it is best to stick to places near large bodies of water and airports.
I forgot to add that Bolling AFB is not that great when I was there in 07. When getting off and on base, there were actual drug dealers waiting outside the gates. There was a huge problem with drug usage among the airmen there. It's not the worst place to be, but the security and safety is something left to be desired when off base.
A mom on December 26, 2015:
Our son was stationed at little rock,ar for all of his 8 years from 1992 to 2000. He was a JAI.
email@example.com from upstate, NY on December 26, 2015:
I had the time of my life at Beale AFB 1983-4, i had great time with many adventures. Our avionics shop did many things together; climbed Mt Shasta 14,000 ft, skied at Lake Tahoe, rented motor boats at near by lakes and got together often.
Cassi on October 12, 2015:
Anyone know anything about Eielson, AK?
Sip on August 22, 2015:
McChord is a double-edged sword for most AFSC's as I'm sure most bases are. That being said, I'm surprised that it's not on the bad list since the majority of people I've talked to can't stand it. Then again, they put a lot of southerners up there for some reason(including myself) and I just don't think we can deal with the leftwing bullshit that the area pushes on you. Too many hipsters but there is a lot of diversity in the food and culture. Very outdoor friendly part of the country but I'd rather be on a beach with warm water. Put me back in the south where I belong!
Shocked on January 28, 2015:
For those of you that think Eglin is a dream, I welcome you to take my place. If you are basing that judgement solely on its location on the gulf, then you must not care much about quality of life as a whole. This place is absolutely god awful and I would give my front teeth to leave here. Aside from the beach, there is absolutely nothing to do. No museums, no real shopping except for an outlet mall and a small open-air mall, very few restaurants anywhere other than in Destin, and those few aren't great, the cost of living is very high, there is no history or culture, the houses are all ugly with zero character, the neighborhoods are disgusting, most being a mix of rundown houses from the 70's and 80's and shoddy recent builds, traffic is horrific, and there is zero diversity. That is just the beginning. Of course what you find to be nice is relative, but you have to be from some small town with no charm or character to think Eglin is nice. It is absolutely horrible.
Jamie on November 10, 2014:
How is JBER on the bad list…I've yet to find anyone who has actually been stationed there, not like it!
Edwards should be on the bad list. It's remote location is a huge disadvantage. The base is nice but the economy of that area of CA completely sucks.
russlyons on July 22, 2014:
I am curious about your top 2 Good AF bases. I can appreciate your personal opinion but I suspect numerous people will actually gauge where to go based, in part, on your comments and would like to know if you were actually stationed at either Andrews or Bolling AFB???
I was in the AF and have been a DC/MD resident all my life.
Andrews is a fine AF (actually Joint) base but it is not close to mass transit (Metro rail) and the traffic in the area is horrendous so if Airmen live off base, they better be close. The closest university is PG Comm College and isn't that close for Airmen that do not have their own transportation.
Bolling AFB is pretty much in the same status..
One of the good things going for these two bases is that there in the DC Metro area and the offerings of the area as a whole are very promising especially being 3 hrs from the ocean, slightly less to the mountains and 45 mins to 1 hour from the Chesapeake Bay.
Vicki Coffman on July 22, 2014:
I have read this and to start with you mentioned state side bases. The bases in Hawaii and Alaska are not what is considered state side, they are considered overseas since the states are not attached to the first 48 states. I have been to many of these bases, since my son has been in the AF for 13 years now and I have to say I don't agree with much of what you have said. An reviews are nothing but views of people. The people that have made these comments about each base, you may find double the amount of people that might say just the opposite.
Z on June 25, 2014:
Travis AFB is not necessarily bad i live right outside of it. The weather is horrible such as it being to hot and windy (the trees grow side ways) but it is a well kept base besides these things its also pretty big so if you don't mind these things this base is fine.
Carl on June 25, 2014:
Whiteman has to go on the bad list, everyone hates it there. I loved the Air Force until Whiteman and that base was the main reason I decided to get out of the Air Force. The base is surrounded by corn fields and the supporting town is about 2000 people at best. Retention rate there is terrible. Trust me on this one. I spent time at Lackland, Wright Pat, Misawa, Nelis, Keesler, Shepard and Whiteman. Whiteman trumped Shepard as far as crappy goes. Hands down
John on May 21, 2014:
Aviano should be at the top of this list...quite different from the rest. Aside from travel opportunities, this isn't your typical awesome overseas assignment because the base is Italian owned and everyone has to confirm. Very depressing.
Sam on May 04, 2014:
Interesting list/s. There are so many different elements involved in choosing "best" or "worst" list. I think you did a fair job in compiling reasons - either pro or con. Obviously, there is the matter of personal preference and experiences involved as well. But, I just have to mention that Goodfellow was one of my least favorite assignments. The base is small and compact with no exceptional amenities or facilities that are worth mentioning. The town - San Angelo - has a dead downtown core, and boring suburbs and small strip malls. The landscape is barren…and boring. It is located hours from any decent landscape or city (e.g. San Antonio or Austin).
Christina on April 24, 2014:
Been at SJ for 8 years, and love it! Retired here. Grew up outside Andrews. That place sucks!! Horrible to raise a family! Eastern NC is MUCH better! Guess I'm in the minority :)
AshleyMarie on March 30, 2014:
I have to disagree with this. I find it hard to believe that Elmendorf is on the worst list. I was stationed there for 3 years and loved it. It was one of the best places to be at. I was stationed at Goodfellow for 2 years and did not enjoy my time there as much. Goodfellow could be either or. But Elmendorf is one of the best bases to be at. I for one miss Alaska and want to go back.
4 years and going at Shaw on March 29, 2014:
Shaw, number 2 on worst? Seems legit.
Allyn on March 29, 2014:
I have to disagree with what you said about Tinker. Have you ever been stationed here? Places are affordable around Tinker because it's all trash. The neighborhoods are run down and crime is higher. I live in Norman because it's a whole lot nice but the rent is higher. Apparently the Air Force believes we should live in slums because our BAH here does not reflect to be able to live in a nice place in a nice area.
I do agree with Shaw as that was my last base. It is the worse base I have been to. Whether as a dependent or stationed at. If I had a choice of going back to Shaw and getting out. I would hand in my ID card at 11 years TIS.
My first base was Langley and it was so far my best assignment. My unit, supervision and the bigger city are all pluses. Someone who don't like a big city, may be in MX or just don't get along with their supervisor may not like the base.
Everyone has different opinions on each base they get stationed at. I'm not a big fan of these types of reviews because of this. It's giving false information. We can only give our input on our own experiences. It all depends on how someone is, AFSC, what they like to do, etc. We can provide as much information as possible but until someone experiences it for themselves, they will never know.
Have you been to any of these bases or are you just getting info from other sources?
Jacob Abrahamson on March 29, 2014:
Shaw is not all that bad. It's a moderately sized base, and there are things to do around Sumter, and nothing is too far away. Columbia, Florence, Myrtle Beach. Better than Holloman or Creech or Minot or Grand Forks. It really is Not really comparable to huge bases near big cities that can pump a lot of money into the installations. The ghetto people and same stores in the mall give the town a bad name. And housing is cheaper around here than most other places.
BRH on March 29, 2014:
What about Edward? I would put it on the worst base list due to lack of facilities for people to enjoy themselves and the distance of driving to everything. Not bad if you are single or married with no kids, then it's a decent place since you can drive to Vegas, the ocean, or hit up the slopes during the winter. Having kids is a lot harder to be able to take those long drives to do anything.
sasnyder on March 29, 2014:
I have to highly disagree with two of these.
Luke AFB was the absolute worst base I have ever been to in my life! I am a brat turn spouse and have never been to a base that treats their people and dependent so bad. Plus everywhere I went I got belittled and degrated when they discovered I had military affiliation. The job market is none existent and unless you have a truckload of experience (or know someone) you ain't getting a job. I couldn't wait to get as far as I could from the base.
On the reverse, JBER ( Joint Base Elmendorph- Ft. Richardson) has been the best base I have ever been to. Yes I know, the idea of living in rural Alaska is not the most appealing for most. There is snow and cold 8 months out of the year and the weird, ever changing daylight/ nighttime hours take some getting used to. But if you like hunting, fishing, outdoors, or winter sports this is your kind of place. The base has its own nature preserve and ski slope. There is jobs everywhere and in every field of study. The people are friendly and always willing to help out a stranger. Being in Anchorage, the biggest city in Alaska, there is all the convinces you could want.
ems on March 29, 2014:
As an AF Wife for 12+ years I think this list is misleading at best. Elmendorf was our first base, we hated AK, but the base is great and Anchorage is an ok city. Offutt is probably the best base we've been at. Low cost of living, good schools, college baseball world series, a great zoo, the old market area downtown has good food. Wright Patt is good too, close to Columbus and Cincy for food and sports. Dover is a boring base but close to Baltimore, Annapolis, NYC, Philly, beaches.
There were many places on the good list that most people probably wouldn't enjoy at all.
BCD461 on March 29, 2014:
I can appreciate the effort put forth by the author, but this list is less than useless. Speaking from 22 years at 7 assignments, allow me to opine. I see that a lot of people who like this list are not actually in the AF; that in itself is telling. Aside from the feeling that this list is based on ones desire to join the AF to go to college, or be near a burger place, there are other glaring faults. The bottom line is that just as any other place on earth is not all perfect, or all horrible, there's good and bad about all of them and what an assignment is to you is certainly what you make of it. Holloman, in the middle of the NM desert, is generally a bad experience for someone who loves a good forest, or convenient shopping. But there are some great things about the area that can't be duplicated anywhere else. Yes, the traffic sucks around Tyndall, but it is a base ON its own beach! You can rent boats from outdoor recreation for dirt cheap any day of the week! If you don't care for big city living, or a long commute, you're going to really dislike Andrews, even if it is at the top of this list. Stratification of bases like this is as impossible as stratification of the cuisines of the world.
Matt on March 29, 2014:
I don't think I've ever disagreed more with an opinion than I do with yours here. In fact, I agree with Dusty, George, and Adam above. This list is nothing more than a selfish, uninformed crock of shit and should be ignored by anyone looking for assignment information. First off, no Airman should be using a list made by somebody else using unreliable information to pick an assignment. Internet opinions of bases are probably the most unreliable source of information available. Where assignments are concerned, an Airman usually has little say or choice in their assignment location. Assignments are made based on the needs the Air Force first, not by what somebody feels is their idea of a good base or if there is a McDonalds outside the main gate. As a 24 year retired Air Force veteran, I've been assigned to, traveled through, or done temporary duty at most of the bases you have on both of these lists. In my opinion, I've never seen "lists of bases" that miss the mark on information as much as both of yours do. I can tell you now, Elmendorf AFB, AK and Eglin AFB, FL are two of the finest installations I've ever been assigned to, both from the standpoint of doing my duty and for the facilities and activities available both on and off base. My teenage daughter, who was born at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, and learned to swim on the beaches at Eglin AFB, FL, cried when I told her my time was up and we had to leave Elmendorf AFB, AK. I think both of your lists, aside from being terribly under-researched, are very dangerous tools that should be ignored by any Airman trying to make an informed assignment decision. An assignment is what you make of it. It is about the mission first, the people who rely on you, and serving, not about how far it is to groceries, restaurants, shopping, and entertainment. I do not know what gives you the authority or right to rank Air Force bases based on crap advice from unreliable internet opinions, but you obviously have no real experience with most of what you are talking about and should keep your opinions to yourself. In fact, it is my bet that your overseas ranking lists are equally worthless, so I will not waste any of my time looking at them.
Matt on March 29, 2014:
I can agree with you about FE Warren & Seymour Johnson. I am still undecided about Shaw. (I've been stationed here for less than a year). You left Hill AFB off both lists. I loved my time there.
Adam on March 28, 2014:
This list a crock of shit. Eglin one of the worst bases? Keesler? If going off of base facilities Keesler should be higher (brand new BX and Commissary). I am at SJ now and it cannot be possibly worse than Cannon or Minot (bases in the middle of nowhere). Any base in FL should be on the good side. As well as Langley, too. "Based off internet reviews" ? I don't even think the person who wrote this is even in the AF.
George on March 28, 2014:
Do not follow this list. One of the top 5 not saying which one was the worst base in my career I was ordered to drink and drive, and ordered to drive through a hurricane and have heard similar storied for 3 years ago.
Erin on March 28, 2014:
You got forgot Laughlin, Del Rio Tx. Should be even higher up your worst list. There is almost nothing, its hot with bipolar winters, and the town is really not that appreciative of the military. And we're on the border next to a not so friendly town with a lot of Mexican drug wars/gang violence/etc.
Mush on March 28, 2014:
You mean Holloman didn't make the worst list? Then this list is for reals a bunch of BS!
jamie on March 28, 2014:
I think you got wright patterson and eglin mixed up. There are more civilian people employed on the base than activeduty. The morale of the base is horrible for active duty.
Tabitha on March 28, 2014:
I was born and raised in Robins, GA and I do not understand why you would put it on the worst list. It may not be the best, but it is FAR from the worst!! The town itself, Warner Robins, has hundreds of amazing eateries, shopping is good in the town itself and Macon has 2 big malls-one indoor and an even nicer outdoor mall. It is less than 2 hours from Atlanta and an easy drive, if you want to experience the city life for a weekend. It is also located 3 hours from Savannah, Georgia and the beach, or drive 3.5-4 hours in another direction to reach the beaches of the Gulf in Florida!! Robins has a great night life and a ton of activities for the kids. It also rates as one of the highest school districts in the State. Therefore, I feel you should remove Robins, GA from the list-OR-come up with a better reason why you feel it is the worst base. Also, did you ever think there was nothing around because you were not in the right place? There is more to do in the area surrounding Robins, then some of the bases listed on the Best List. I would like to know how you can justify it as a worst base.
Rachel Bowlin on March 28, 2014:
No, no, and no. Andrews first? Was the public school system included in the criteria? Andrews can only be first if you're happy with your kids in overcrowded schools with no windows because the school is worried about drive-by shootings.
Seven duty stations in 13 years on March 27, 2014:
Loved Luke as an Airman. Hated it as an NCO. Kunsan was an amazing experience. Seymour Johnson was hell on Earth. Eglin was Heaven on Earth and Pope is a glimpse into what it's like to be in the Army. I didn't join the Army for a reason and cannot wait to leave here.
Stuck at Seymour Johnson on March 27, 2014:
Seymour sucks! That's why it's called Shady J. It also has one of the highest suicide rates. The reason so many retire here is because once you get here it's very hard to get orders out. Especially if you have a family. When you do get orders your children are in high school. At that point you're sucking it up for your family by leaving them at "Shady J" and bop'ing back to hell.
Bax on March 27, 2014:
There are tons of people who stay at Seymour for years and even retire there so it must not be that bad. All new housing, close to several larger cities and the beach, very military friendly and several colleges close by.
money on March 27, 2014:
Cannon is the worst. How can it not be. The best base stateside is Macdill, then Charleston, Luke, Nellis, Eglin, McCord, ...blah blah...there arent that many good bases stateside...
Mike on March 27, 2014:
Your list is way off! Elmemdorf should be on the good list for sure. And why is it all state side? If I was gonna add some bases to the bad list I would of started with Korea. Def a list made by a noner.
brian on March 26, 2014:
So Im currently at Travis AFB and I can promise you there isn't a "in n out" outside the gate. Allergies yes are big here but that's minor. You have Tahoe, napa, lake beryessa, Sac and San Fran within 1 hour away from base. Solano college near the base. Biggest downfall for Cali bases is that there are so many enviornmental factors/ state law we have to be aware of on and off duty.
Jeff on March 26, 2014:
I'm glad that you put Goodfellow on the good list. I spent my entire time there in the early 90's. When I first arrived there I wanted to leave the first chance I got. After being there awhile I was doing what ever I could to be able to stay in San Angelo. The people there are some of the friendliest I've ever met. There are things to do, you just have to look and pay attention. I'm not sure how it is to live on base anymore, but there are good areas and bad areas of San Angelo just like any other city.
Jim Spellman on March 26, 2014:
Wait. What? There is "an In-N-Out right outside the gate" at Travis AFB? Really!?! Could have fooled me (Oh, wait -- you are). Unless you define 7.66 miles (Fairfield) or 9.96 miles (Vacaville) as being "right outside the gate", someone is blowing smoke up your six o'clock position, and it isn't the aroma of a Double double (I checked. Go see: http://www.in-n-out.com/mobile/locations.aspx). BTW -- Travis AFB is a fine base, taking back-to-back 2nd place in the CINC IEA competitions, although I'm still partial to Vandenberg AFB and Hickam AFB.
afretiree on March 26, 2014:
For those who don't know about southern living, you completely missed Joint Base Charleston. Its one of those hidden gems. Yes it's hot and humid in the summer but the beach is close by, its really laid back and a great assignment.
AFoklahoma on February 20, 2014:
Tinker is nice. The schools there are ok and OKC has plenty to offer as far as dining and shopping. Andrews and Bolling have plenty to do, but the area is high crime, congested and the schools are awful. Altus AFB didn't make the list of worst, but you should reconsider. It's isolated, and there is virtually nothing to do unless you want to drive 2.5 hours to OKC. All of the bases in Florida are nice. There's no reason why they should be on the worst list.
Sam on January 21, 2014:
I'm sorry, but I had to post to discredit you on what you posted about Langley. You weren't personally stationed at Langley, and you posted completely false information about it.
You stated: "Ironically, one of my wife’s peers had found out that they would be stationed in Langley. I then wanted to see why specifically it was listed on the bad list. After several different reviews I was able to come up with the following; everyone absolutely hated their time spent there, there are massive size cockroaches where ever you look, the weather is extremely humid, all of the houses are old and even newly built houses have an "old" look, they have many education opportunities nearby."
In your reasons why Langley is one of the worst bases, it was actually describing Hickam to a T. I think you got them confused.
I was stationed at Langley, and also am from VA so I know for certain that there are no cockroaches anywhere. Now in Hawaii, they are everywhere. Langley's only problem was wasps and spiders. If you talked to people that have been stationed at Langley you would realize that the only reason people hate being there, is because Langley seems to be a black hole. People are typically stationed there for 4+ years, and people don't join the military to stay in one place for a long period of time.
Weather in VA is not extremely humid. It has the most random weather, but the humidity isn't that high. Go to Mexico and you will realize what humid actually means.
The housing statement is completely false, except for the historic homes on base. New homes were built off base, and they don't look old on the outside, or the inside.
You really shouldn't post information that is mostly false. Langley is one of the only Air Force bases that has F-22's. The Hampton Roads area has a lot to offer. It has beaches, country, city, and it isn't a long drive to the mountains. It doesn't have very harsh winters, so it's a better choice for people who don't really enjoy freezing temperatures.
There are also plenty of places to rent in the area that are lower than BAH. We stayed out in the country and absolutely loved it. We banked money, and also got free cable and internet. Do your research. We would gladly return to Langley today if we could. The area is much better than one of your "Best" bases listed, Hickam.
There is only so much you can do on such a congested island. With more than a million people on such small surface area, there is traffic everywhere. The traffic on Oahu is always either #1 or #2 of worst traffic in the U.S. You may be 10 minutes away from the mall, but really it turns into 45+ minutes. Hawaii doesn't offer many of the restaurants that people on the mainland are used to. Say goodbye to Krispy Kreme, Texas Roadhouse, Chipotle, Tropical Smoothie, Olive Garden, and even Plaza Azteca. If you have a fear of roaches, which most people do, don't put Hickam on your dream sheet. You can be certain to find at least two roaches in your home each week, and every once in a while a B-52. That's the locals term for big ass roach. The weather is mainly nice in Hawaii, but the people that have to wear uniforms sweat on a daily basis. Living off base is nearly impossible even with the amount of BAH you receive, unless you live in a dump that is even more likely to have roaches. If you love the beach, and don't need an escape then Hickam may be a good bet for people. You can't expect to fly home that often because of how much tickets are, no matter how far out you purchase them. Just some real info for you.
I hope your wife gets stationed at Langley so you will realize how wrong your list really is.
Erin on October 27, 2013:
Goodfellow is the armpit of America ..worst base EVER! Yucky old place lived there twice, hated it twice who wants to live by lake nasty water? Anything on the white beautiful beaches of Florida is FANTASTIC. Colorado is Great.. Ramstein is #1, without a doubt; hands down. You only live once ..may as well see 16 countries in 3 years. :)
Troop 145 on October 24, 2013:
Eglin? You must not like the beach nor women. This must be based off the bases that give you the best xbox live connection.
Elyshia on October 15, 2013:
If your coming to Good Fellow Air Force Base san Angelo Texas Do not live in post housing!!! It has a huge problem with water bugs aka cockroaches an there not little. The post housing is not kept up, Led base paint, The carpets they keep in for 12 years piping is rusted. You have to pay if you want to maintain the mosquitoes. I could go on, But when you've seen Air Force base like ramstein Germany, This post/training is a disgrace. To our military an there family
Retired TSgt on October 01, 2013:
Im sorry but Whiteman AFB does NOT belong on that list for good bases sure Missouri is cheap, but the local area does get tiring especially with super humid summers and super cold winters. Also Whiteman /Knob Noster is sparse, and has minimal facilities, the Colocated club is ok, but honestly? Whiteman is in the middle of nowhere, there is Warrensburg about 10 miles away with its college life and 24 HR Walmart, but that more appeals to single airmen, married one's sure there is the outdoors, but you really have to go outward to reach the city life, Kansas City is 60 miles away and there isn't a whole lot in other areas like Sedalia or Concordia. Yes you can tell I lived there.
And im surprized JBLM (Joint Base Lewis McChord) was not mentioned as a good one, the area is amazing with lots of different restaurants, venues and nature, Mt Rainier is nearby and camping and watersports are spectacular, now yes it rains a lot, but the climate for the most part is moderate. Plenty of facilities on both McChord Airfield and on Ft Lewis. Off base is expensive, but there are areas that are great to live in in the Tacoma area, and Seattle has plenty of culture and is only 38 miles away. And for those close to retiring, the medical facilities are first rate (Madigan, Eagle Lake to name a few).
Thomas on May 11, 2013:
I don't even know where to start with this page, lol. Everything about this is wrong and this is coming from someone who grew up military and is currently in the Air Force. I have been to a lot of these bases and know numerous people who have been to any air force base out there.
First, not all the bases in the US are even on this list. Your
Melanie Casey from Indiana on April 04, 2013:
I was stationed at Mountain Home AFB, ID for a few years. Boise was an hour away and that was the only place to go. It was very isolated. Mtn Home (the town) is a few miles down the road, but most of the people who live there are Military or Civilians who work on the base. If you like the outdoors (desert, mountains and rivers) it's a nice place to be, otherwise it could be a bit boring.
Nicoli Clause (author) from United States of America on March 12, 2013:
Thanks for the comment Dean! It isn't a problem, I am glad you were able to find the time to write such a great comment. I don't consider anyone "right" or "wrong" in terms of opinions. This is especially true since reviews are just that.
I am always looking for new information to improve my articles and since you have first-hand experience it really does help those looking to relocate to these areas.
deank2002 on March 10, 2013:
"14. Nellis, NV
(Nevada was another state that was hit hard by the housing market. In other words you will find ample properties for sale for cheap. Now, If you have ever been to Las Vegas you will know it is a pretty busy place which may not be good for the more down to earth people. Other than Vegas there isn't much else around except for vast amounts of desert sand)"
Just wanted to add my two cents on your review of Vegas. I understand that it's impossible that you have gone most places in your career so since I am a Vegas native I would like to give more info. It is true that you can get an unbelievable deal on a Vegas home right now. I just short sold my house for 66% of what I paid for it. They are mostly new homes also. However, the area where the base is located is a little more run down than other parts of town. Most of the Vegas development is happening in the South, and the West. These are the places to live, and this would give you a half hour commute, just to be safe. If you can avoid it North LV is somewhere to avoid since it has a higher crime rate and was mostly developed in the mid 90's where they were just throwing together cheap houses to keep up with the demand.
I greatly dissagree with your assessment of Vegas as a place "down to earth," people would want to avoid. While the strip exists, you are not forced to go there, and with the acception of the towering hotels "real" Vegas is just like any other city of over 1 million ppl. Most locals avoid the strip at all costs, which isn't hard since the strip is only ~ 2 blocks wide. It is a fun time however when friends/family come into town. You have more shows that anywhere outside of broadway, maybe more even than broadway, I'm not sure. You have boating in lake mead, biking, climbing and rock climbing in Red Rock (my favorite place). Death Valley is 1.5 hours. There are museums, tons of parks, circus circus amusement park, Hoover dam is .5 hours (at least good for 1 saturday trip while you are there). Tons of Nat parks nearby besides Death Valley, like Bryce, Zion, and the Grand Canyon. If you love the beach it's a bit of a trek, but 4.5 hours is a lot closer than other places.
I realize that I sound like I'm defending Vegas hard and I admit there are issues, but from someone who doesn't gamble or drink: Trust me Vegas is great without all the "Vegas" stuff.
My perspective; I'm currently stationed at NAS Pensacola, and although I'm loving the emerald coast, I am sorely missing the Nevada desert (14 year resident). So much that I am considering HC-130s over 15's or B-1's just to be in AZ. My 2 cents.
Nicoli Clause (author) from United States of America on February 02, 2013:
Maggie- I do remember many reviews listed online being exceptionally bad for Elmendorf. If you doubt any of this to be true then I would urge you to do your own research upon the matter.
Ironically, one of my wife’s peers had found out that they would be stationed in Langley. I then wanted to see why specifically it was listed on the bad list. After several different reviews I was able to come up with the following; everyone absolutely hated their time spent there, there are massive size cockroaches where ever you look, the weather is extremely humid, all of the houses are old and even newly built houses have an "old" look, they have many education opportunities nearby.
These are just a few that I can remember off the top of my head (as the site is currently down), but, the one thing I did note was that there wasn't a single positive review.
You are very right about the slight contradiction listed, I thank you for pointing it out and will fix it as soon as possible.
Yes, you are correct they are considered "OCONUS Assignments", but, are they not a part of the United States of America? I wouldn't mind buying a house in Alaska and would love to be able to afford one in Hawaii. I’m not sure if you missed the point of my previous comment completely or if you’re just simply pointing out this fact.
Maggie on February 02, 2013:
I find it very hard to believe that Elmendorf and Langley are considered the "worst" bases in the USAF. Listing the D.C. bases as the best but provide zero information on how long you'll be sitting in traffic and the cost of living doesn't make much sense. Then you list Hanscom as one of the worst due to cost of living? This list needs a little more research and information to come close to being accurate.
FYI - Alaska and Hawaii are considered OCONUS assignments.
Dave on December 13, 2012:
I love this article. My wife is joining the air force and we are trying to figure out what bases she should list on her dream sheet. Information and reviews on bases are hard to find, especially with a list comparing bases relative to each other. We know we may end up hating the best reviewed base or loving the worst reviewed base, but this gives us a starting point to make our dream sheet and it will help increase our odds of listing bases we will enjoy...Thanks!
Nicoli Clause (author) from United States of America on December 08, 2012:
Travis; I appreciate your experience and feedback to this article. But, there is a reason I had listed only state side bases and as you stated "It is personal". If you choose to live OCONUS, by all means, that is your own decision.
The reason I had created this list was for those that were thinking about making a specific location their home while in the Air Force & possibly beyond the extent of their enlistment. For example, once I was done with my initial training, I was stationed at MCAGCC Twentynine Palms. Now, I would never want to permanently live in 29 Palms, but, say I had the option to be stationed at Camp Pendleton, I would highly consider permanently residing in California.
What this has to do with state side bases is the fact that I would never personally choose to buy a home OCONUS. If you have a family, there is a good chance you will be living on base or be receiving BAH. If you’re going to be receiving BAH, I would invest that money into a permanent home (that I will have after the Air Force/ Marine Corps) vs. off base living expenses in another country.
Essentially, I am utilizing the money as an investment at the expense of traveling or living in an apartment or rentable home. If I knew the likelihood of receiving a mortgage for a home was slim, I would then consider being stationed OCONUS with my family (remember, this all relates to getting one of your choices on your "dream sheet").
There was a time I would have considered being stationed OCONUS (When I was young and single). But, having a family has changed my priorities and I now tend to focus on the future. Of course this article is going to be personal to some degree as I am the one who wrote it. But, keep in mind that I am not biased in the sense that I have not been able to experience the majority of these bases listed. This list is a compilation of the majority of reviews scattered throughout the internet.
It was tedious searching the internet trying to find reviews for bases you would consider making your home. Once I found enough reviews on one base I listed it as "good" or "bad" and have listed some of the reasons above. Now, let me ask you this; how quickly were you able to find this article when you typed in "best" "worst" air force bases (a very wide search). Quite quickly I imagine as it is on page 1 of Google. This being said I intend to help those who want to make sure their family has the greatest chance of being happy. Everyone is going to have a different experience; my intentions are to inform those that are looking at stateside bases for similar reasons to my own.
You say "the whole point of the military is to travel the world". I have asked many people "What is your reason for joining the military, or more specifically the USMC". Let me tell you, it is hard to find someone with the same answer. Traveling the world is a perk for some (and may have been your reason for joining) but, I can assure you that it is not the "point" of the military for many of those serving. And frankly, in my opinion, if you want to travel the world I would tell you to go on a deployment.
Travis on December 07, 2012:
I've been in the Air Force for a while, and you listed all stateside bases. The whole point of the military is to travel the world, and experience other cultures. I think you did a good job on the effort, but this is only personal experience, and not based off the USAF as a whole. So....Fail.
Kc on November 17, 2012:
I find it a little hard to believe Buckley can be that bad. Its in Denver...
peachpower from Florida on October 10, 2012:
Hahahahahaha!!! I LOVED reading this Hub!! My little brother is in the USAF, and he's stationed at Shaw, which I see came in at number 2 on your worst base list. He doesn't have many complaints, actually, and I can't vouch for that base in particular since I haven't been there yet. I can, however, tell you that Goodfellow (where he did tech school for fire services) is tiny- I flew out to visit him while he was there. The town of San Angelo is tiny and there is NOTHING to do. What a great Hub. Voted up and awesome.
Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on September 27, 2012:
Interesting Hub. My son was in the Air Force and he went from Lackland to Elmendorf to Warner Robins. Guess he could have done better with his assignments? Great job.