Lajes Field is located on the Azores Islands, a group of islands located in the North Atlantic Ocean about 2,200 miles east of New York City and approximately 900 miles west of Lisbon, Portugal. Lajes Field is located on the northeast tip of Terceira. The island measures roughly 8 miles by 15 miles and is somewhat oval in shape and is almost entirely bordered by high cliffs. Island population is approximately 50,000.
The first Americans arrived in 1944, to construct a runway. Over the years, Lajes has provided support to US and NATO operations, and Operations DESERT SHIELD/STORM. In March 2003, The Atlantic Summit, hosted by the Portuguese government brought many distinguished visitors to the island, including U.S. President George W. Bush.
The 65th Air Base Wing is the American unit stationed at Lajes Field, Azores, Portugal. This United States Air Forces in Europe unit is the largest U.S. military organization in the Azores.
The 65th Air Base Wing enables the expeditionary movement of warfighters, warplanes, and global communications to combatant commanders; supports joint, Coalition, and NATO operations; and promotes regional partnerships.
The wing provides base and en route support for Department of Defense, allied nations and other authorized aircraft transiting the installation. Aircraft supported by the wing come from various nations, including the Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, France, Italy, Colombia, Germany, Venezuela and Great Britain.
In addition to the wing, other units at Lajes Field include U.S. Army Military Traffic Management Command’s 1324th Military Port Command, Air Mobility Command’s 729th Air Mobility Support Squadron, Detachment 6 of the Air Force News Agency, Det. 250 Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office and the Defense Commissary Agency.
1,793 DoD personnel and their families as well as Portuguese military personnel. The Lajes Field community is very similar to a small town in the United States. It is very close knit with many opportunities to get involved in educational, social, recreation and cultural programs.
Currently, there is no base transportation on this installation.
Having a sponsor is KEY to PCSing to Lajes. A sponsor will provide needed information prior to PCSing and will meet the member and family upon arrival and provide transportation to lodging. A sponsor can assist with a lodging reservation. Contact the Airman & Family Readiness Center at 011-351-295-57-4138 or DSN 314-535-4138 if you do not have a sponsor. If you provide your sponsor with a copy of orders, they will obtain a Post Office box for you 30 days prior to your arrival.
Due to the increase of incoming personnel during the summer months (May-August), base temporary quarters are extremely limited and the waiting time for housing may be longer than usual. Personnel should consider arriving ahead of their families to secure housing before their family arrives, especially if their sponsor has been unable to secure billeting reservations. Hotels/motels are limited and expensive. Lodging is located in Bldg. T-166 and can be reached by calling 011-351-295-57-5178 or DSN 314-535-5178.
Air Force personnel are required to in-process through their unit and Military Personnel Element (MPE). Right Start is held every other Tuesday and should be scheduled by the MPE. Personnel will report to the Airman and Family Readiness Center, Bldg. T-126, at 7:30 a.m. on the assigned Tuesday for the two-day Right Start/Newcomer’s Orientation. Right Start begins with a personal brief by the Wing Commander or Vice Wing Commander as well as the Command Chief. This mandatory day of briefings is designed to inform you on the mission, introduce you to key support agencies and base policies. Spouses are encouraged to attend! Morning refreshments are provided. There is also an opportunity to receive your Portuguese driver’s license while attending Right Start.
Community Orientation Tour: A great way to get to know the island and see some of the magnificent sites Terceira Island has to offer is through the tour offered in conjunction with your Right Start briefing. Each military member must attend Right Start upon arrival and spouses are encouraged to join-in. The tour will be provided by 65 Services professional tour guides.
Critical Installation Information
Foreign Spouses coming to the Azores
Any military member whose spouse is NOT a U.S. citizen SHOULD contact the MPF at Lajes upon receipt of assignment notification to obtain the correct information on whether or not their spouse will need to obtain a Portuguese Visa prior to their arrival at Lajes.
Important Documents to Hand Carry
Copies of PCS Orders, Military records, medical/dental records, dependent passports, Marriage and birth certificates, immunization records, school records of family members, if applicable. Also hand carry HHGS inventory/TMO paperwork, vehicle shipment, and any receipts or information needed to complete a travel voucher. All individuals must bring their valid stateside drivers license to get their Portuguese license. Spouses looking for employment should bring a resume. However, employment is very limited.
Passports and Visas
Ensure member and/or dependents have the required passports and/or visa prior to final out-processing. Member and/or dependents are not allowed to final out-process without the required passports/visas in hand for themselves (if applicable) and/or dependents. Members electing the accompanied tour will not be permitted to out-process without having the required passports/visas in hand for themselves (if applicable) and/or dependents.
These actions are necessary to prevent unforeseen hardships to the military members and their families. Therefore, as a last reiteration, it is essential, members do not out-process without having the appropriate passports/visas for themselves (if applicable) and/or dependents.
Cost of Living
The local currency is the EURO. This rate changes each business day.
The Pentagon Federal Credit Union has a branch at Lajes. They do not make over-the-counter transactions in cash. Personal checks may be cashed at the Base Exchange and The Club. Additionally, money order services are available at the Post Office and Exchange.
Voltage in the work place and military family housing is 110. In off-base homes, 50Hz is used. Frequency dependent equipment is affected. Please check with your sponsor if you have questions.
Restricted Weight Allowance
Lajes Field has a restricted weight allowance. All base housing is fully furnished and off-base housing is provided fully furnished. Contact your nearest TMO for weight allowances and your sponsor for more information on items provided.
Due to the limited medical care available, individuals with unusual medical problems or who are on special medications should check with their overseas clearance section prior to departure.
Environmental Morale Leave (EML)
Command sponsored families are eligible for two EML trips per year. This grants individuals a higher category while traveling Space “A.” Currently, EML destinations are the US and Italy. The AMC Passenger Terminal at Lajes is the best source for correct information on the subject.
Frequently Called Numbers on Base
Base Operator DSN: 535-1110 011-351-295-57-1110
Base Housing Office 011-351-295-57-3507 DSN: 535-3507
Dental Appointments 011-351-295-57-3139 DSN: 535-3139
Doctor Appts 011-351-295-57-3261 DSN: 535-3261
Central Dorm Manager 011-351-295-57-3890/ 011-351-295-57-4173 DSN: 535-3890
Child Care (Family Home Care) 011-351-295-57-3188 DSN: 535-3188
Child Development Center 011-351-295-57-3188 DSN: 535-3188
Child Development Program 011-351-295-57-3188 DSN: 535-3188
Dental Clinic After Hours Emergency 011-011-351-295-57-3237 DSN: 535-3237
DoDDS – Elementary and High School 011-351-295-57-3491 DSN: 535-3491
DoDDS Elementary School 011-351-295-543-491/011-351-295-576-216 DSN: 535-3491
DoDDS High School 011-351-295-54-4151 DSN: 535-4151
Education Services Center 011-351-295-57-3355 DSN: 535-3355
Family Practice Clinic 011-351-295-57-3239 Phone: Appts: 011-351-295-57-3261 DSN: 535-3239
Housing Office 011-351-295-57-3507/011-351-295-57-3146 DSN: 535-3507
Lajes Youth Program 011-351-295-57-3273/011-351-295-57-1197 DSN: 535-3273
Lodging Office 011-351-295-57-5178/ 011-351-295-57-3727 DSN: 535-5178
School Age Program 011-351-295-57-3273/ 011-351-295-57-1197
Youth Center 011-351-295-57-3273 DSN: 535-3273