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United States Air Force
Commercial Gate Visitors Center
Grand Forks AFB, ND 58205
Law Enforcement Desk
The cost of living indices are based on a US average of 100. An amount below 100 means Grand Forks is cheaper than the US average. A cost of living index above 100 means Grand Forks, is more expensive. Grand Forks cost of living is 88.2.
The median home price in Grand Forks is $225,300.
As of September 2021, rent for a one bedroom apartment in Grand Forks, ND averages $669; a two bedroom apartment rent averages $857 per month; a 3 bedroom is $1218 and a 4 bedroom apartment averages $1468 per month.
Winter Weather Preparation
Grand Forks Air Force Base is a northern tier base subject to severe winter weather. To lessen stress, prior to the arrival of winter (December, January and February), it is strongly recommended that privately owned vehicles are prepared for winter weather. Failure to do so may result in unexpected repairs.
Stock your vehicle with the following provisions:
Snow shovel, broom, and ice scraper
Abrasive material such as sand or kitty litter, in case your vehicle gets stuck in the snow
Jumper cables, flashlight, and warning devices such as flares and markers
Blankets for protection from the cold, extra warm clothing
A cell phone with charger, batteries, water, high energy snacks, and any necessary medicine
If you desire child care, you (or your sponsor) can create an account with MilitaryChildCare.com (a Department of Defense program) where you will find comprehensive information on child care programs, conduct a customized search and submit a request for care. We recommend you do this in advance of your departure from your current location. Of course, if you are a single parent this is especially important.
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.
Military ID & DEERS
Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD-12) and Federal Identity Processing Standard (FIPS-201) requires TWO forms of identification documents for initial issue and replacement of ID cards.
Lost or stolen CACs are accountable government property. A statement of lost or stolen ID must be provided before a replacement CAC can be issued. Lost or stolen CACs must be reported to 319 SFS, Law Enforcement Desk, bldg. 339, 1st floor.
For initial issue or renewal of any type of military ID card (CAC, dependent, or retiree etc.), all DEERS eligible customers must have two forms of ID to include other specific items for the type of DEERS update being requested. One must be a valid state or federal issued photo ID. The second form of ID can be a social security card, birth certificate, valid passport, or any from this list. All documents MUST be original or certified true copies.
NOTE: The sponsor is always required to be present for any DEERS update unless a Power of Attorney (POA) has been issued specifically authorizing the ability to update DEERS.
If you are considering living on Grand Forks Air Force Base, contact the Balfour Beatty Communities (BBC) Housing Office at t701-594-8000 to request an advanced housing application.
Grand Forks AFB is in the 701 area code. Commercial base numbers have the prefix of 747. The DSN prefix is 362. The base operator can be reached at 701-747-1110 or DSN 362-747-1110.
Vehicle drivers will not use hand-held communication devices such as cell phones, two-way radios, or electronic devices such as personal data assistants (PDAs) while driving a vehicle on base. Vehicle drivers may operate these devices only once the vehicle is safely stopped and the vehicle placed in park. This policy applies to all military and civilian personnel who operate a privately owned motor vehicle, Government Owned vehicle or Government Service Administration vehicles.
Defense Service Network (DSN) Dialing Instructions
The DSN is the provider of long-distance communications service for the Department of Defense (DoD). Every installation has a special DSN number and the numbers vary by world-wide location. In order to place a call using DSN, the caller must be using a military phone on an installation. Cell phones cannot dial DSN numbers. When dialing a DSN number from a United States installation to another United States installation, it is unnecessary to dial the 701 area code. When dialing a DSN number to/from overseas locations, the DSN area code must be included. The operator can be reached at commercial (701) 747-1110. Please note that long distance charges may be incurred.
Attention sponsors and incoming Airmen:
Service members moving to Grand Forks Air Force Base can make lodging reservations at the Warrior Inn as soon as they receive orders from their losing base. Early contact decreases the risk of members having to stay in off-base accommodation. Call 701-747-7200 to make reservations or for more information.
The DSN is the provider of long-distance communications service for the Department of Defense (DoD). Every installation has a special DSN number and the numbers vary by world-wide location. In order to place a call using DSN, the caller must be using a military phone on an installation. Cell phones cannot dial DSN numbers. When dialing a DSN number from a United States installation to another United States installation, it is unnecessary to dial the DSN 312 area code. When dialing a DSN number to/from overseas locations, the DSN area code must be included. The operator can be reached at commercial (719) 567-1110. Please note that long distance charges may be incurred.
Other relevant information
DoD Civilians and retirees are eligible to apply for privatized base housing at Grand Forks AFB.
Child care off-base can be expensive and difficult to secure and the CDC has a wait list for some categories.
Weather: October to April features everything from blizzards, black ice on the roads (watch for ice patches on bridges, ramps, etc.) to freezing rain, snow, (you may have to scrape your windshield in the morning) etc. Winter driving involves due diligence, speed reduction and lengthening space between vehicles.
May to September brings a wide range of temperatures, from the 50’s in May to 80+ in August. During this time, be prepared for seasonal allergies (mold, pollen, etc.). The Grand Forks area has a pretty short growing season. Mosquitoes & ticks (active in temps over 40 degrees) are problematic, so pets (and you) should be protected. Ticks are found in tall grasses, so check everyone over after outdoor activities. It helps to wear light colored clothing. Protect yourself and family members between dusk to dawn from mosquitoes (stay indoors or check out many of the over the counter products).
Grand Forks Air Force Base is a Global Hawk Base.
319th Reconnaissance Wing Mission:
"Team Grand Forks...Focused on Innovation, Enabling Victory"
"Forging innovative airpower through world-class Airmen, installation support, and community partnerships; Warriors of the North enabling victory across the spectrum--local, national, global, and space--because without It...you lose!"
In 1954, the Department of Defense chose Grand Forks as the site for an Air Defense Command base. Community-minded citizens donated $65,000 toward the purchase of a 5,400-acre tract of land. The actual construction of the base began in February of 1956. By 1960, the Air Force had stationed the KC-135 and the F-101 B fighter interceptor. Two years later, the first B-52 bomber arrived and by the end of the decade, Minuteman II Intercontinental Ballistic Missile became operational.
Over the next few decades, the base saw the departure of the fighters and the switch from B-52s to B-1 bombers. Some of the biggest organizational changes included the inactivation of the Strategic Air Command and the re-designation of the base's Bomber Wing as the 319th Air Refueling Wing in the early 1990's. In 1998, all the Minuteman III missiles were shipped to other locations and the silos were imploded, leaving aerial refueling as the base’s primary mission. At one time, the Warriors of the North at Grand Forks Air Force Base supported 48 KC-135 Stratotankers under the Air Mobility Command, making it the first supertanker wing in the Air Force.
Today the base is home to the 319th Reconnaissance Wing assigned to the Air Combat Command where we generate world-class support for the Global Hawk High Altitude ISR mission and seamlessly operate and sustain the High Frequency Global Communication System. GFAFB has also recently been assigned a future satellite mission from the Defense Department's Space Development Agency. For additional information, see the Grand Forks AFB, ND homepage.
Grand Forks Air Force Base provides base operating and direct operational support to wing personnel and tenant units. Grand Forks Air Force Base also provide logistics, medical, civil engineer, contracting, communications, security and force support services and functions, and maintain facilities and equipment in support of Air Expeditionary Force and combatant commander requirements. Additionally, we provide facilities and equipment support for the base's hosted units including the following;
Grand Forks Air Force Base is a Global Hawk base located in Grand Forks County, North Dakota, 16 miles west of the City of Grand Forks, and consists of 5,773 acres. The Grand Forks Metro Area has a population close to 102,299 (US Census 2018 estimate) and is home to the University of North Dakota which has an enrollment of 13,581 (UND 2020 enrollment). Grand Forks has been voted the best College Town in North Dakota by Reviews.org, the Best Place to Live in North Dakota by Time Money, top 10 of America's Best Hockey Town by SmartAsset (5 years in a row) as well as the Most Secure U.S. Places by Farmers Insurance.
In the past few years, the Grand Forks community was voted Best Place to Live in North Dakota, Money Magazine: Top 100 Best Places to Live, Livability, #1: Best States for Millennials, MoneyRates, #1: Young People Are Moving to These States, U.S. News and #4: Best States to Start a Business, Wallethub. The University of North Dakota (UND) is located in Grand Forks and has established an international reputation for Unmanned Aerial Systems, engineering, aerospace, research and scholarship, notably health sciences, nutrition, energy and environmental protection.
Grand Forks AFB is located in the Heart of the Red River Valley at the junction of the Red Lake River and the Red River of the North. The Grand Forks area has 43 miles of biking, hiking and inline skating trails as well as a great mix of sporting events, and an energetic arts scene. The Rural Bicycle Loop is a 100-mile paved route beginning and ending in Grand Forks, including Highway 2 and the cities of Mekinock, Emerado and Mayville. The North Star Trail, planted in the thick woods of Turtle River State Park, is a 10-mile scenic loop that combines rolling hills, flatlands and stream crossings. Grand Forks AFB is also home to Grand Sky, America’s first commercial Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) business and aviation park.
The quality of life in this community has been ranked by Money Magazine as one of the top communities in the nation. According to Bankrate's rankings, which equally weighted weather, cost of living, crime, quality of health care, state and local taxes and general well-being, North Dakota scored in the top 5 (ranked 4th) in the country for best states for retirees. Plus, its residents report the highest level of general well-being in the country. In addition to the thousands of career opportunities available, North Dakotans enjoy an excellent quality of life. North Dakota offers family-friendly communities, great schools, arts, entertainment and retail options, world-class outdoor recreation opportunities and the lowest commute time in the country.
The cost of living for Grand Forks of 95.3 is below the national average 100, so Grand Forks is less expensive than the average city. The average home price is $228,983 according to Zillow.com.
The Grand Forks International Airport located at 2301 Airport Drive is North Dakota's busiest commercial airport and has 1 road to exit the airport and feeds into US-2 W. Turn right onto US-2W for 7.9 miles. Exit toward Emerado/Grand Forks Air Base/Mekinock and drive for 1.1 miles. Turning left onto the Avenue of Flags will bring you to the Main Gate.
Hector International Airport located at 2801 32nd Ave N in Fargo is another local airport which is 1 hr. and 45 minutes from Grand Forks AFB. From the airport on 19th Ave N, follow I-29 S/US-81S for 73 miles. Turn left onto US-2W for 16 miles. Exit toward Emerado/Grand Forks Air Base/Mekinock and drive for 1.1 miles. Turning left onto the Avenue of Flags will bring you to the Main Gate.
Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport located at 4300 Glunmack Dr., St Paul, MN is located 5 hours from Grand Forks AFB and is voted "Best Airport in America." Minneapolis - St. Paul International Airport is a centrally-located travel hub revered for its ease of check-in, security, and amenities. Also voted "The 5th Most Reliable Large Airport" by Peter Greenberg MSP is the country’s 14th busiest travel hub with 34 million passengers passing through each year. Compared to other metro areas, only one other U.S. city serves more nonstop markets per capita.
Local bus services are provided by the following (none provide transportation to, or from, Grand Forks AFB: Cities Area Transit (CAT), Greyhound, Triangle Coach Services of East Grand Forks MN. The city of Grand Forks is serviced by rail with Amtrak and is 13.1 miles from the base. All have easy access onto US-2 W from their locations.
Driving from the North or South on Interstate 29 will bring you into the city of Grand Forks. Take Exit 141 and head West on US-2W for 12.4 miles. Exit toward Emerado/Grand Forks Air Base/Mekinock for 1.1 miles. Turning left onto the Avenue of Flags will bring you to Grand Forks Air Force Base Main Gate.
If you are driving from the West on US-2W, take the Emerado/Grand Forks Air Base/Mekinock Exit onto County Road 5. Turn left and go over the bridge. Stay on this road for 1.1 miles to the Avenue of Flags, turn left to the Main Gate.
Local bus services are provided by the following, however, none provide transportation to or from Grand Forks AFB;
The city of Grand Forks is serviced by rail with Amtrak and is 13.1 miles from the base. All have easy access to US-2 W from their locations.
At this time, there is no regular transportation service into the city of Grand Forks for family members and civilians. All on-base transportation is provided for military use only.