The Joint Base Lewis-McChord cost of living is approximately 12% higher than the national average.
Joint Base Lewis-McChord is home to America's I Corps and 62nd Airlift Wing. JBLM is located in Pierce County, approximately 9.1 miles southwest of Tacoma, Washington. The area offers a vast array of recreational opportunities for everyone from beginners to seasoned outdoor enthusiasts. Washington is home to three national parks including Olympic National Park which stretches for nearly a million acres! While exploring the many activities available in the area, always ensure you let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return as some areas of the state have little to no cell phone coverage.
The Cost of Living in Washington state is higher than the national average. Plan ahead to avoid taking on new debt. Be prepared to pay move-in expenses such as initial rent, deposit, and utility connection fees for off-post housing. Visit the Defense Travel Management Office website for current BAH rates to assist you with your financial planning (enter 98433 for the zip code).
Cell Phone Use: In the state of Washington, it is against the law to hold your cell phone while you are driving. You must use a hands-free device at all times while operating a motor vehicle. Using or even holding a cell phone is prohibited while driving, stopped in traffic, or at a stop light.
DoDI 6044.01, AR 385-10, and AFI 91-207 prohibit wearing headsets, earphones, or any other listening devices while running, jogging, walking, bicycling, or operating vehicles on the installation roadways.
Privately owned weapons stored or transported on the installation require registration with the JBLM Provost Marshal Office regardless of branch affiliation or individual status (Active Duty, National Guard, Reserve, Retired, Family Member, Civilian, etc.). Weapons registration offices are located in Waller Hall (Bldg. 2140) and at either the Lewis Main or McChord Field Visitor Centers. Do not bring your weapon(s) into the facilities!
***WASHINGTON STATE HAS RECENTLY ENACTED LAWS PROHIBITING CERTAIN ACTIONS REGARDING ASSAULT WEAPONS AND FIREARM PARTS, INCLUDING IMPORTATION, SELLING AND OFFERING FOR SALE.
Defense Switched Network Dialing Instructions:
The DSN is the provider of long-distance communications service for the Department of Defense. 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 DSN area code for JBLM is 312.
Please visit the JBLM Directory for contact information such as phone numbers, emails and links to official social media pages for JBLM units and organizations.
Joint Base Lewis-McChord provides state-of-the-art training and infrastructure, responsive quality of life programs, and fully capable mobilization and deployment operations for Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. Manage resources efficiently and equitably to support mission readiness and execution, and the well-being of service members, families, and civilians. Sustain and protect the environment as a fully integrated community partner in the lower Puget Sound, with a highly trained and motivated workforce.
Named after Meriwether Lewis of the famed Lewis and Clark expedition, Fort Lewis was born out of World War I. In 1917, the Pierce County Electorate voted to bond themselves for $2,000 to purchase 70,000 acres for donation to the federal government for use as a military base. Camp Lewis was the first military installation to be created as the result of an outright gift of land by the citizens themselves. Construction began July 5, 1917.
On September 30, 1927, Camp Lewis was redesignated a fort. In 1938, the additions of an Army Air Corps field was approved at a site north of Fort Lewis. This field, then part of Fort Lewis, was named McChord Field in 1940 in honor of Colonel William McChord, who had been killed in an aviation accident in 1937. McChord Field became independent of Fort Lewis in 1947 and was renamed McChord Air Force Base following the creation of the U.S. Air Force.
Joint Base Lewis-McChord - now simply known as JBLM - became one of 12 joint bases across the Department of Defense in 2010 when Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base merged as an outcome of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission.
The total population at Joint Base Lewis-McChord is approximately 290,251
Located in the beautiful Pacific Northwest on the Puget Sound, in Washington State, Joint Base Lewis-McChord is near the city of Lakewood, 10 minutes from Tacoma and 20 minutes from Olympia, the state capitol. JBLM is situated in a key location along Interstate 5, allowing easy access to Sea-Tac Airport and to the deep water ports of Tacoma and Seattle. Although the Army and Air Force missions have changed over the years, one thing has not changed - the natural setting of the base. On a clear day, majestic Mount Rainier looms on the horizon, towering over the other peaks of the Cascade Range. From the mountains to the deep waters of Puget Sound and the Pacific Ocean, the local areas abound in natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities. Camping, hunting, fishing, hiking, boating and several sports are a way of life in Washington State.
Joint Base Lewis-McChord is a controlled access installation. Vehicles with an adult, authorized Department of Defense ID cardholder (18 or older) may enter JBLM through any open gate. Vehicles without an adult, authorized DoD ID cardholder (18 or older) present must report to the Visitor Control Center adjacent to either the Lewis Main Liberty Gate (I-5 exit 120) or McChord Field Main Gate (I-5 exit 125) to receive a temporary pass. To do this, you must have a valid driver's license, vehicle registration, proof of insurance, and have an adult, authorized sponsor (18 or older) willing to sponsor your base access. Sponsors must be available by phone to complete the pass issuance process.
Joint Base Lewis-McChord is located in the Pacific Northwest; 45 miles south of Seattle on Interstate 5.
Traveling by Car
To enter Lewis Main, you will take Exit 120 (JBLM Lewis Main/Lewis North) and follow signs for Lewis Main.
To enter at McChord Field, you will take Exit 125 (Bridgeport Way/McChord). If exiting from I-5 South, you will turn left onto Bridgeport Way and continue until you reach the McChord Field Gate. If exiting from I-5 North, you will turn right onto Bridgeport Way and continue until you reach the McChord Field Gate.
Both the McChord and Liberty gates (Lewis Main) are open 24 hours a day.
Traveling by Train
Tacoma is the stop nearest to JBLM.
Taxi and bus services are available from the station.
Traveling by Bus
Those traveling by bus can make connections directly to JBLM.
Traveling by Air
If you are traveling by air, you will land at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (commonly known as Sea-Tac). Information and assistance are available at the Sea-Tac USO Center conveniently located outside security above Southwest Airlines ticketing counter on the Mezzanine Level. Their hours vary and may or may not be open when you arrive. All programs and services at the center are provided free of charge to military members and their families.
Transportation from the Airport
If you are driving from the airport, you will need to take Interstate 5 SOUTH toward Portland. Stay on I-5 until you reach Exit 125 for McChord Field or Exit 120 for Lewis Main.
Upon arrival at JBLM, Army personnel will report to the Installation Reception Center at Building 2021 on Pendleton Avenue. Air Force personnel will report to their unit Commander's Support Staff (CSS). If you need lodging, there are two hotels on the installation. Rainier Inn on Lewis Main can be reached at 253-964-0211 and Candlewood Suites on McChord Field can be reached at 253-300-9200.
The Washington Child Passenger Restraint Law requires:
**For the best protection, a child should remain in each stage of restraint until they reach the maximum height and weight based on the manufacturer's instructions.
GO Transit provides free shuttle service around Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The on-base transportation system goes around JBLM from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays on a set route.
On weekends, GO Transit will operate point to point from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Please call dispatch for pick up and drop off at the shuttle pick up locations. The dispatch number is 253-477-3717.
Anyone with access to JBLM may use the shuttle service. Children without a DoD ID card need to be accompanied. Children with a DoD ID card can ride the shuttle unaccompanied.
You can track the location of the vans by using the Ride Systems app. You can see, in real time, each of the four routes serviced by our shuttle drivers. Additionally, the app helps users plan trips by viewing the next estimated stop time for each designated stop.
Pierce Transit offers a bus stop on route 206 at JBLM Madigan Army Medical Center. For additional information about bus routes, fares, schedules and car/van pools, call 253-581-8000 or visit the Pierce Transit website.
Transportation via UBER, LYFT or taxi are available in and around JBLM.
JBLM does not have a base operator; however, there is an Automated Directory Assistance line.