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Your Joint Base Lewis-McChord Area Guide

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Fort Lewis (known as Joint Base Lewis-McChord) has an almost 100-year history in the Pacific Northwest. What started out to be a small fort, has grown into one of the world's largest military complexes.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) was established by congressional legislation implementing the recommendations of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission, ordering the consolidation of Army Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base into Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

JBLM is one of the most sought-after military installations to be stationed at, primarily due to the breathtaking, spectacular views of the Cascade Mountains, Olympia Mountains, and Mt. Rainier.


Merged together in 2010, Joint Base Lewis McChord is located in Pierce County 98433, just outside of Lakewood, about 9 miles away from Tacoma and an hour away from Seattle. The American- Canadian border is only around 4 hours away and Oregon is a short 2.5-hour drive. This part of the United States, the Pacific Northwest, is home to lush forest landscapes, beautiful beaches, and hip urban populations.

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Fort Lewis has a Commissary, PX, and an expansive park all in the same area. The park features a splash pad, padded park, skate park, bowling alley, and movie theater. You will find indoor pools and workout facilities, as well as hiking trails. Kayaking, boating, and fishing are just a few of the water sports you can access from the base at Russell Landing Marina at North Fort on American Lake. The McChord AFB BX has an indoor play place for kids as does the bowling alley making it a prime activity in the rainy season.



Joint Base Lewis McChord housing offers small duplexes up to four bedroom homes, based on rank and availability. With 21 neighborhoods managed by Lincoln Military Housing, libraries, parks, schools and proximity to American Lake make living on post a charm.

See what other mil-fams have to say about the housing at Joint Base Lewis McChord. Read reviews today atPCSgrades.com.



Dupont, the closest city to the base, is accessible without getting on the highway and is rich with its own history, city council, and mayor. This quaint city, housing mostly active and retired military, is a neighborhood rich in community. Dupont loves showing off its pride with its tree-lined streets, American flags and alley garages. The "downtown" boasts a locally run general store, pharmacy, library and a small variety of restaurants. Like to golf? Dupont is home to the Home Course Golf Course. This active community is connected by hiking trails, some even leading straight to the Puget Sound. You will see people running, biking, running, and more, rain or shine.

Want to know why this community is A-graded? Read the reviews now!


To the south toward Olympia, is Lacey and Hawks Prairie, also a trendy place for many families to live, as it's easily accessed in about 15-20 minutes from the base. Some families choose to live in Olympia for the city life and proximity to water.

To the north, is Tacoma, but plan on it taking anywhere from 25-30 minutes to get to base. Tacoma, "the city of destiny," has its own slew of restaurants, nightlife and waterfront homes. It also offers the Tacoma Art Museum, History Museum, Museum of Glass and Children's Museum, all within walking distance to each other.

Puyallup is to the east and hosts a large military population. The commute is around 25 minutes, but you will find a quaint downtown with historic restaurants, parks, quite a few shopping malls and more.

Another popular housing area is Yelm, offering a lot more space and land for what you will get with your money. However, it is a bit of a drive, from 30-45 minutes depending on traffic.


With a median home cost of around $390,000, Washington State is one of the most expensive places in the United States to buy. With such a huge investment being made, you will for sure want to find a Real Estate Agent you can trust and that is experienced in working with VA loans and other mil-fams just like yours.

Read reviews and find your A-graded agent today at PCSgrades.com


Western Washington is characterized by plenty of rain, pocketed between the mountains and the Puget Sound, but as Washingtonians say, "there's no bad weather, just bad clothing." Seasons are mild, but the green landscape is consistent all year long. Springtime will bring an abundance of blooming flowers. Summer in Washington is the best around with sunshine, blue skies and temperatures rarely exceeding 85 degrees. Snow makes wintertime in Washington a blast. It may not stick around for long, but while it lasts, everyone enjoys snow sledding, building snowmen and skiing in the nearby passes. Colorful maple leaves blanket the trees and ground in the Autumn, making for picture perfect leaf fights.



With the Puget Sound around the base, fresh seafood can be found at most local restaurants around town. Clam chowder is the soup of choice. Asian cuisine like Thai Vietnamese is also located on every corner. If you're feeling adventurous, put on your rain boots and head to the nearest beach to dig for clams.



Outdoor fun can be had right here on base! Rent a boat at Northwest Adventure Center and launch into American Lake. You could even make it a stay-cation by staying at one of the lakeside cabins.


Hop the ferry for a day trip to Whidbey Island to visit the Pacific Northwest home of the Coast Guard and Navy. While you're there, pay a visit to two veteran-owned wineries, Holmes Harbor Cellars, and Comforts of Whidbey Winery.


Enjoy the history in Steilacoom, it's the oldest incorporated city in Washington, established in 1854! If soaking up history doesn't sound like fun to you schedule some family (or solo) time at the beach or enjoy a 20-minute ferry ride to Anderson Island.


Take off on the light rail and visit the Museum of Glass, the Museum of Art, or the Museum of History located in downtown Tacoma or root for the home team at a Ranier baseball game at Rainer Stadium.


There is so much to see and do in Seattle and it's only about an hour away. Spend your day exploring the birthplace of coffee culture and grunge and make sure to visit the famous Pikes Place Market or head to the waterfront to ride the Great Wheel or visit the Seattle Aquarium.


This active volcano stands a whopping 14,410 feet above sea level. The Mountain and surrounding National Park makes for a perfect get-a-way with activities for everyone regardless of the season. Spend the day hiking, sledding, and snowboarding or take a more somber trip to see The Mount Rainier National Park Valor Memorial, which pays tribute to brave rangers who gave their lives for the lives of others.


That's right Canada. Visit our northern neighbors easily by taking an Amtrak train to downtown Vancouver or riding the Clipper ferry from Seattle to Victoria B.C.

Army and Air Force Exchange Service officials are warning soldiers and military families to be aware of scammers using the Exchange's logo.

In a news release Wednesday, Exchange officials said scammers using the name "Exchange Inc." have "fooled" soldiers and airmen to broker the sale of used cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats and boat engines.

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KABUL (Reuters) - The Islamic State (IS) militant group claimed responsibility on Sunday for a suicide blast at a wedding reception in Afghanistan that killed 63 people, underlining the dangers the country faces even if the Taliban agrees a pact with the United States.

The Saturday night attack came as the Taliban and the United States try to negotiate an agreement on the withdrawal of U.S. forces in exchange for a Taliban commitment on security and peace talks with Afghanistan's U.S.-backed government.

Islamic State fighters, who first appeared in Afghanistan in 2014 and have since made inroads in the east and north, are not involved in the talks. They are battling government and U.S.-led international forces and the Taliban.

The group, in a statement on the messaging website Telegram, claimed responsibility for the attack at a west Kabul wedding hall in a minority Shi'ite neighborhood, saying its bomber had been able to infiltrate the reception and detonate his explosives in the crowd of "infidels".

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U.S. Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Brian Kimball

Editor's Note: This article by Oriana Pawlyk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Calling aviation geeks in New York City: The British are coming.

In their first visit to the United States since 2008, the Royal Air Force "Red Arrows" will perform an aerial demonstration next week over the Hudson River, according to an Air Force news release. F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, the Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels demonstration teams will also be part of the show.

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U.S. Air National Guard/Staff Sgt. Michelle Y. Alvarez-Rea

Frances and Efrain Santiago, natives of Puerto Rico, wanted to show their support last month for protesters back home seeking to oust the island's governor.

The couple flew the flag of Puerto Rico on the garage of their Kissimmee home. It ticked off the homeowners association.

Someone from the Rolling Hills Estates Homeowners Association left a letter at their home, citing a "flag violation" and warning: "Please rectify the listed violation or you may incur a fine."

Frances Santiago, 38, an Army veteran, demanded to know why.

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Todd Rosenberg/AP

A West Point graduate received a waiver from the U.S. Army to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday, and play in the NFL while serving as an active-duty soldier.

The waiver for 2nd Lt. Brett Toth was first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter, who said that Toth signed a three-year deal with the Eagles. Toth graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 2018.

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