Unaccompanied Orders - to Go or Stay?

Read More Here

Moving Cars During a PCS

Read More Here


Read More Here
Search our Area Guides

Your Joint Base Lewis-McChord Area Guide

Area Guides

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.

Remember to start your research on PCSgrades.com. Read reviews for base housing, REALTORS, and more!

Now let's dive in and explore your new duty station!


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.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Friday that no U.S. troops will take part in enforcing the so-called safe zone in northern Syria and the United States "is continuing our deliberate withdrawal from northeastern Syria."

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan earlier on Friday said Turkey will set up a dozen observation posts across northeast Syria, insisting that a planned "safe zone" will extend much further than U.S. officials said was covered under a fragile ceasefire deal.

Read More Show Less

On Tuesday at the Association of the U.S. Army's annual conference, Army families had the opportunity to tell senior leaders exactly what was going on in their worlds — an opportunity that is, unfortunately, all too rare.

Read More Show Less

The fog of war, just kills, and war crimes are the focus of a new documentary series coming to STARZ. Titled Leavenworth, the five-part series profiles 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, the Army infantry officer who was convicted on murder charges for ordering his soldiers to fire on three unarmed Afghan men on a motorcycle, killing two and wounding the third, while deployed to the Zhari district in Kandahar province, on July 2, 2012.

Read More Show Less

A big stereotype surrounding U.S. service members and veterans is that they are defined only by their military service, from buying "Dysfunctional Veteran" t-shirts to playing hard-boiled, high-octane first-person shooters like Battlefield and Call of Duty (we honestly have no idea where anyone could get that impression).

But the folks at OSD (formerly called Operation Supply Drop), a non-profit veteran service organization that aims to help troops and vets connect with each other through free video games, service programs and other activities, recently found that most of the gamers they've served actually prefer less military-centric fare like sports games and fantasy RPGs.

Read More Show Less

CEYLANPINAR, Turkey (Reuters) - Shelling could be heard at the Syrian-Turkish border on Friday morning despite a five-day ceasefire agreed between Turkey and the United States, and Washington said the deal covered only a small part of the territory Ankara aims to seize.

Reuters journalists at the border heard machine-gun fire and shelling and saw smoke rising from the Syrian border battlefield city of Ras al Ain, although the sounds of fighting had subsided by mid-morning.

The truce, announced on Thursday by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence after talks in Ankara with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, sets out a five-day pause to let the Kurdish-led SDF militia withdraw from an area controlled by Turkish forces.

The SDF said air and artillery attacks continued to target its positions and civilian targets in Ral al Ain.

"Turkey is violating the ceasefire agreement by continuing to attack the town since last night," SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali tweeted.

The Kurdish-led administration in the area said Turkish truce violations in Ras al Ain had caused casualties, without giving details.

Read More Show Less