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. For more information on our history visit Lajes Field's homepage.
As part of the United States Air Force Europe and Air Force Africa (USAFE - AFFRICA) command, the Lajes Mission is to provide world class service to people to enable, bed down and posture expeditionary forces that are ready to fight and win. The motto is Forward, Ready, Now.
There are approximately 1,400 DoD personnel, local national employees and Portuguese military personnel.
Having a sponsor is KEY to PCSing to Lajes. A sponsor will provide needed information prior to PCSing and will meet the member upon arrival and provide transportation to lodging. The sponsor should ensure the newcomers get a temporary base pass issued upon arrival, and go to the Visitor's Center the next duty day to get pictures taken - the temporary pass is valid for less than a week. 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. 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) the first duty day after arrival. Your are scheduled for three newcomer's activities: Right Start, the Island Tour, and Resiliency Training. Right Start is held every other Tuesday and is 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 . Bring a copy of PCS orders to Right Start for medical in-processing. This mandatory day of briefings and free lunch is designed to inform you on the mission, introduce you to key support agencies and to base policies. If you have a valid driver's license, you will receive a Portuguese license at Right Start.
Day 2: 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 The tour is provided by 65th Force Support professional tour guides.
Day 3 is Resiliency Training. If you have received resiliency training already, ensure your Unit Training Manage has documented it in ADLS, bring your course completion certificate, or bring an MFR signed by the appropriate person reflecting your training If you are an airman directly out of technical school you will receive training in FTAC. Commanders and Chief Master Sergeants are exempt from mandatory training. Civilian employees have the option to attend or opt out.
Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP)
FVAP.gov ensures Service members, their eligible family members and overseas citizens have the tools and resources to register to vote and request an absentee ballot, regardless of their state of residence. The Voting Assistance Guide (VAG) is a reference guide for everything you need to know about absentee voting in all 50 States, territories and the District of Columbia.
Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) The Voting Assistance Guide is available at: www.fvap.gov/vao/vag. Select your state to find your local election office’s contact information.
Voting forms are available at: www.fvap.gov/eo/overview/materials/forms.
Critical Installation Information
Important Documents to Hand Carry
Copies of PCS Orders, Military records, medical/dental records, , Marriage certificates, immunization records, 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 driver's license to get their Portuguese license.
There is no military dining facility on base for those in unaccompanied housing. The Oceanview Island Grill is open 24/7. The Bowling Center Snack Bar is open for breakfast (Tuesday-Friday) and lunch (Monday-Sunday) except Portuguese Holidays. The Top of the Rock Club (TORC) coffee shop is open for breakfast Monday-Friday and lunch is available Monday-Friday as well. The Lounge is open afternoons and evenings Tuesday-Saturday. Closed Sunday, Monday and Portuguese holidays.
Passports and Visas
It is recommended to purchase a tourist passport (blue cover) to use when flying out of Lajes on leave - this can take several weeks to arrive, so plan ahead. Ensure member has the required passport and/or visa prior to final out-processing. Members are not allowed to final out-process without the required passports/visas in hand for themselves.
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.
On base transportation
There is no shuttle bus service on base. POVs can be purchased; manual transmission is the most common though automatic vehicles are available. The price can also depend on how much longer the Portuguese inspection will last. Renting a vehicle can be very expensive. The base gas station does not sell diesel fuel.
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 Top of the Rock Club (TORC). Additionally, money order services are available at the Post Office and Exchange.
American Cell Phone carriers will not have reception in the Azores so members should ask their carrier to suspend their account for the duration of their tour. If the phone is ‘unlocked,' a SIM card can be purchased locally to continue using the phone. Pay-as-you-go cell phones are available for purchase. If a member is in base housing and purchases a cable/phone/internet package, calling to the States after 9 pm (Lajes time) for a specified number of minutes per month is free.
Voltage in the work place and military family housing is 110. In off-base homes, 50Hz (220 volts) is used. Frequency dependent equipment is affected. Please check with your sponsor if you have questions. Electronics such as televisions, computers, etc will work. Electric Clocks, clocks on cofeemakers, etc, will not keep time properly.
Restricted Weight Allowance
Lajes Field has a restricted weight allowance. Government furniture is available. Contact your nearest TMO for weight allowances and your sponsor for more information on items that can be borrowed from TMO or A&FRC until your shipment arrives. Beds, dressers, couches, tables & chairs, etc. are available. Base housing is furnished with major appliances.
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)
Unaccompanied members are still allowed two Environmental and Morale (EML) trips at this time; one to ConUS and one overseas. This allows grants individuals a higher category while traveling Space "A." Currently, EML destinations are the US and Germany. Military Personnel Section has a worksheet to complete and turn in with a portion of the Leave authorization, 314-535-4121.
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