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Fast Facts

Location: Lajes Field is a Portuguese Air Base, located on the island of Terceira. The nine inhabited islands of the Azores archipelago are located in the North Atlantic Ocean, about 2,300 miles east of Washington, D.C. and about 900 miles west of Lisbon, Portugal. Together, they form an autonomous region of Portugal. Lajes Field, known as the "Crossroads of the Atlantic,"provides an important mid Atlantic link for US and allied forces to Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The volcanic origin of all the islands is revealed by their volcanic cones and craters. Pico, a volcano that stands 7758 feet high on the island of the same name, has the highest altitude in the Azores. The nine islands of the archipelago are divided in three Groups: The Eastern Group of São Miguel and Santa Maria; the Central Group of Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, Pico and Faial, and the Western Group of Flores and Corvo. Lajes Field's homepage.

Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) - To verify the amount of dependents for BAH, remember to HAND-CARRY copies of marriage license and birth certificate for each child.

Cost of Living: Moving to Lajes Field is very expensive and living is expensive as well.

Weather: Fall and winter are very windy and rainy. Gale force winds have occurred. Ensure you have good quality rain gear such as boots and rain jacket with a hood; in the wind, an umbrella is useless. Summer is breezy and it can get humid. The mild temperatures make sunburn a hazard - UV rays can be dangerous on the island.

Special Installation Messages:

As of February 2015, no date has been set to make any changes in the US Forces structure nor mission at Lajes. The tour remains 12 months unaccompanied for military members.

RESILIENCY CLASS: A regulatory requirement for all military and optional for DoD civlians, First term airmen will receive training during FTAC; squadron commanders and chief master sergeants will attend an Executive class if they have not done so. Others need to bring written documentation of attending resiliency class, such as an ADLS transcript. Before arrival, talk to your unit training manager about this specific documentation. If documentation is not in-hand at Right Start, individuals will be scheduled for Resiliency Class that week. Do not schedule household goods delivery or other appointments during the week of Right Start!

As of September 2013, Lajes Field has been designated as single/unaccompanied. Family members may visit for short periods but the military member needs to find out about visa requirements and Portuguese base passes before their arrival.

INPROCESSING: The first duty day after arrival it is vital that you inprocess through Military Personnel (or Civilian Personnel for government civilian employees) where you will be scheduled for the three-day newcomer's orientation; check in with the main gate to get your Portuguese base pass; check in with Unaccompanied Housing; and also start processing your voucher with Finance. Be aware that newcomer's orientation has three portions: a day of required briefings (Tuesday), an island tour (Wednesday) and then a day for Resiliency Training (Thursday).  

Local Currency: The medium of exchange on Lajes Field is the US dollar (pennies are not used!). Local currency is the European Euro. The rate changes each business day and is affected by the US dollar's strength in foreign money markets. Euros are available for purchase at the exchange, Top of the Rock Club, Outdoor Recreation (ATM) and bank ATMs located in the Portuguese terminal (713).

Population: Approximately 1400 Airmen (Military-560; Civilian-72; Local Nationals-791). The Lajes Field community is very similar to a small town in the United States. It is a very close knit community with many opportunities to get involved in educational, social, recreation and cultural programs.

Area Population: Island population: 50,000

Base Transportation: VEHICLES: Used vehicles, affectionately called ‘island bombs' are available for purchase - the price can vary depending on when the Portuguese inspection expires and how much work needs done so the vehicle will pass. Manual transmission (‘stick shift') is more common than automatic. Off base local roads can be narrow, so some US vehicles such as SUVs may have a difficult time traveling in towns. Gasoline can be expensive; only ‘super' is available on base. Be aware that diesel fuel is not sold at the base gas station - it is only available off base and is much more expensive than regular gasoline. The rules for side window tint are very strict, especially if the tint is not done at the factory - this may cause your imported vehicle to fail inspection. You will need to purchase international vehicle insurance and the form to carry in the vehicle is on green paper. Companies such as USAA or GEICO will mail the form to you which can take weeks to arrive or - you can print it off at Airman & Family Readiness Center on green bond paper (if they have any) OR you can have the company email the information to:

Electric Appliances: Power off base is 220 volts, on base is 110. Appliances will work, except electronic clocks will run very slow. Off-base, 110 volt appliances will need a converter plug/adapter which can be purchased for a couple of dollars at the exchange. On base, televisions need HDMI capability to use local cable service - either as a multi-function system or using a converter. If you are want to live in on-base housing and plan to get cable TV/Internet/phone bundle, make sure to ask your sponsor to pick up at least three of the European-to-American converter plugs for you in advance! The exchange often sells out of them.

Cell Phones: If coming from the ConUS, cell phones will not receive the US carrier signal. If the device uses a SIM card and is unlocked, a local SIM card can be purchased to use Portuguese cell service. Ask your US carrier if your service can be suspended while you are at Lajes - and briefly turned on if you are on leave back to the US. Or see if the carrier will cancel your contract without a fee by sending in a copy of your orders. There are several programs you can use with a smart phone or a land line phone to allow you to call the US using a wi-fi connection. An option for local phones in base housing is to BRING WITH YOU a land-line phone that will accept two lines - one will ring for your Portuguese number, and one will ring for a stateside number if you purchase a program, such as MagicJack (no Air Force Official commercial endorsement is being made), to keep a US phone number.

Lodging: Phone: Commercial 011-351-295-57-5178 or DSN 312-535-5178

Reservations for PCS and TDY are taken 24 hours a day. Non-official lodging reservations can be made up to 30 days in advance. Number of days of stay depends on the existing occupancy rate.

Find out more information by visiting the lodging webpage and the DoD Lodging website.

Housing: Phone: 011-351-295-57-3507; DSN: 314-535-3507 

Official Housing Website: Lajes Field offers government housing in two different locations: Beira Mar (Enlisted) and Nascer do Sol (Officer and Enlisted). Government furniture is available - beds, dressers, nightstands, dining tables & chairs, bookshelves, desk, couch, arm chair, lamps, china cabinet/hutch, etc. Personnel need to supply their own linens, draperies, pots and pans, TVs, video equipment, computers, fans, clocks, etc.

Air Force Housing Referral and Relocation Assistance

For more information contact the Housing Office at 011-351-295-57-3507; DSN: 314-535-3507.

Dorms/Unaccompanied Housing: All dorms are managed by the Central Dormitory Management Office. The rooms are available to personnel arriving on unaccompanied orders. The requirements for residing in the dorms are subject to change based on the occupancy levels. All authorized personnel will be provided with Government Furniture support.

DINING FACILITIES "CHOW HALLS" - There are no military dining facilities at Lajes so all personnel must provide their own cooking and eating utensils. The Ocean View is the 24-hour feeding facility, serving hamburgers, chicken, pizza, ice cream, etc.

Airman and Family Readiness Center: Phone: 011-351-295-57-4138 or DSN 314-535-4138.

Your Lajes Airman & Family Readiness Center (A&FRC) serves as a focal point for personal readiness and provides core functions such as information and referral, counseling and follow-up; coordination and consultation with other base and civilian agencies to strengthen base policies and programs; assistance for base leadership to meet personal and family needs; and life education and skills programs. It is professionally staffed to provide numerous programs and services. For more information please visit the Lajes Field Support Squadron Airman & Family Readiness webpage.

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 DSN 314 area code. When dialing a DSN number to/from overseas locations, the DSN area code must be included.

Medical Services: 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. For more information view the Lajes Field Support Squadron Medical webpage. As of September 2013, Lajes Field has been designated as single/unaccompanied.

Pet & Kennel Information: The inbound pet policy is pets are considered in Beira Mar and Naser De Sol, but not permitted in the dormitories - before shipping a pet, know what your housing situation will be. There is no veterinarian nor kennel on base.

There is a Portuguese form that must be completed by a USDA vet when bring pets from the States no more than 10 days before leaving the US.

For more detailed information, visit Lajes Field Support Squadron Pets webpage.

Base Services:

  • Force Support Squadron
  • Commissary - Small with limited numbers of brands per item. Deli sandwich shop is available. Special orders can be made for items to be brought in from Germany which can take three to four weeks to arrive. Commissary is closed Sunday, Monday and American holidays.
  • Exchange System - Military Clothing Sales has limited stock. Bring a stock of uniform items with you since special orders can take weeks to arrive. Exchange is closed Sunday, Monday and Portuguese holidays. Shoppette is available on weekends, and houses the barber and beauty shops.
  • Pentagon Federal Credit Union has many services available but no over the counter cash is available. The Credit Union has the only ATM machine which gives US Dollars.The Club and Exchange will cash personal checks. Local currency is the Euro. Money orders available through the Post Office and Exchange.

For more detailed information about transferring to Lajes visit Lajes FSS or let us help you plan your move!

Explore the links to the left for in-depth information.

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