Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) is adjacent to Anchorage, Alaska, and covers more than 79,000 acres. Pronounced “J-Bear,” the joint base is home to the Alaskan Command (ALCOM), Alaskan NORAD Region (ANR), Joint Task Force-Alaska (JTF-AK), Eleventh Air Force (11 AF), the 673rd Air Base Wing, the 3rd Wing, the 176th Wing, United States Army Alaska (US), the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, and nearly 70 other tenant units.
When you think Alaska, you probably think of snow and lots of it. The white stuff starts falling in October and doesn’t let up until April. Be sure to buy some quality winter gear that can handle below freezing temperatures and invest in some snow tires with studs! The climate may take some getting used to, but with the weather comes lots of winter sports. JBER’s Hillberg Ski Area offers not only skiing and snowboarding but also tubing and even dog sled rides. About an hour from Anchorage, the town of Girdwood is a winter sports paradise and home to the luxurious Alyeska Resort and the slopes of Mount Alyeska.
There isn’t a traditional spring in the 49th state; rather, people refer to April and May as “thaw down” and warn of the brown slush that comes with the transition to summer. The warmer months are also known for an influx of tourists and the ramping up of construction projects. Perhaps because of the abundant snowfall (the city averages 75 inches of snow a year), cabin fever pushes folks outdoors as soon as the weather warms up. Otter Lake, located on JBER, is a popular spot for skating and ice fishing in the winter, and in the summer is used for paddle boating, kayaking, and canoeing, and even has a paintball course.
Though the Last Frontier can be cold and isolating, the warmth of the Anchorage community compensates for the chilly weather. People rave about the friendliness of the locals and note the surprising diversity of the area. Anchorage is also particularly welcoming to young children. JBER’s library receives kudos for its children’s programming, and high schoolers have a unique experience available to them with the Civil Air Patrol.
Though merged in 2010, JBER residents still delineate the Fort Richardson side of JBER and the Elmendorf Air Force Base side. The Elmendorf side includes a large BX, commissary, and the Elmendorf Medical Center, one of the top medical centers in the Air Force.
The installation schools, run by the Anchorage School District, are highly-regarded and serve students from kindergarten through sixth grade. There are three schools on the Elmendorf side—Aurora, Mount Spurr, and Orion.
MWR (Outdoor Recreation) runs a bowling alley and a great fitness center, and there are two shopettes on the Air Force side.
The Boniface Gate offers the most direct access to Elmendorf and is the main gate for Air Force folks, while two small gates—Government Hill Gate and Post Road—connect JBER to Downtown. All gates are accessible from the Glenn Highway.
The Army’s home at JBER, Fort Richardson, is located on the east side of the installation.
This side of the installation has two popular amenities for families: the JBER library, noted for its wonderful children’s programming, and an indoor aquatic center.
The two schools on Fort Richardson, Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, serve students in kindergarten through sixth grade. Like the schools on the Air Force side, they are run by the Anchorage School District and have a great reputation.
The Fort Richardson Gate is the main entrance to JBER with a large visitors center. It is the main access point for those traveling from Eagle River and the Valley. The Muldoon Gate is smaller but provides close access to the hospital.
Housing Management Office
JBER-E, AK 99506
Hours: M - F: 0800 to 1630 (907) 552-4439
Privatized: Aurora Military Housing
JBER-E Military & Family Readiness CenterLocation: 8535 Wewak Dr.
Hours: M - F: 0730 to 1630 (907) 552-4943
JBER-R Military & Family Readiness CenterLocation: 600 Richardson Dr.
Bldg. 600 Room A139
Hours: M - F: 0730 to 1630 (907) 384-1517
School Liaison Officers
600 Richardson Dr.
Rooms A117 & A119, respectively