Buckley AFB is located in Aurora, Colorado just minutes from Denver. The base is situated against a backdrop of the Rocky Mountains. The base was formerly a National Guard base that has grown to fit the needs of the Denver military area after Peterson AFB was closed. The base is the home of 460th Space Wing. The mission of the wing is to defend the United States with air operations, surveillance of air space, space communications and operations and the space-based warning systems. There are three groups under the wing command: Operations, Mission Support and the Medical Group. Also housed at the base are the Colorado Air National Guard and the Colorado Army National Guard.
In all, there are 77 tenant units located at Buckley, some of which are part of the National Security Agency and the National Reconnaissance Office and therefore secretive. Buckley supports 88,000 personnel although only 1445 Air Force members and 109 civilians are assigned to the base. The base is in a growing phase to accommodate all the support assignments given. Much of the operation is in temporary facilities and new buildings are constantly being added.
Buckley AFB began as an Army post in 1942 and was named after 1st Lieutenant John Buckley who was killed during a combat strafing mission in France during World War I. Buckley was a native of Longmont, Colorado. It was originally designed for the Army Air Corps as a technical school for crewman of the B-17 and B-24 bombers. It was also a basic training site for the Army Air Corps. After World War II the base was turned into an auxiliary field for Lowry AFB in 1946 after the Air Force became a separate military organization.
Lowry turned the base over to the Air National Guard the same year. Within a year, the Guard handed it over to the Department of the Navy. It remained part of the Navy for the next 12 years and then reverted to the Air National Guard for the next 40 years. In 2000 the base was transferred to the Air Force and began a growth phase which has included base housing, airmen’s dorms, commissary, Base Exchange, and fitness center along with buildings to house operations. The base has been basically rebuilt.
Base housing is all new energy efficient homes located off base. Housing is privatized and eligible military members may chose to live on base and use their basic housing allowance to pay the rent on base, or rent or buy off base. The units are some of the finest in the Air Force with two car garages, central air, carpeting, walk-in closets, vaulted ceilings, ceiling fans and all appliances included. Lawn service is provided. Housing is available in two to four bedrooms depending on rank and family size. Temporary housing is not available on the base but in the local area there are plenty of weekly and monthly rental units to accommodate transferring personnel. There is dormitory housing for single military or unaccompanied military personnel. Housing costs in the Denver area are high and rentals run between $1000 and $2000 per month.
There are no schools on the base. Children will attend schools closest to where you live. Those living on base will attend schools in the Aurora Public School District.
The base has a new Base Exchange and commissary, both of which are considered medium sized. The Base Exchange includes a mini-mall with standard shops such as beauty, barber, alterations, dry cleaning, florist, optical shop, and fast food outlets. There is a medical clinic and small hospital on base. Emergency and urgent care services are provided.