Fort Irwin, California Military Base Information

Military Base Information in California

Fort Irwin is a uniquely positioned training area in the middle of the Mohave desert but perfectly located between two of the biggest cities in the region (Las Vegas and Los Angeles). Desert and urban warfare is developed and practiced here to include ground forces, tanks, and air assault systems such as the Apache helicopter. 

The mission of the National Training Center’s is to provide warfare training for joint and combined arms training for units prior to their deployment overseas into war zones. United States Army units come to the NTC to conduct their FTX - (field training exercise) prior to deployment. They are exposed to scenarios such as IED attacks, urban combat, air strikes, suicide bombers, and other realistic situations that will most likely occur when down range. 

See Fort Irwin Training Video

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Fort Irwin Overview

Fort Irwin, California
Fort Irwin is a world class training center for America's Soldiers, known for its excellent desert training. Official Army Photo

Located in the Mojave Desert in northern San Bernardino County, California, Fort Irwin serves as the Army's premier training center. With approximately 1000 square miles for maneuver and ranges, Fort Irwin is an ideal site for the National Training Center.

The primary mission of Fort Irwin today is to provide realistic joint and combined arms training concentrated on developing soldiers, leaders, and units of America's Army. This is accomplished by pitting soldiers against the harsh environment and adding a determined and menacing opposing force. Additionally, the NTC provides a crucial supply of experience-based information and data vital to doctrine, equipment, training and force development to prepare for success in the Global War on Terrorism and future joint battlefields.

Official Website : Fort Irwin

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Location/Driving Directions

Road to Ft Irwin
Barstow to Ft Irwin.

Fort Irwin is located approximately 37 miles northeast of Barstow, California in the High Mojave Desert midway between Las Vegas, Nevada and Los Angeles, California.

The installation is surrounded by desert hills and mountains. The desert terrain supports little vegetation which consists mainly of mesquite, creosote, yuccas, and other low growing plants. The desert brings beautiful sunsets, blue skies, sunny days and wide-open vistas that bring a sense of freedom to many. Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead are found two hours away for those desiring to see tall trees and lakes.

Fort Irwin is accessible via Interstate Highways 40 and 15 and State Highways 58 and 247. If possible, you should plan your arrival during daylight hours especially if you have reservations at the Landmark Inn on the post as the desert can be very dark at night and roads are not well lit. There are no gas stations between Barstow and Fort Irwin.

Arriving via highway 58: Recently completed construction (which maps do not reflect) now feeds Highway 58 into I-15. Take I-15 North towards Barstow/Las Vegas.

For those proceeding directly to Fort Irwin, exit I-15 on Fort Irwin Road. Coming from the east (I-15 South), the turn-off is prior to arriving in Barstow. Coming from the west (I-15 North), the turn-off is approximately 6 miles past Barstow. After turning, the mileage marker will read 31 miles to Fort Irwin.

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Population/Major Units Assigned

Fort Irwin celebrates the U.S. Army's 233rd birthday. Photo courtesy U.S. Army; Photo Credit: Etric Smith,

Total Population: 8,835 of which 4,960 are active duty, 5,103 are family members of active duty, 3,469 civilian employees. 4,000 to 6,000 rotational personnel at any given time.

Major Units Assigned: 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment; 1st Squadron, 11th ACR "Ironhorse"; 2nd Squadron, 11TH ACR "Eaglehorse"; C Det, 203rd Military Intelligence; DENTAC; Det 6, 57th WG Det "Ravens Air Warriors"; MEDDAC; NTC Support Battalion; Operations Group; Support Squadron, 11TH ACR; US Army Garrison; USACIDC

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Main Phone Numbers

The Military Operations Urban Training site at Fort Irwin. Photo courtesy U.S. Army; Photo Credit: John Wagstaffe

Base Operator: (760) 380-1111
Housing Officer: (760) 380-3220
Temporary Lodging: (760) 380-4040
Relocation Assistance: (760) 380-3598
Personnel Locator: (760) 380-3369
Child Care Center: (760) 380-1253
Medical Center: (760) 380-3124
Commissary: (760) 380-3422
Exchange: (760) 386-2060

Fort Irwin Base Directory

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Temporary Lodging

Landmark Inn (Temporary Lodging)
The main entrance to the Landmark Inn (on-base temporary lodging). Official Army Photo

The only hotel within 35 miles of Fort Irwin is the Landmark Inn (760)386-4040. Rates start at $81.00 plus 7% tax per night with reduced rates offered for PCSing soldiers and long term stays. To receive tax exemption, a copy of your orders must be presented at check-in or payment for the room made with a government issued a check. No personal checks are accepted. Pets are allowed for a weekly pet fee. As charges for any damages made by the pet are severe, management encourages the use of the Paws n' Claws kennel as an alternative. All reservations must have an advance deposit to confirm the reservation. Permanent Change of Station personnel can make reservations up to 60 days in advance.

The Landmark has 180 rooms including suites and handicap accessible rooms. All rooms include a refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, and free wireless internet access. There are a guest laundry facility and a playground in the middle court for the children.

There are no temporary accommodations between Fort Irwin and Barstow. Barstow has a number of temporary lodging facilities that are reasonably priced, so you may prefer to stay in Barstow.

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Fort Irwin On-Base Housing
On-Base family housing at Fort Irwin, California. Official Army Photo

Upon arrival at Fort Irwin, most families and some single soldiers can anticipate living in the nearby town of Barstow for a week for several months while waiting for on-post housing to become available.

Because of the additional costs of living and driving distance between Fort Irwin and Barstow, most families would prefer to live on-post, but apartments are fairly easy to find available in Barstow for rent on a month to month basis if you anticipate a wait of several months. Many of the apartments found in Barstow are fairly modern having been built within the past 15 years or so. However, the houses for rent are oftentimes much older.

If you expect to go to on base housing within 30 to 45 days and the cost for utility/security deposits and hook-ups seem rather extravagant, you may choose to rent a motel room that has limited cooking and refrigeration capabilities. These rooms are readily available for $450-$900 a month.

Fort Irwin has a total of 2052 sets of family quarters available for on-post living. Most of these single family dwellings, duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes both single story and two story have been built within the past 15 years. The quarters all come with central air conditioning and have blinds at the windows. Most of these have single car garages. The more recently completed housing units come carpeted with overhead ceiling fans in the master bedroom and the dining area, and fenced backyards. The front of the houses is landscaped with native desert plants. 242 new homes have recently been built in Crackerjack Flats. These new homes have 2 car garages, mud rooms, carpet, tile floors, 5-star energy appliances, granite countertops and many more new amenities

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Fort Irwin/National Training Center Commander Brig. Gen. Robert "Abe" Abrams reads to kindergartner Matthew Rivera. Photo courtesy U.S. Army; Photo Credit: Charles Melton

The school system in California requires children enrolling in kindergarten to be five years of age by 2 December and must have completed a school physical within the last six months. Students going into the first grade are also required to have a physical.

For a child to be admitted to the California school system, a parent must be able to fully document that their child has immunization against diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus, poliomyelitis, varicella, measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR). Students in kindergarten must also have a hepatitis series and the second dose of MMR. Seventh graders also have to have a hepatitis series.

In order to register, students need a copy of their birth certificate, immunization records, social security number and last report card. If choosing to participate in school sports programs and cheerleading,the student must have a sports physical on file.

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Child Care

Army Family members from the post's Child Development Center joined Brig. Gen. Dana J.H. Pittard, commanding general for celebration of Army's Anniversary. Photo courtesy U.S. Army Photo Credit: Vickey Mouze

Full Day Care program is available for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years on the base. A Before and After Kindergarten program are available and Hourly Care is available for ages 6 weeks to 5 years. To participate in these programs children must be registered prior to attending.

Family Child Care (FCC) is offered at certified homes on the post. In these homes, children are cared for in a limited number, with hours being more flexible and siblings kept together. The FCC provider gives an atmosphere that is closest to the child's own home. Full day, part day, hourly, weekend and extra care are available when needed. These at home Child Care Providers are often the self-employed spouses living in on-post housing. Certification classes are given monthly on-post to become an At Home Child Care Provider. Individuals caring for children in their quarters for more than 10 hours per week on a regular basis must be certified.

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Medical Care

Runners in the first two miles of the Run for the Fallen. Photo courtesy U.S. Army; Photo Credit: Kenneth Drylie

Fort Irwin's hospital is Weed Army Community Hospital (WACH) and has an inpatient bed capacity of 27. There is no Intensive Care Unit at this facility so all patients requiring intensive care are stabilized and transported to nearby civilian or military hospitals. WACH does elective outpatient and minor emergency surgery. Pharmacy, laboratory, and x-ray services are available at the hospital. 24-hour emergency and urgent care service are also available. The military medical staff consists of three Family Practitioners, one Nurse Practioner, two Pediatricians, two Internist, two General Medical Officers (one is located at MCLB), two Obstetricians, one General Surgeon, two Orthopedic Surgeons, one Orthopedic Physician Assistant, one Regimental Surgeon, and one Psychologist. A civilian Optometrist comes to Ft Irwin twice each week to see patients on base.