Base History \ Arrival
Grand Forks Air Force Base is located in Grand Forks County, 20 miles west of the City of Grand Forks, North Dakota, 83miles north of Fargo, North Dakota, 147 miles to Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada, 200 miles to Minot AFB, ND, and 330 miles to Minneapolis, MN. The Grand Forks Metro Area has a population close to 98,888 (US Census 2012 estimate) and is home to the University of North Dakota which has an enrollment of 14,326 (UND Spring Semester 2014 enrollment) The University of North Dakota (UND) is located in Grand Forks and has established an international reputation for research and scholarship, notably health sciences, nutrition, energy and environmental protection, aerospace and engineering
Grand Forks AFB is located in the Heart of the Red River Valley at the junction of the Red Lake River and the Red River of the North. The Grand Forks area has 43 miles of biking, hiking and inline skating trails as well as great mix of sporting events, and an energetic arts scene. The Rural Bicycle Loop is a 100-mile paved route beginning and ending in Grand Forks, including Highway 2 and the cities of Mekinock, Emerado and Mayville. The North Star Trail, planted in the thick woods of Turtle River State Park, is a 10-mile scenic loop that combines rolling hills, flatlands and stream crossings.
The quality of life in this community has been ranked by Money Magazine as one of the top communities in the nation. According to Bankrate's rankings, which equally weighted weather, cost of living, crime, quality of health care, state and local taxes and general well-being, North Dakota scored in the top 5 (ranked 4th) in the country for best states for retirees. Plus, its residents report the highest level of general well-being in the country. In addition to the thousands of career opportunities available, North Dakotans enjoy an excellent quality of life. North Dakota offers family-friendly communities, great schools, arts, entertainment and retail options, world-class outdoor recreation opportunities and the lowest commute time in the country.
The cost of living for Grand Forks (83) is below the national average (100), so Grand Forks is less expensive than the average city. The average home price ($166,308) is 53% below the national average home price ($359,352), with property taxes running approximately 48% below the national average. Rental average for 1 bedroom apartments is $533 and 2 bedroom apartments average $735. The Temporary Living Facility (TLF) is currently $55.50 per day. There is no cost of living allowance for Grand Forks. The base operator's phone number is 701-747-3000 or DSN 312-362-3000.
In 1954, the Department of Defense chose Grand Forks as the site for an Air Defense Command base. Community-minded citizens donated $65,000 toward the purchase of a 5,400-acre tract of land. The actual construction of the base began in February 1956. By 1960, the Air Force had stationed the KC-135 and the F-101 B fighter interceptor. Two years later, the first B-52 bomber arrived and by the end of the decade, Minuteman II Intercontinental Ballistic Missile became operational. Over the next few decades, the base saw the departure of the fighters and the switch from B-52s to B-1 bombers. Some of the biggest organizational changes included the inactivation of the Strategic Air Command and the re-designation of the base's Bomber Wing as the 319th Air Refueling Wing in the early 1990's. In 1998, all the Minuteman III missiles were shipped to other locations and the silos were imploded, leaving aerial refueling as the base’s primary mission. At one time, the Warriors of the North at Grand Forks Air Force Base supported 48 KC-135 Stratotankers under the Air Mobility Command, making it the first supertanker wing in the Air Force. Today due to the BRAC, no tankers remain, and the base has now welcomed the arrival of the RQ-4 Global Hawk Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.
Grand Forks Air Force Base plays a central role in the nation's defense. It is home to the 319th Air Base Wing, the only base in Air Mobility Command to receive remotely piloted aircraft systems.
Grand Forks Air Force Base is comprised of more than 3,800 individuals; 1300 Active Duty Military, 1392 family members and 331 civilian employees and 700 retirees. Grand Forks Air Force Base provides base operating and direct operational support to wing personnel and tenant units. It also provides logistics, medical, civil engineer, contracting, communications, security and force support functions, and maintains facilities and equipment in support of Air Expeditionary Force and combatant commander requirements. Grand Forks provides facilities and equipment support for the base's hosted units including the Department of Homeland Security and the 69th Reconnaissance Group.