Established in 1941, as the Air Corps Advanced Flying School in Columbus, Mississippi, Columbus Air Force Base has been training pilots since WWII and continues to effectively train pilots.
In fact, approximately half of all of the pilots in the United States Air Force were trained at Columbus AFB which is also the home of the world’s busiest military air traffic control facility.
The 14th Training Wing, which is under the Air Education and Training Command, calls Columbus home. Other notable groups include the 14th Operations Group, 37th Flying Training Squadron, 14th Operations Support Squadron, 50th Flying Training Squadron and more.
Columbus, Mississippi is widely considered to be a “military town,” with a large presence of active duty service men and women, retirees and others who are somehow related to the military. Columbus is a low-cost area to live; the cost of living in the area is over 13 percent lower than the overall national average. The population of the area is close to 60,000.
There are no schools on Columbus Air Force Base itself, but all students who live on base are provided bus transportation to and from school. The base is located in the Columbus Municipal School District, students typically attend those schools or the Caledonia School, which is a part of the Lowndes County School District. The School Liason Office is available to help parents who are seeking the best school for their dependent children. The Columbus AFB Youth Center also provides a wealth of fun activities and an accredited school age program that provides child care.
The Columbus Air Force Base Clinic is an ambulatory care clinic that provides primary care, family practice, minor surgery, optometry and counseling services. Active duty members are considered a top priority at the clinic, but dependents are also cared for at this location on base. Since there is no emergency room at the Columbus Air Force Base Clinic, those who are seeking emergency treatment should seek it at a local, off-base hospital, such as the Baptist Memorial Hospital in Columbus.
There are three separate private housing areas on base with 453 different private housing units. A good portion of these units are ranch-style duplexes. All single personnel members who are an E4 or less and who have been in the service for less than three years are required to live on base in unaccompanied enlisted quarters. E4’s or less, single permanent officers and those who are an E5 or higher are required to live off base; these service members do receive Basic Housing Allowance to pay for their housing.
The Magnolia Inn is the temporary lodging facility on base. The demand for temporary lodging at the Inn often exceeds available rooms, so it is important for those who are planning on living in temporary housing to make reservations as far in advance as possible. There are six pet-friendly units available for families who have pets.