Fort Bliss is a long standing base that’s been home to countless units since it’s original dedication in 1849. There are two “main” areas of base, one that the airborne units operate out of and one where almost everyone else is stationed.
A brand new commissary and PX area known as Freedom Crossing was established in early 2011. Freedom Crossing is also home to a 10 screen movie theater, several shops and restaurants.
El Paso is a 700,000 population little town. It doesn’t think or act like a city and from 2009 to 2012 it was ranked the safest city in the continental United States with a population over 500,000. Despite the arid climate, there’s golf, a water park and even a very nice zoo near the downtown area. Catch a play at the Plaza theater or head north about two hours to Cloudcroft, New Mexico to go skiing during the winter months.
UTEP, the University of Texas at El Paso is a well reputed college, but it is the only major university in the area. Due to El Paso being a large city in the middle of nowhere, there are no other options for higher education other than community colleges. For younger education, schools will highly depend on where you live.
One thing that must be noted is that the majority of the population in El Paso speak Spanish.
If you are not fluent in Spanish, the children may be forced to learn it very quickly to keep up with their classmates. This is not the case at on-base schools.
The only hospital any military member will be visiting will be the military hospital, which is very complicated to get to. Have a friend show you in case of an emergency.
Housing is available everywhere, all times of the year. People are always coming and going in El Paso. BAH should cover what most families will be looking for and most real estate agencies are very flexible about pets. Most military families live in the Northeast and the West side of town, with a scattering of them living in the East and Far East areas.
Plant life in El Paso is spiny, pointy and ready to poke you given the chance! This is not the place to run around barefoot. Sand spurs are very prevalent on the East and Northeast sides of town, and they are very painful to remove. Wear thick-soled shoes if going on a desert walkabout.