How to Visit a Military Base

by Heather Rutherford

Every U.S. military base has a guarded entrance that prevents non-military members from entering the installation. Many of these bases, however, also host events to the public or allow the public to visit military base museums. When planning to visit a military base, preparation is key. For easy entrance, follow these suggestions.

Ensure that everyone traveling onto the military base has proper identification. The gate guards are required to check the identification of everyone in the vehicle for accountability purposes.

Empty your vehicle, bags and coolers of anything that could be considered a weapon. A military base will not use airport standards; however, if you are attending a public event, you will likely have any guns and knives with blades longer than 3 inches confiscated.

Buckle up! Anyone found without a seatbelt on will be requested to buckle up. If the person refuses, he will likely be ushered off base for disobeying a military base law.

Hickman, AFB

Know your military base access. Often, for large events, civilians will only be allowed to travel along a few major roads to get where they are going. If you are attending one of these functions, it is not the time to try to do any sightseeing. If you are visiting for any other reason, feel free to drive around a bit.

Be patient. When attending an event like an air show, the military's first concern is public safety. If, to ensure your safety, they have to take a little extra time getting everyone in the gate, simply realize that this will benefit you in the end.


  • If you are attending a family function or simply going to a friend's house, have the host call the gate you will be arriving at to announce you. If you will be staying for a few days at a house on the military base, request a 3-day visitor's pass from the visitor's center.


  • Civilians do not have access to the military exchange, commissary, gas station, gym or most other facilities. Obey all signs. Failure to do so can have serious consequences.

About the Author

Heather Rutherford has enjoyed writing professionally since 2004. Her articles have appeared in,,, and On-the-News. She also works intimately with several small businesses to prepare business plans and other marketing materials. Rutherford is seeking an Associate of Arts in business from North Idaho College.