Your Name (if you would like it to appear): Jessica (copenhagnangel25)
Base Location: Southern California (Halfway between Las Vegas and L.A.)
How long have you been here? (give years please, ex. 2003-present) 2007- Present
What is housing like? On-post? (waiting list, conditions, etc.) Off-post? Any areas to stay away from? Average price to rent or buy?The housing on Ft.Irwin are all in the process of being torn down and rebuilt. It is going neighborhood by neighborhood. They say it should take quite a few more years to get it all finished. But the new housing is awesome. The older housing is not bad, but it definitely isn’t the best. Some of the housing does have carpet, but most still have the tile. All the new housing i am told will have carpet. And depending on your rank, you should be able to get new housing now. Depending on when you try to come out here, the wait list is like any other post, it can be from a week to a few months. When we applied we got our house that same day.In my opinion it doesn’t really make sense to live off post. The closest town is Barstow, and that is 31 miles away, and it is not much of a town. It is really dirty, filled with drugs and homeless people. There are some bigger store like a wal-mart and a home depot, but other than that, Barstow is not worth much. The housing out there is a decent price, about $600 for a 2-3 bedroom. But the housing is all pretty much run down, and there is not really any grass or trees. On post housing at its worse is better than Barstow in my opinion, and then you also have to pay for the gas going back and forth!!!
Rate the PX & Commissary.They are both very small. The PX is in the middle of getting expanded, but not by much. They have most of the stuff you need for day to day living, but most people take a trip to Barstow or the next town over Victorville to get what is not available on base.
Activities on base?There is a really super nice bowling alley on base that is alot of fun. Its pretty new. There is a rollerskating rink, gym and swimming pool. There is also a splash park being built, how big it will be or what it will have we still do not know. There is also a small movie theatre on post, but its kinda behind in what is shown. There are tons of garage sales on the weekends. The weather out here is nice all year round (except summer time when it gets to be up to 130 degrees out…yuck) so walking is a great past time. You can loose alot of weight living out here!!!! Oh and there is a “club” on base, that has music and pool tables and things like that.
Active Spouses Club? There really are none that i know of, but the FRG’s are starting to pick up now that this base is deployable.
Things to do in area?At the end of Ft.Irwin Road there is an old ghost town called Calico. It was an old silver mining town back in the 1800’s. They have the place redone and have tours and old stores and reenactments and stuff. Its alot of fun to go out to and the kids really get a kick out of it. Vegas is only about a 2 hour drive, and then there is Primm which is about 30 mins before Vegas, so thats always fun. Then there is LA, disneyland, seaworld, universal studios and many more fun attractions that are all within driving distance, and many of them all give out pretty good military discounts. Big Bear mountain is about an hours drive away, and there you can see trees and water (maybe not a big deal to you now, but after being here awhile, you almost cry when you see them again!!!) they have skiing and all sorts of mountain stuff. Most people from Ft.Irwin drive out to Victorville if they want to go do shopping or out to restaurants. Its about an hours drive or so, and worth thetrip if you want to be around people.
School System?The schools on base are pretty good from what I’ve heard. The have a preschool, elementary and a middle school. High school kids have to ride a bus into Barstow. My son goes to the preschool, and I really like it alot.
Any colleges in area? Barstow and Victorville have colleges, and i know there are some satellite classes here on base. My advice to you would be online courses if you can.
Jobs? (on post and off) There are alot of jobs on post, either at the PX or commissary, at the hospital, or any other government civilian job. Barsow has some I’m sure, but again you would have to make that drive.
Favorite aspect of this base/surrounding city? I love how its such a small community. Everyone seems so nice and ready to help you if you need it. The weather is really nice, it hardly ever rains, although it gets really super hot in the summer (130) and the wind really knows how to blow out here!
Least favorite aspect? The super hot weather and the wind…….Not having more stuff in the commissary and PX so I do not have to leave base.
Local websites? (base, chamber, newspaper, schools, etc.)
http://www.irwin.army.mil/ Ft.Irwin homepage
www.desertdispatch.com Barstow News
Any other tips? Make the best out of your stay here. Alot of people complain alot about being out here, and say how horrible it is. Well, ill tell you now, if all you do is focus on the bad, then yes, your stay here will be horrible. But if you look at the good and make the best of what you have, then you will probably really like it out here like I do!!!
5 thoughts on “Ft Irwin Army Post Review”
Thanks so much for putting this out there. I’ve been searching for “real” information on what things are like there. We have orders and will be out soon. This was so helpful. Sometimes, it’s the little things that are concerning that are forgotten in the other articles regarding this post.
This IS useful info. Im so glad this is out here… but I have a couple questions.. U mentioned that the base is now deployable, so how often do they deploy? My husband has orders to 2nd HET and his report date is Aug 30th. Im hoping that whatever unit he ends up at he wont deploy until next fall, it would be a relief.. Also, how hard is it to get a job at the hospital. If you dont have any proper education. I mean, if ur a high school graduate with a home health nurse? What are the possibilites to be an assistant of some sort and work yourself up??? Please let me kno more info, and thank you for this.
Chanel, Veteran, Wife, Mother
Been at Fort Irwin for 2 ½ years. 2009-2012
Housing on post is safe in quiet. The housing is separated from E-1 through E-6 and E-7 and above. Most housing is really nice, but try to live in the townhouses. Waitlist is normally a very short wait, a few weeks. Do not live off post. Driving on Fort Irwin road can be dangerous, especially at night. Gas adds up, and living off post can be isolating even more than on post from other families. Living on post is much more convenient and it is easier to make friends. The PX is tiny. Everyone I know has to order things on Amazon or take a monthly trip to Victorville.
There are a few activities on post. For new mothers they have play dates. Lots of garage sales. Subway, Pizza hut, and another Starbucks just opened up.
Save up money and explore: San Diego Zoo, Wild Animal Park, Sea World, Catalina Island, Big Bear, Yosemite, Las Vegas, Santa Monica Pier, Six Flags, and so much more!
Barstow Community Colleges have classes in the classroom on post.
Jobs are a little competitive.
It is very hot. The only good thing is living on post they only charge you if you run your ac more than the average home, and since everyone runs their ac you can live it on all day during the summer. If you have it off they send you money for consuming less than the average.
My best advice is make your home your castle. Meaning you’ll be spending a lot of time inside the house due to the extreme heat. Make your home comfortable for your family. Learn to cook because there are very few places to eat. Go to school. Go to the pool. Explore the rest of California. Make friends on post that are drama free. Be involved in the community. This place is a different kind of beast than the regular Army. If your spouse is in 11th ACR they are typically training a lot, at least 14 days a month, and it can be very stressful for the Soldier and their families. Some of the other units deploy. I feel even the strongest couples struggle. Do maintenance on your marriage. Fort Irwin can be isolated.
Thank you for all the information on Ft. Irwin. I found it extremely helpful. My husband and I will be stationed there soon. Best Regards.
Thank for sharing. My husband and I will be moving to Ft. Irwin shortly and I had a lot of questions about where to live and concerns about Bartow. Your comments were very helpful. Totally appreciate it.