Skip to content

MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, FL

While the Sunshine State is known primarily for its tourist attractions, it also plays a strategic military role. Florida hosts 21 bases from every branch of the armed forces. MacDill AFB is one of the state’s six air force bases that help America maintain its global reach.

Located roughly seven miles south of Tampa, this installation is home to more than 3000 airmen. It also employs thousands of service members and staff derived from associated mission partners.

History of MacDill AFB

This military installation gets its name from Colonel Leslie MacDill, one of America's distinguished military aviation pioneers.

After serving in various capacities for over two decades, he died in 1938 in a plane crash near Bolling Field in Washington DC.

The facility started operations in 1939 as the Southeast Air Base, Tampa, under the Army Air Corps. Shortly after, the name changed to MacDill Field.

The War Department eventually took over its operations as part of a pre-WW2 defense strategy. The 29th and 44th Bombardment Groups were the first units to call the base home. Before America's direct involvement in the war, the facility supported US combat readiness in the Philippines and the Atlantic Ocean. They received credit for disrupting German supply lines during the conflict.

Towards the end of the war, the base came under the Navy's control, where training was its primary purpose. Afterward, it hosted US troops coming back from war as they started adjusting to preserving the hard-won peace. The newly created United States Air Force (USAF) came to control MacDill AFB during the post-war realignment.

Although the airbase played a largely supportive role in successive years, it would witness intermittent activity spikes. Examples include the Cuban missile crisis in 1962 and counter-terrorism missions following 9/11.

A fighter jet at the MacDill Air Force Base

Current Status of MacDill AFB

This base currently supports the Air Mobility Command's worldwide refueling and airlift missions. It hosts two crucial commands, one of which is the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM). The second is the US Central Command (CENTCOM), which oversees special operations for the armed forces. Some of the units and missions at MacDill are:

  • 91st Air Refueling Squadron.
  • Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT)
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing
  • 927th Air Refueling Wing
  • US Marine Corps Forces Central Command (MARCENT)
  • 310th Airlift Squadron
  • 6th Civil Engineering Squadron

MacDill AFB sits on over 5,700 acres of land. It accommodates more than 600 facilities covering at least five million square feet. The base is home to the KC-135R Stratotanker, which performs air refueling missions. Its 11,421ft asphalt runway can also handle several other types of fighter and cargo aircraft. MacDill airbase is typically busy with a mix of military and civilian aircraft visiting for training.

Additional Information about MacDill Air Force Base

Did you know that MacDill AFB hosts the Coalition Coordination Center that's also called the Coalition Village? The US Central Command oversees this facility that brings together America's multinational partners in the global war against terror. Each of the 52 nations has a representative to liaise between their country and CENTCOM.

In addition to its proximity to Tampa, MacDill AFB sits about 12 miles west of St.Petersburg, a city of over 240,000 people. Since Florida is a tourist destination with a developed transport network, it's relatively easy to reach it from several directions. You can drive from Miami, Orlando, Union Station, Tampa International Airport, and St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport.

To enter the facility, you must have a valid military, veteran, or retiree ID, as well as an authentic driver’s license and insurance card. If you’re visiting the airbase, you must first sign in at the visitor’s center. For incoming personnel, each unit at the facility has contact personnel that will direct you for in-processing.

A US Air Force Boeing on display at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa Florida

Amenities In and Around MacDill AFB

Unlike isolated military installations, it's easier to settle at MacDill air force base. That's partly thanks to several indoor and outdoor amenities in and around it. They include swimming pools, bowling alleys, golf courses, shopping centers, gyms, movie theaters, beaches, museums, and recreational facilities. MacDill's weather makes it appropriate for outdoor activities. The base's proximity to Tampa and St. Petersburg also increases your options.

The Hillsborough school district caters to children living on the base. Although educational facilities are closer for kindergarten to fifth-grade school goers, there are buses for older students. The decent medical facilities, real estate options, and overall infrastructure make the area a suitable retirement location.

Final Thoughts on MacDill Air Force Base

MacDill Air Force Base plays an essential role in America's security while offering training and career advancement opportunities to thousands of active personnel and veterans. It also provides a conducive environment for the personal growth of military family members and visitors. You're likely to make several long-lasting professional and personal relationships if you live in this sprawling community.

Find The Right Mortgage

For more than 20 years, Phil have been helping customers achieve their home purchase and refinance goals by providing them with invaluable resources and support.

Schedule a FREE Consultation
Phil Ganz

Subscribe to Get Your First Time Homebuyer Checklist

Sign up for the weekly newsletter to stay up to date on the latest real estate market trends, loan news, and so much more!