U.S. Army Garrison White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) is located in Southern New Mexico near Alamogordo, stretching across five counties over some 3,200 square miles. It plays an important role in American military history as the site of the first Trinity atomic testing.
Find information about U.S. Army Garrison White Sands Missile Range including the main commercial and DSN numbers for the base, information on basic services, base transportation, lodging for TDY and PSCing personnel, and inprocessing.
Mission & Units
The official mission statement for White Sands Missile Range is, as described on the U.S. Army official site, includes functioning as “DoD’s largest, fully-instrumented”
Important missions and units at White Sands include:
- 2d EN BN
- Logistics Readiness Center
- Navy Headquarters
- 3-6 Patriot Test Detachment
- Air Force Detachment 49th OSS
- Naval Surface Warfare Center PHD White Sands Detachment
- TRADOC Analysis Center
In 1945, the White Sands Proving Ground began testing
This is the atomic testing that would play such an important role in the American involvement in World War Two. White Sands would become associated over time, some say inseparably, with the Manhattan Project.
The original test site was chosen in 1944, the test was in July of 1945, and the first use of atomic weapons in American warfare was on August 6,
Modern activities at White Sands Missile Range include The White Sands Test Center, with branches for Manned Tactical Systems & Electromagnetic Radiation plus missile testing and “range recovery” operations.
Other testing includes work in the Launch Abort Flight Test Complex, a “Navy Area”, and the Air Force Labs Directed Energy Affiliate.
Main Address And Phone Numbers
White Sands Welcome Center
Building # 329
White Sands Missile Range, NM 88002
Important Contact numbers
- Emergency 911
- Base Operator (575) 678-2121
- Commissary Shoppette (575) 678-3336
- Department of Motor Vehicles White Sands Office (575) 678-8824
- Deployment Mobilization (575) 678-2889
- Exchange (575) 678-2498
- Housing Referral Office Housing Privatization (575) 678-3155
- Information and Referral Services (575) 678-2889
- Transportation Office (575) 678-3506
White Sands Missile Range is approximately 17 miles from Alamagordo, New Mexico. The local area features attractions including plenty of Southwestern cuisine to discover and a side trip to McGinn’s PistachioLand, known to travel and tourist websites as “Home of the World’s Largest Pistachio” plus the Pistachio Tree Ranch & Arena Blanca Winery.
You can also get a taste of local history and beyond with the White Sands Missile Range Museum or the New Mexico Museum of Space History and IMAX Theater. Outdoors enthusiasts will want to visit Lincoln National Forest for hiking, camping, and sightseeing.
The Alameda Park Zoo is said to be one of the oldest (if not THE oldest) zoo in the American Southwest. In the city of Las Cruces, the Branigan Cultural Center is a destination for the arts, and there are regular farmer’s markets and other outdoor community events when in season.
Inprocessing and Check-In
Inbound PCSing troops must report to the Military Personnel Division (MPD), located in Building 465, Room 134. After duty hours, contact the Staff Duty Office, Bldg 1417, Phone 575-678-8999 but you should expect to report in person under most circumstances.
Enlisted in-processing can last up to five working days;
- Five copies of orders
- Leave Form, DA Form 31
- Military Personnel File including SGLV and DD93
- Finance records
- Medical records
- Dental records
- Promotion packets
- Officer Record Brief (ORB)/Enlisted Record Brief (ERB)
Contact your gaining unit or sponsor if you have questions about in-processing, permissive TDY for house hunting in the White Sands Missile Range local area, etc.
Healthcare services are available on-post via the McAfee Health Clinic. McAfee services include:
- Family Practice
- Primary Care
- Allergy & Immunizations
- Environmental Health
- Family Advocacy Program
- Occupational Health
- Preventative Medicine
- Industrial Hygiene
- Medical records
- Behavioral Health
- Active Duty Physicals
Traditionally the clinic is open during normal duty hours only, but the facility has closed on Thursdays and weekends for training and other mission requirements. Call 575-674-3500 for information on appointments and services.
On-post child care is handled via the Jones Child Development Center on post for children between the ages of six weeks and five years old.
Waiting lists may apply, but parents also have the option of using Family Child Care services on-post, which is child care in private on-post homes that are certified and monitored. Call (575) 678-7093 to learn more.
Family Child Care services may be the more flexible option for some parents who may have to contend with shift work or rotating schedules. White Sands also features a Child, Youth & School Services (CYS Services) program for military dependents between four weeks and 12th grade. Call 575-678-2441 for more information.
All those PCSing to White Sands Missile Range are directed to track and manage their household goods shipments via the Defense Personal Property System at Move.mil. You can also contact the White Sands Transportation Office at 575-678-3506 or 575-678-5005 to get further assistance.
Dependent And Retiree ID Card Renewal, Replacement, New Issue
All ID card services should be scheduled via the White Sands Missile Range RAPIDS site or by calling 575-678-5739. Walk-ins are encouraged, but waiting times may vary depending on mission requirements and other needs. All ID card services require valid, unexpired ID and that ID may be required to be REAL ID Act-compliant depending on the nature of the ID.
Those living off-post may find their school choices dictated by where in the local area they choose to live. On-post at White Sands, one Elementary and Middle school serve the base; these are operated by the Las Cruces Public School District.
High School students living on-post will attend Onate High School located in Las Cruces. The White Sands School Liaison Office is available at 575-678-7093 to help incoming families and provide more information.
Transfer rules for New Mexico public schools include a requirement to be five years of age by September 1st of the current school year. Parents may be permitted to send children to schools outside their “attendance zone”; ask the White Sands School Liaison Officer about the current rules for this policy if you need to consider doing so.
The following documentation is required to transfer a child to the Las Cruces Public School district:
- Birth certificate
- Proof of address (such as a utility bill showing the service address, lease, or mortgage)
- Immunization records
A limited number of family housing units are available on-post; for those eligible to live on base at White Sands there is roughly a five working day waiting list.
Unaccompanied service members in ranks Private through Sergeant may be eligible for on-post barracks rooms, but there are no on-post housing options for unaccompanied officers. Contact your gaining unit and/or sponsor to learn how to start the process for unaccompanied housing.
Military families should explore their options on and off-post with Balfour Beatty Communities, the White Sands Missile Range housing partner by calling (575) 674-2463. Contact Balfour Beatty when you get your PCS orders. Waiting lists and other considerations may apply–call early.
PCS and TDY Lodging
Temporary lodging facilities at White Sands may be limited depending on PCS season, mission requirements, training schedules, and other variables.
On-post temporary lodging is handled by IHG Hotels; if there is no room on-post a certificate of non-availability should be obtained by the service member to have off-post lodging covered as a legitimate expense on a military travel voucher.
Call (595) 678-1838 or (575) 678-4559 to make reservations or learn more.
Single soldiers are provided a room in the barracks upon arrival but make sure you arrange this or discuss it with your sponsor and the gaining unit orderly room.
White Sands Missile Range is within five miles of three nearby airports:
- El Paso International Airport
- Las Cruces International Airport
- Alamogordo White Sands Regional Airport
Depending on when you arrive and the time of year, the usual
Some commercial shuttles may offer you a flat rate for travel to the installation; ask your sponsor which operator is the most reliable and military-friendly if you aren’t sure which option to use from the airport.
Vehicle Registration And Driver’s License
All new arrivals (PCS or reassigned civilians) must register their privately owned vehicles on-post at Building 384. You will need the following documentation:
- Proof of ownership
- Minimum New Mexico-required auto insurance
- a valid drivers’ license (in-state or out-of-state) from the person registering the vehicle.
New Mexico State law requires all drivers to carry liability insurance, and out-of-state drivers (even military members) may be required to register cars once residency has been established.
Such rules are subject to change depending on state legislative actions or other variables so be sure to check with your White Sands Missile Range sponsor to learn what the most current requirements may be.
The New Mexico Department of Motor Vehicles maintains an office on-post, and you can get Drivers License service, ID Cards, plus Title and Registration services. Call 575-678-8824 for more information.