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Lajes Field, Portugal
The Azores are a group of islands located in the North Atlantic Ocean about 2,200 miles east of New York City and approximately 900 miles west of Lisbon, Portugal. The total land area is 922 square miles or roughly equivalent to three-fourths the size of Rhode Island. The islands range in size from 297 square miles--Sao Miguel, to seven square miles--Corvo.
Lajes Field is located on the northeast tip of Terceira. The island measuring roughly 8 miles by 15 miles and is somewhat oval in shape and is almost entirely bordered by high cliffs. The only beach is a short, sandy strip bordering Praia Bay, about three miles from the field. Except for the towns and hamlets, the land is divided into small plots of cultivated ground by stone fences and narrow, winding roads which crisscross the island. The two largest communities are Angra do Heroismo and Praia da Vitoria. The latter is about three miles from Lajes Field and has a population of about 12,000. Angra do Heroismo, the central district's capital city, is approximately 13 miles from Lajes Field and has a population of approximately 28,000.
Major Command: United States Air Force Europe (USAFE)
Mission: The Air Force mission is primarily airlift support. The Army mission is to provide logistic support of goods to the installation.
Telephone Access: Commercial 011-351-295-57-1110; DSN from CONUS 535-1110; DSN from Europe 312-535-1110. NOTE: All local numbers have a (2) prefix. When using DSN, the 2 MUST BE DROPPED.
CHANGE IN ELECTRICY:
On 20 September 2004, Lajes started receiving electricity from commercial providers. The biggest change is that the electrical cycles will change from 60 to 50 Hz. Most Lajes customers are not affected by the base conversion to European power. Facility voltage in the work place and MFH remains 110/208 volts. The conversion only affects frequency dependent equipment and appliances.
Before deciding to bring any electrical appliance to Lajes you need to ensure they can operate on 50 Hz. Lajes has approximately 350 families (roughly 680 people) already using 50 Hz power in their off-base homes. Similarly, military personnel previously stationed at other USAFE base's lived and worked in a 50 Hz facility and can be a valuable reference. Please check with your sponsor or call the Lajes Family Support Center, DSN 535-4138, for further information.
Lajes AAFES has (some) 50 Hz compatible electronics and appliances available locally but we suggest you do your shopping before you come here as you might have a wider selection. Also, make sure to inquire with tour sponsor for more specifics.
REPORTING-IN PROCEDURES: Air Force personnel are required to report to the Family Support Center, Bldg T-126, at 0800 on the Tuesday after their arrival for the Newcomer's Orientation (Right Start). Right Start, a one-stop in-processing, is conducted Tuesday and Wednesday. An Island tour is offered on Wednesday. Spouses and civilians are welcome to attend.
FOREIGN SPOUSES COMING TO THE AZORES: Any military member whose spouse is NOT a U.S. citizen SHOULD contact the MPF at Lajes upon receipt of assignment notification to obtain the correct information on whether or not their spouse will need to obtain a Portuguese Visa prior to their arrival at Lajes. Failure to do so will result in their spouse either not being allowed to board the plane or not being admitted into the country upon arrival. In the past the Azorean government did not make these individuals leave the country--now they are.
IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS: All personnel should bring their records, dependent passports, and any receipts or information needed to complete their travel voucher. All Individuals must bring their valid stateside drivers license get their Portuguese license and attend Driver's Safety Course.
TEMPORARY HOUSING: Due to the increase of incoming personnel during the summer months (May through August), base temporary quarters are extremely limited and the waiting time for housing may be longer than usual for some personnel. Personnel should consider arriving ahead of their families to secure housing before their family arrives, especially if their sponsor has been unable to secure billeting reservations. Hotels and motels are extremely limited and very expensive.
COST OF LIVING: LOCAL CURRENCY: The local currency is the EURO. This rate changes each business day and is affected by the U.S. dollar's strength in foreign money markets. The medium of exchange on Lajes Field is the U.S. dollar. BANKING FACILITIES: Pentagon Federal Credit Union has a branch at Lajes. They do not make over-the-counter transactions in cash. There is an ATM located outside the Credit Union which does assist you with your cash needs. Personal checks may be cashed at the Base Exchange and The Club. Additionally, money order service is available at the Base Exchange and the Post Office.
CHILD CARE: See CHILD AND TEEN SERVICES, CHILD CARE PROGRAMS - ON INSTALLATION and CHILD CARE PROGRAMS - COMMUNITY
HOME ALONE POLICIES: Children who are not old enough to go to school must be attended at all times. Five to 7-year-olds can be alone only when traveling to and from school or playing next to residence in a child play area. Eight to 9- year-olds may be left unattended in child play areas, but caregiver must know where they are at all times. Ten-year-olds can be left unattended up to 3 hours during daylight hours. Eleven to 15-year-olds can be left unattended, except over night. Overnight care can not be provided by a person less than 16 years of age.
CURFEW: There is no curfew on the installation. POV SHIPMENT: See RELOCATION SERVICES, POV IN-BOUND SHIPMENTS.
MAIL SERVICE: Mail arrives and leaves the base by AMC aircraft and daily commercial flights. It sometimes suffers lengthy delays, especially in the winter months. Eight days for first class mail is the average delivery time, but delays of up to 14 days are not uncommon. If you send your sponsor a copy of your orders, he/she can obtain a Post Office Box for you, prior to your arrival.
BICYCLES: Portuguese law prohibits any child less than 12 years of age from riding a bike on any public road off base.
RESTRICTED WEIGHT ALLOWANCE: Lajes Field has a restricted weight allowance. All base housing is fully furnished and off-base housing is provided full furnishings. Contact your nearest TMO for weight allowances and your sponsor for more information on items provided.