DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
Dyess Air Force Base has been subject to scrutiny for years as one of the “Top Five Air Force Bases to Avoid,” with complaints ranging from regional community, things to do, and even the location’s weather. This article directly challenges the most commonly ridiculed aspects of the installation and area from an Airman who was apprehensively assigned to Abilene herself.
1. Myth: Housing on post often has long waitlists, and housing off base for military members is hard to come by.
Facts: Applications are open for on-base housing! The first step to pursuing base housing is by submitting an application to the military housing office. Once approved, newcomers are encouraged to contact Dyess Family Homes to inquire about availability.
2. Myth: Living off Dyess Air Force Base is unsafe due to crime in Abilene
Facts: The information cited in the initial “Five Air Force Bases You Want to Avoid” publication citing concerns surrounding assault, murder, and crime references crime rates from 2014, seven years ago, which are inconsistent with the data in the Uniform Crime Reporting Index’s record of crime in the area. The Uniform Crime Reporting Program generates reliable statistics for use in law enforcement. It also provides information for students of criminal justice, researchers, the media and the public. The program has provided crime statistics since 1930. The UCR reports crime rates decreased by 45% since 2014. This data is one reference point in the trend towards improved public safety in the Abilene-Dyess community. Another way that safety has improved for members in the Abilene community is through improved relationships with community partners, routine engagements, and the institution of solution-based programs.
Here are a few examples of the recent improvements in public safety through community engagement and collaboration between Dyess and the City of Abilene:
The City of Abilene was the second city in Texas and third in the nation to create Community Response Teams. These teams incorporate mental health experts and allow APD to respond to citizens in a unique way that helps them receive treatment faster and more accurately, which has had a correlated effect of reducing crime.
Abilene Police Department leads a monthly meeting with all local law enforcement to discuss issues, trends and future operations to synchronize efforts and maximize the safety and security of all personnel in Abilene. Dyess AFB attends those meetings and has a strong relationship with APD and the Taylor Country Sheriff’s Office.
3. Myth: Members assigned to Dyess will be forced to withstand 100-degree heat for the entirety of their assignment.
Facts: Airmen assigned to Dyess will experience a variety of weather during their time in West Texas, including snow, which was historically exemplified in the blizzard of 2021. For a full report on Dyess weather and climate, concerned newcomers can look to the weather office of the 7th Operations Support Squadron, which provides complete forecasting for every aircraft coming out of America’s only lift and strike base. Even in the warmer months, the installation’s current leadership has prioritized supporting our Airmen by ensuring installation heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems are under routine repair and improvement for the enhanced quality of life for Airmen. Whether the weather is cold, or whether the weather is hot, Dyess stands ready to deter our adversaries and assure our allies across the globe whether critics can take the heat or not.
4. Myth: The Abilene community lacks support for religious diversity.
Facts: Dyess is host to members who identify as Hindu, Buddhist, Atheist, Agnostic, Muslim, Jewish and many more faiths and belief systems, and Air Force leaders are equipped with tools to support a variety of religious needs and backgrounds. In addition to a robust Christian community in Abilene, there are many other faith programs, communities and resources provided through the installation’s chaplain corps. On station, base leadership does this by spending time processing religious accommodations, briefing leaders on upcoming religious holidays, and connecting members to counsel and community in the local region. Bottom line: Every Airman is entitled to the free practice of religion, and the chaplain corps at Dyess is committed to providing support and confidential counsel to members of every religious background.
5. Myth: There is nothing to do for Air Force members in Abilene.
Facts: Whether member interests are in history, art, technology, concerts, business or industry, the Dyess-Abilene community has something to offer. When members first arrive on station, they will be introduced to all types of activities available on base and in the local area through the Dyess orientation program “Jump Start,” a program hosted by the Airman and Family Readiness Center. While there, newcomers will learn about weekly Force Support Squadron events such as hog hunting, concerts, festivals and networking events. Outside of the installation, there are enough events to keep your calendar full as well: the City of Abilene boasts a variety of museums, art galleries, breweries, open mic nights, Community Theater, and more – just check the Abilene visitors’ bureau websites! Not only is the Abilene community known to support the military community, but they take pride in the mission – and Airmen should too.
Additional Facts: Members assigned to Dyess who have exhausted all of the options from the Force Support Squadron and the City of Abilene, you are within four hours of some of the most exciting Texas cities! Austin, Fort Worth, Dallas, Palo Duro Canyon, Caprock and San Antonio are some of the most popular weekend trips, to name a few. Members are encouraged to communicate with their unit leadership about weekend plans and take a lead role in making this assignment what it can be.
MORE Facts: Dyess members may also be sent places in support of greater Air Force missions. Whether you are a part of the 7th Bomb Wing, the 317 Airlift Wing or one of the installation’s mission partners temporary duty and deployment opportunities are frequently offered. In this way, members assigned here live up to the Air Force Motto, “Anytime, Anywhere.” The Dyess Air Force Base’s specialty for lift and strike represents the crux of assurance and deterrence across the globe, and our members drive that charge by being ready to employ and deploy at a moment’s notice. For members looking for a purpose outside of themselves, on behalf of their country, preferably outside of Texas, Dyess Air Force Base sustains an installation and a mission that many can be proud of.