Fort Bliss Relocation Information
Image via Fort Bliss Facebook
Welcome to Fort Bliss!
Easily one of the Army’s top five largest bases in both size and population, depending on the method of measurement, Fort Bliss is widely known as the home to the 1st Armored Division—America’s Tank Division, also affectionately known as “Old Ironsides.” The division’s storied and patriotic past has ties to the majority of significant modern American military operations. In 2005, the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) reassigned the 1st Armored Division to Fort Bliss, Texas.
Fort Bliss is named in honor of Army officer and son-in-law of President Zachary Tyler, William Wallace Smith Bliss. Bliss taught at West Point and ultimately served as Tyler’s Presidential Secretary. Bliss also took strong interest in Native American tribes and invested time learning their cultures and languages, which is fitting given where his namesake Army post is located.
Soldiers test M1A2 Abrams tanks during a live-fire accuracy screening test at Fort Bliss, Texas, Oct. 18, 2019. Image via defense.gov.
West Texas is rich in indigenous and Native American history, and later, the history expands to include Spanish, Mexican, and American influence. The lands around El Paso, and eventually Fort Bliss, were colonized initially by the Spanish, who were on their way to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Later, a newly independent Mexican government laid claim to the land, but the United States stepped in by the mid-1850s.
Today, Fort Bliss is a U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) installation and comprises approximately 1.12 million acres of land in Texas and New Mexico. The largest tenants include the 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command, 407th AFSBN, 93rd Military Police Battalion, CONUS Replacement Center, Joint Modernization Command, and Mobilization Brigade.
Image from army.mil
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Frequently Asked Questions About Fort Bliss
1) Is El Paso a safe place to live?
Among many sources, two (Safewise and Neighborhood Scout) deem El Paso a safe city to live in. For a city of its size, El Paso has lower crime statistics than the national average. Safewise ranks El Paso as the 6th safest metro city in 2019. In addition to the military presence, the DEA, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, and the FBI have offices in El Paso.
2) Where do military families live in El Paso?
You’ll have a choice of several popular areas and neighborhoods to choose from in Sun City. Most military families find homes among the diverse personalities of neighborhoods found in Downtown, Central, East, Far East, Horizon City, Northeast, Northwest, and West.
3) How many gates does Fort Bliss have?
Currently, Fort Bliss operates 12 gates that are open to civilian and/or military personnel. The Buffalo Soldier and Chaffee gates offer visitor center services. Cassidy, MSG Pena, Fred Wilson, McGregor Front, and CSM Barreras gates provide 24/7 access, and the remaining gates are opened around typical work and school hours to relieve congestion.
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Base Location and Information
Military Installations Near Fort Bliss
Fort Bliss is located at 1 Pershing Road, Fort Bliss, TX 79916. The post lies at the the far western tip of Texas adjacent to El Paso, bordering the Rio Grande river, with over 90% of its training area located in New Mexico.
The Chihuahan desert mountain landscape, specifically the Franklin Mountain Range, is the backdrop of Fort Bliss, El Paso, and the western corner of Texas. This isn’t to discount the importance of the Rio Grande River, which borders Mexico. Speaking of the U.S/Mexican border, it's a newcomer’s rite of passage to almost drive into Mexico, while learning the interstate and street systems of El Paso.
The Franklin Mountains split El Paso into east and west sides, and this separation dictates the Fort Bliss commute to and from locations on either side. Because Fort Bliss and El Paso are so large, the importance of learning the service member’s daily work location is often a principal factor in the family’s decision on where to live.
Families rave about Freedom Crossing, Fort Bliss’s exclusive entertainment complex. The outdoor shopping and eating center provides a local hangout and is a center of activity all year long. From ice skating and fire pits in the winter to concerts in the spring, there’s always some sort of action going on. Families also appreciate the central location of the commissary, Exchange, class six, barbershop, and dry cleaner.
Fort Bliss Exchange at Freedom Crossing
Fort Bliss’ family population is large. There are five Child Development Centers on Fort Bliss and three School Age Service Centers. All of the school age education is provided off base in the 10 surrounding school systems.
A new 1.1 million-square-foot hospital is slated to open in late 2020. The new building replaces a 50-year-old structure and will consist of a seven-story hospital with 10 operating rooms, 269 exam rooms, 30 primary and specialty care clinics, 135 patient beds, 16 intensive care rooms, and eight labor and delivery rooms.
The significance of the Mexican heritage and influence cannot be denied in El Paso. From the droves of people who line up for authentic Mexican cuisine (you’ll hear about Carlos and Mickey’s amazing food and margaritas) to the cultural events, both impromptu and planned, Mexican heritage is on full display to include the fact that much of the population is bilingual.
White Sands National Park in nearby New Mexico
Fort Bliss is an ideal location to travel from, either for day or weekend trips. Military travelers seek out getaways to Tucson, Albuquerque, and Santa Fe, which are all at about five hours away, while Phoenix is closer to a six-hour drive. For a faster trip and chance to cool down, families head to Ruidoso, New Mexico, for skiing in the winter and pleasant outdoor activities in the warmer months.
Here’s more to check out near Fort Bliss:
- The University of Texas at El Paso
- Wyler Aerial Tramway
- White Sands National Park
- The El Paso Zoo
- Carlsbad Caverns National Park
- El Paso Museum of Art
Fort Bliss Map via Fort Bliss MWR
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Fort Bliss offers on-base lodging through IHG Army Hotels. To make reservations, visit the IHG Army Hotel site or call 1-877-711-TEAM.
Fort Bliss Housing
On base housing is managed by Balfour Beatty Communities, serving as Fort Bliss Family Homes. There are 17 neighborhoods that offer 2-, 3-, and 4-bedroom floor plans. Pets are welcome with some restrictions, and amenities include pools, sport courts, and playgrounds.
In addition to active duty members, Fort Bliss Family housing fills vacancies with military retirees, DOD civilian employees, and the general public.
Fort Bliss Family Homes
1991 Marshall Road
EL Paso, Texas 79906
Fort Bliss Housing Services Office (HSO)
Location: Bldg. T0070
Carter Rd. Fort Bliss, TX 79916
Fort Bliss Off Post Housing
City of El Paso via Visit El Paso
In addition to your family’s personal wish list, there are two key factors to keep in mind when searching for a home near Fort Bliss.
1) El Paso and Fort Bliss are huge and cover miles of roadways.
To avoid excess commute times and dealing with rush hour traffic on and off post, plan for a home that is convenient to the servicemebmer’s workplace. This might mean the school you’ve chosen for your children is on the opposite side of the office. Determine early on the drive time priority. Commutes range from under 15 minutes to more than 40. Don’t forget that your route could include a trip through the mountain range.
2) Fort Bliss is one of the Army’s busiest installations.
The training and deployment rotation calendar should also factor into which area provides convenience for the family left behind. There are plenty of neighborhoods that have a great mix of local El Pasoans and military families. Many rental homes have pools, as they are a way of life in the desert. Easy access to hiking trails is another amenity families appreciate.
When searching for an El Paso home, review the property descriptions for mention of these areas: Downtown, Central, East, Far East, Horizon City, Northeast, Northwest, and West to determine if they are compatible with your priority list of housing needs and wants.
Of note: Newcomers are often taken aback by the high utility bills that amass from the intense heat. The occasional, but regular, power outages also take time to get used to.
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Area Weather & Climate
Franklin Mountains via Texas.gov
Sunshine, heat, and low humidity are the main elements you need to know about the Fort Bliss weather and climate. About 300 days of sunshine allow for plenty of time spent outside during the pleasant months of October through April. Even the hottest months, from May to September (97°F and low of 72° on average) have tolerable hours in the evenings because of the very low humidity.
November through April are the months that offer potential snowfall, but El Paso sees only about 3 inches per year, mostly in December.
The National Weather Service officially defines the monsoon season for El Paso as the time frame between June 15 through September 30. This is when El Paso receives about half of its yearly 9 inches of rainfall.
For those who prefer or are used to four seasons, the transition to the dry desert climate takes some time to get used to. Newcomers are often taken aback by the wind and sand storms that can cause brownouts.
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Fort Bliss Area Schools
Students who live on and off Fort Bliss are served by 10 school districts, nine of which are in El Paso and one in Gadsden, New Mexico. Because there are so many options to choose from, it's important to review your chosen districts policy for registration; most prefer online registration as early as possible. Do note that Socorro ISD administers a year-round, modified calendar.
El Paso area school districts via Ft. Bliss MWR
School Districts that Support Fort Bliss:
- El Paso ISD
- Socorro ISD
- Ysleta ISD
- Clint ISD
- Canutillo ISD
- Tornillo ISD
- Fabens ISD
- Anthony ISD
- San Elizario ISD
- Gadsden, NM ISD
The Parent Student Guide to El Paso Area School Districts answers many questions incoming military families have. This is in addition to the advice and guidance that the Student Liaison Officer can provide: (915) 569-5064.
A strong homeschool community resides on and off Fort Bliss. Find general Texas state laws regarding homeschooling from the Texas Education Agency, then find support from:
Those interested in private school education often consider schools such as Radford School, Loretto Academy, Immanuel Christian School, and Faith Christian Academy.
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Support for Military and Families
Army 1st Sgt. Doranda Denetclaw holds her daughter after returning to Fort Bliss, Texas, following a nine-month deployment to Iraq, Oct. 23, 2019.Image via defense.gov.
Due to the dense population and size of Fort Bliss, there’s plenty of support for military families. Not only are there organizations which actively support on and off base activities, the local civilians have a strong reputation for friendliness and willingness to work with base command on projects that serve both communities because they are so intertwined. Take a look at some of the helpful resources available for Fort Bliss area families:
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More Fort Bliss Area Information
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1 Pershing Road