NAWS China Lake

Commander Navy Region Southwest, Navy Installations Command

1 Administrative Circle, Ridgecrest, CA 93555


Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake is a base covered by three counties in California: Inyo, Kern and San Bernardino. The front gate can be found in Ridgecrest. It was established in the western part of the Mojave Dessert area.

NAWS is one of the most important bases because it stores close to 85% of the land that was used for research operations for armaments and weapons. And it had usage for testing and evaluating.

This base was created in 1943 due to the Navy needing a new site to test new weapons and aviation techniques. It was also used to provide basic training for these weapons. The first operations began a few weeks after the base was established. The excellent climate, great visibility and wide area were all determining factors for picking the region.

In 1963, President John F. Kennedy visited the base to admire an air show.

80,000 active duty and supports students at three installations annually of up to 138,000, 8,000 civilian contractors, 200 mission partners, 250,000 family members and veterans.



At China Lake, the main gate is easily accessible from State Highway 178, State Highway 14 and Highway 395. Like any other command in the Navy, you have the responsibility of letting your command and your sponsor know you have arrived. Military personnel should initially check in at the Quarterdeck, which is located in the Headquarters Building at the northeast corner of Knox Road and Blandy Avenue. A Safety and Security Orientation Briefing is scheduled regularly for new personnel. New arriving personnel will also want to check in with Personnel Support Department for assistance with badges and processing transfer papers and the Fleet and Family Support Center for further information and referral information.
After you have checked in, you will be issued a China Lake badge. This badge is very important to you and should be safeguarded with the same care as your driver’s license or any other important document. Your China Lake badge says, “I belong here,” and identifies you as an official China Lake employee. The badge must be worn in full view while in any restricted area. You must show proof of the following to receive a permanent vehicle decal: vehicle registration, insurance, and a Department of Motor Vehicle driver’s license.
Also, bring any family member over the age of 16 to get them a base dependant badge (not ID). Children who attend the schools on the installation will not be mandated to wear a badge. China Lake works a little different due to the large amount of civilian employees (3000+) and a regular military Active Duty ID/dependant will grant you access to the main side but will not grant you access to the installations airfield or ranges.


TRICARE Information and News


For a full list of community health centers, visit the Health Center Program at


Check the US News Health directory online at to find the best doctor for your family.


The American Dental Association provides a list of dentists near you on their website


To be enrolled in a California school, children should be five years old by September 1st to be eligible for kindergarten. The law also required school districts to develop a transitional kindergarten program for children who will no longer be age-eligible. Check with the school for requirements.

In 2010, California along with the majority of other states, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity adopted Common Core State Standards that provide a consistent set of educational expectations for students, regardless of ZIP code. When a family moves, a student’s education is often disrupted because the student may be forced to repeat material or learn at a different level at the new school. With common standards across states, this disruption will be reduced — of particular interest to military families. For more information, visit

Sierra Sands School District

If your child is preparing to attend college, this information on scholarships may be helpful.

Current service members can attend college in their off-duty time and have their military branch pay the tuition.

Learn about the Military Tuition Assistance Program.
Use the Tuition Assistance (TA) DECIDE tool to help you make the best use of your tuition assistance dollars.

​If you were or are in the military, you may be eligible for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) education benefits. If you are a spouse or dependent, you may be eligible too.

Online course options: edX – Founded by Harvard University and MIT, offers high-quality courses from the world’s best universities and institutions to learners everywhere. Whether you are interested in computer science, languages, engineering, psychology, writing, electronics, biology, or marketing. Enroll today!

When moving to a new location, it is important to know who to call when you have an emergency or you need help. Below are some organizations you will find useful.

Child Care Aware:

Under the site’s “Child Care 101” tab you’ll find information related to locating quality child care, the types of child care available to you and how to evaluate the child care providers you visit.
There’s also a special section for the military child on the website covering topics such as military fee assistance, payments and provider services.

California Department of Human Resources 916-324-0455
Helps families live safe, healthy and successful lives. It fulfills this mission by providing children, youth, families and adults care, services and treatment to thrive in their homes and communities.

Kern County Children Services 760-499-5200
Strives to create communities where children grow up safe from abuse, neglect and dependency, where adults are protected from domestic violence and where parents can be strengthened in their capacity to keep their family safe.

Kern County Animal Services 661-868-7100
Handles pet adoptions, pet licensing, lost and found animals, and more.

Kern County Dept of Public Health 661-321-3000

Highway Patrol 661-823-5500

Base Operator760-939-1283


Housing Services Office 760-446-1320


ID/CAC Card Processing 760-939-1683


Medical Appointments 760-939-8000


Suicide Prevention Hotline 760-939-8319


Housing is available to all to active duty military families. All homes are single family, 3-4 bedroom units. Call the Navy Family Housing Office, at 760-939-4450, for availability.

The Estates

2 miles from base

Newer neighborhood located near the base. Strict CCR’s keep the homes looking nice. The BAH is usually much lower than what people charge for renting these nicer homes, but some people prefer to pay more for a newer place.

Washington Way

2.2 miles from base

Most desired neighborhood in Ridgecrest. Many beautiful homes available. Quite and family friendly. Access to pool and spa, fitness center, tennis courts and basketball courts.

Submit information about your neighborhood

We vet for Vets

Report To Base is the #1 site for vetted military friendly realtors that work with active duty, are well versed in VA purchases and virtual tours. We feature mortgage brokers who specialize in VA loans with competitive rates so you do not have to shop for low rates we do it for you. All our home inspectors are VA friendly and are backed by our community. At Report To Base we do all the work for you. All you have to do is click and call.

Be sure to let our partners know you found them at Report to Base!


In Ridgecrest, the summers are sweltering, arid, and clear and the winters are cold, dry, and partly cloudy. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 30°F to 103°F and is rarely below 21°F or above 110°F.
Based on the beach/pool score, the best time of year to visit Ridgecrest for hot-weather activities is from late June to late August.

The overall cost of living index in Ridgecrest, CA is 105, which is 24% lower than the California average and 5% higher than the national average.

Everyday goods and services can be a good indicator of the general cost of goods in a given city. In this case, the goods and services in Ridgecrest, CA are 6% lower than the California average and 3% higher than the national average.

China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station is the high desert home of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division. It’s located 150 miles northeast of Los Angeles on the western edge of California’s Mojave Desert.
China Lake Museum Foundation (CLMF) is a non-profit educational corporation established in 1993 to support the establishment and operation of the US Naval Museum of Armament and Technology. What’s unique about this is most of the weapon development heritage of the China Lake facility is unique and irreplaceable.
The Coso Range Canyons contain the highest concentration of rock art in the Northern Hemisphere. More than 6,000 images engraved, and no one knows for sure how old these petroglyphs are. Little Petroglyph Canyon is open to the public for tours.

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