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Lewis-McChord: Getting to know the area #1

Lewis-McChord Area Observations

Mount Rainier with Horses in foreground

The Mountain

My wife Gayle, our two sons, and I, arrived at Ft. Lewis in 1997 from Baumholder Germany.  Upon arrival we purchased a home in the Hawks Prairie area in Lacey.  Our motivation to go towards Lacey was based purely on advice from friends who had been stationed here before.  We were told that with two teenagers, we would be much happier with the schools, lower crime, and more rural atmosphere to be found south of post.

Much has changed in the south Puget Sound region over the past 13 years.  Thurston County, which is the home to Lacey, has grown phenomenally over the years.   Pierce County, to the north, has also taken great strides in reducing crime and gang activity.  There are numerous areas both north and south of post that I would now be comfortable moving my family too; as a rule of thumb, if you are city go north…if you are into more of a rural feel go for Thurston County to the south.

Having made many PCS moves, the number one lesson I learned about buying a home in a new location is to find a realtor who will take the time to educate you about the area…not just the area that the realtor prefers to work in.  In the Lewis-McChord area, this is especially important because there is such a large geographical area surrounding the base, and the communities surrounding the base very diverse.

Home in Olympia Wa

Cool Old Home in Olympia WA

In my experience working with soldiers, the most popular areas are: Lacey, and Olympia for urban living with a little space.  Yelm,

Olympia Washington

Port of Olympia and Downtown

Roy and outlying areas for a really rural feel, but with amenities close by in the town of Yelm (if you chose to live in the “country”).  Lakewood and Spanaway for close proximity to the base with a city feel, and Tacoma and surrounds for the city life and more reasonably commute to Seattle and downtown Tacoma.  I see lots of soldiers purchase homes in Tacoma if a spouse will work or go to school in Seattle.

If you would like detailed information about moving to western Washington, to include info about Joint Base Lewis-McChord, I encourage you to request a relocation packet by US Mail.  Contact Gina McKune, our relocation sponsor, to request a relocation packet; or for answers to your questions about schools, commutes, and employment.

Our Relocation Sponsor Gina McKune can be reached at 360-970-6913, or


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