Dover Air Force Base entry guidelines change

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE — Starting on Jan. 1, the Purple Heart and Disabled Veterans Equal Access Act, allows Purple Heart recipients, former prisoners of war, and veterans with service-connected disabilities entry onto military installations to use the AAFES Exchange, commissary and Morale, Welfare and Recreation facilities.

Pre-identified primary caregivers of veterans with service-connected disabilities, as documented by the Department of Veterans Affairs, will also be granted entry onto the installation and access to these facilities.

To access the base, these veterans will need to show a Department of Veterans Affairs’ Veterans Health Information Card. For information on how to obtain that card, visit www.va.gov/health-care/get-health-id-card.

For the first visit, eligible veterans will need to go to the Visitors Center, located near the Main Gate entrance, with a REAL-ID compliant driver’s license, passport, or other accepted credential and register their VHIC into the system. After their VHIC is registered into the system, for subsequent visits to the base, veterans may go direct to the entry gate.

Pre-identified primary caregivers of eligible veterans will be mailed a letter by the VA. These letters are valid for a one-year period from the date of issue by the VA. On their first visit to the base, caregivers will also need to take their letters along with REAL ID-compliant credentials to the visitors center to be registered.

These veterans and caregivers will be allowed to bring up to five guests with them. All individuals granted access to the installation must undergo background checks and must abide by all applicable rules and regulations regarding base driving privileges to include the wearing of proper gear for motorcycle riders and the use of hands-free cell phones. All individuals entering the base are also subject to random vehicle inspections.

The language of the legislation does not grant escort or sponsorship privileges. Veterans with a VHIC and primary caregivers, who are granted access to the installation and to base amenities under this law, will not be able to bring family members or guests with them, unless their relatives or guests have their own VHICs or ID cards.

For information about base recreation facilities, to include regular and holiday hours, veterans may go to the 436th Force Support Squadron at www.doverafb436fss.com/. Information about the Exchange is available at www.shopmyexchange.com and the commissary at www.commissaries.com.

Medal of Honor recipients and veterans with a 100 percent service-connected disability rating already are granted installation access and use of base facilities. There are no changes to the process for these veterans to obtain their ID cards.

The Visitors Center at 331 Main Gateway is open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and is closed on weekends and all federal holidays.