These two paragraphs are just background info.
This won’t mean anything to most people, but civil service employees can live aboard military bases. So can retirees, base contractors, and sometimes regular civilians. Not many civilians will live on base because they give priority to the military. When military families prefer to live off base they open more of the housing up to others. How is this so? Military housing went from government run to run by private companies a few years ago. Since its run by private companies, they are able to recruit non military to fill vacancies to generate a profit.
Why privatize housing? I lived on military bases in the 80’s & 90’s as a dependent of a US Marine. I was stationed on military bases in the 2000’s as a US Marine. Housing used to suck. It was deemed as sub par. Houses were run down, and housing used to be a joke. Then the wars came. It was one thing asking the troops to go to war over and over for half a year to a year and a half. It was another thing to have their families stay in run down houses while their loved ones were away. I work on a base now as a civil service employee, and see what housing looks like now. Housing looks great. Houses are 100 times better than what they used to be. There are parks, swimming pools, and constant on site maintenance. The military really took care of the families when they let the housing go private.
So whats the point of this blog? GS workers can live on military bases, but should they? As in, would you do it yourself? That’s a question I’m faced with. Department of Defense schools are some of the best schools in the nation. The ones I’ve been in out performed the public schools surrounding the bases. Rent is affordable, and you can find yourself in a huge house. There are so many perks as well. Security of the military police, little to no crime, great parks, pools, amenities, etc. Living on base means a short drive to work as well. So why not live on base?
You are limited on where you can shop on base if you’re not military. The commissary (grocery store) and PX/BX is off limits. Imagine having a grocery store and a shopping mall near you, but inaccessible to you. You will have to leave base and drive a considerable distance to the nearest place. Then you will have to go through the security checkpoint to get back on base. For me, its not too much of a hassle. But… There’s always a but. I believe there should be exceptions for the Commissary and the PX/BX shopping stores.
Most people will say, military and their families only. They will say civil service, government employees should not use those places. We both work for the government, but civil service didn’t earn it. I say make it open to GS employees who are disabled Veterans who live and work on base at the very least. Here’s my reasoning. I used to be active duty. I fought in a war. I served, and I am still serving my country (government employee). I was hurt enough during my time in the Marines to get a disability rating from the VA. I should be able to use those shopping facilities right? Nope.
For the ones who say military only, what do you think you’ll be asking for when you or your sponsor gets out of the military? If you don’t retire from the military, or if you’re married into the military and the sponsor doesn’t retire? Then you find yourself amongst Veterans. Most Veterans will tell you that you are nothing more than an after thought to most people when you get out. Your service is thanked, but its a subject quickly moved on from. Ask for a Veteran discount. Or if there’s a cheaper ticket for Veteran’s at a theme park. They don’t give Veteran ID cards, but some States let you put Veteran on drivers licenses and what not. But for the ones who don’t? How will you prove that you’re a Veteran? Most theme parks and establishments will say sorry. Active duty or retired only.
The constant cheer, support, and attention you enjoy while you’re in or while you’re spouse is in dries up fast. You’ll just get nods if your service comes up on that odd occasion except for Veteran’s Day. That day you will get a free meal at a local restaurant. You’ll start thinking that Vet’s need more recognition, and you’ll forget about the time you used to think Military only.
So if you’re a disabled Veteran, live on base, and work on base as a current civil service govt employee… Shouldn’t that be enough to let you use these facilities? I can’t see someone saying a person with that background didn’t earn the right to shop on base.
Here’s another reason why I think its a good idea. The more people who can shop at those facilities, the more profit those facilities can ring in. The profit goes to running the establishments, but also goes to active duty military and military family programs. Shopping there supports the military and their families. There is constant talk of commissaries and PX/BX’s being closed for lack of profits. Opening it up to Vets who live on base, work on base, and are GS employees would put more money into these military and military family programs. It’s a win win. I’m not talking about letting everyone in the world who have no reason to be on base, shop at those places. That’d be crazy.
I know, its such a small matter in the large scale of life, but it’s my sticking point. We almost moved on base last year, but decided not to. If I have to pay rent, I might as well pay at a place I can have amenities at. We are in a good neighborhood now, and in a good school district, but I’m still keeping my eye on base just in case things change in the future.
I guess it also has to deal with the fact that I’m a disabled Veteran. I don’t see why honorably discharged, disabled Veterans should be barred. Especially if you live and work there. You’ll find that many places and people don’t give Vet’s more than nods for the most part. I find the lack of acknowledgement from the rest of the country completely fine. You served, and your times over. Life goes on. You will have other accomplishments to talk about.
It’s the perception of a lack of acknowledgement from the military that’s not fine. At least for me. In the military you tend to feel like a warm body, a serial number, or just a small cog in a giant machine. You would expect that after you’re out, that things would change a little bit. I mean it is the DoD authorities that bar disabled Vets who are GS employees, that live and work on base from using these facilities. They are the ones who could give access. Why not open it up to the exception I described above?
Like I said, it’s such a small matter. Most people wouldn’t even bat an eye. Just go off base to shop, and quit complaining. They have better selection off base anyways, and you get away from “work” by going off base. For me, that’s not the point. It’s about Veteran’s. Any gain for Veteran’s is a win for me.