Living on a military base is more than a semi-permanent situation. It is semi in the respect that the soldier and the family will only be there for the next few years and it is permanent in that you know this is your home for those same next few years. Regardless of the size of the base, every base is a community unto itself.
Everything that the average family needs is there; a grocery store, shopping mall, bank, post office, theatre, religious centers, outdoor activities, community center, clubs, dining facilities, gas station, quick stop markets, and, if not a full size hospital, medical clinics. The majority of bases do not have schools physically located on the installation, but the children are educated in the neighboring school systems.
Military housing for families is wonderful. Homes are available to service personnel at the monthly rate of their individual housing allowances. There is no High Price Districts on military bases but neighborhoods are occupied around the rank of the military member. That means that one housing area will be exclusive for enlisted personnel and their families while another neighborhood will be for officers and their families. There are even apartments for the single soldiers.
On smaller, more consolidated bases it is very convenient for people to either bike or walk to work. Spouses who want to work are given a much deserved employment preference for federal vacancies on the base. It is very pro-active that spouses are able to maintain their employment careers as their families move from one place to another.
Life on a military base presents experiences that routine civilian life generally does not have. The wide diversity of family backgrounds present on a military base allows people to meet and make friendships that will last a lifetime. Many years after leaving the military it is a welcome occurrence when former base neighbors call on each other as they travel around the country. Bonds of kinship and unity are formed easily and remain strong forever.
Just entering onto a military base and observing the attentiveness of the Military Police gives you a sense of comfort, safety, and security. In the housing communities neighbors watch out for each other and help with chores when someone is sick or disabled. Neighbors also watch each other’s homes if anyone is going out of the area on leave. Everyone stationed and living on a military base is part of the community. It is like having one very large extended family.
As people go about their daily lives there is a thread of oneness and camaraderie that connects everyone. There is even an unequal amount of politeness on a military base that is disappearing in the general public environment. Complete strangers help with shopping carts; hold doors open for incoming and outgoing store patrons, regardless of sex, age, or military rank. You will hear more *Can I help you* and *Thank You* than you’ll hear *What do you want* and *Hurry up*. Rarely will you encounter someone with a *Me first* attitude.
It is difficult to accurately define the emotional sense of unification and esteem that military members and their families share with each other. The community life on a military base is where there is concrete pride in and for the military plus the appreciation and understanding of the sacrifices their members are willing to give. Were it not for the same underlying desire to serve and protect, these selfless individuals and their fabulous families would never have had the unique opportunities to encounter each other and solidify their framework of support and devotion to and for each other.