Life on base is very similar to the life in the civilian world. The Army has a lot more to offer than just training, working, sleeping. In fact, the base itself is more like a small, self-contained city where you can find everything from banks, hospital, recreational spots, restaurants, etc. The Army strives to provide their service men and women a good work and life balance.
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The Dining hall, so called Mess Hall or Chow hall, offers up to four meals a day including a midnight snack. There are also go-to meal options and fast food available for those who are on the go. People who would enjoy cooking at home can buy grocery at the Commissary instead. The Commissary works like a typical grocery store on base including organic and brand-name items with no sales tax. The Base Exchange(BX), on the other hand, is a large shopping mall that offers a variety of goods and services such as electronics, clothings, home appliances, restaurants, nail salons, and hair salons. All the goods at BX are typically 20% less than those off base with no sales tax.
For those who are dedicated to study off duty, every Army post has satellite college campuses and libraries to satisfy your pursuit for knowledge. Some posts have education centers that offers academic skill trainings, testing services, computer labs and other learning materials. Soldiers can also talk to the counselor there to discuss their study plan, career development, tuition assistance, financial aid, etc. For study breaks, soldiers may borrow audiobooks, music CDs, and movies from the library, or check out the digital libraries provided by the Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
Recreation/Entertainment (varied by base)
There’s plenty of options for soldiers to blow off the steam on post through its various recreation facilities. The Recreation Center provides internet cafe, foosball, pingpong tables, video games, snack bars for soldiers to hang out with their buddies after work. Movie theaters and bowling alleys are available for family fun or bonding between your squad. Some post even have youth and adult bowling leagues to make bowling a serious hobby. In warmer weather, skate parks and shooting ranges are perfect perfect spot outside to sharpen your skill while chilling with friends and families. Each post has at least one 18-hole Golf course that’s open at a discounted price for soldiers and their families. There are even driving courses and mini course for you and your kids to practice. Outdoor equipment rentals such as ski or snowboards are available at the Recreational Center for those who enjoys nature. You don’t have to search too far a place because a lot of the Army has a Recreational Camp nearby, which is good for camping, hiking, fishing, or boating and jet skiing. You can even rent a pavilion for a family picnic by the lake, or rent a cabin at the camp to stay overnight. Those are perfect places for you and your family to unplug and unwind. (Here is a guidebook for all the Recreational Camp across all the 50 states for all Armed Services.)
Look no further, click on the Army’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation website to find out more details about recreation and entertainment on post.
The athletic complex outdoor provides everything you need from tennis court, basketball court to baseball and soccer field. Intramural Sports such as boxing, rugby, wrestling, taekwondo can strengthen your bond within your squad. Other work out opportunities at the Fitness Center are solid alternatives. Classes, programs and equipments are provided for every level of fitness for you to keep up with the physical training standard. Some even features a rock climbing wall. The indoor swimming pool has a water park just for kids so you can bring your family for a good time.
When unforeseen situation takes place, every Army base ensures you and your family are taking good care of. Each installation is equipped with Fire Station and Police Station that are ready for operation at any time. In the case that your car breaks down, you can always go to the Automotive Center to fix it at a fraction of the cost. The automotive center provides space, equipment, and instruction to make the process affordable and easy. There will be experienced technical person to guide you through and answer your questions. Besides, car wash stalls and vacuums are available 24/7 for your regular maintenance.
If you’re under the weather physically or mentally, the medical care facilities on base got you covered. The hospital provides care for their patients 24/7, including family care, mental health, physical therapy, etc for no charge. Dental care, health and wellness center, clinics and pharmacy are also on base within reasonable distance to make sure you and your families will resume back to a health state in no time.If you wish to seek a moment of peace, you can go to the Army Chaplain for spiritual guidance regardless of your religious background(including atheists).
If you are living in the Army with your family on post, the army will takes care of your family as well to make sure you can be worry-free at work. A lot of army posts hire military spouses and their family members to work directly on base, so that they can stay close to their loved ones while having a stable source of income.
Education For Children
Most of the army family kids go to a public or private school nearby the post, and in some occasions there are school available on post, especially overseas. Army service members and families can talk to a education liaison officer about school transfers, eligibility, grading system, etc. After school, libraries are available for children to read, watch movies, and participate in book or film discussion programs.
The Child Development Center (CDC), Family Child Care Home (FCC) and Youth Services (YS) programs helps parents to take care of their kids between from infants to 12th grades when their parents are out at work. These programs provide kids with a wide range of activities to help them develop learning and social skills, foster friendships within the community, and encourage personal growth. CDC provides hourly, part-time or full time childcare for kids between 6 weeks to 5 years old so that soldiers can enjoy a night out with their spouse, or stress less when working late at their position.
Sports and Entertainment for Children
Outside of school, there are Youth Sports Teams, Art Centers, playgrounds and parks for your kids to enjoy their spare time with their peers. These places are perfect for your family and other families on base to mingle and support each other during this children-raising process. Other seasonal family activities, such as Fourth of July Celebration, Christmas can guarantee you and your family will have a good time. Overall, the army posts are extremely safe environment for your children to live and grow.