Living on a Military Installation

Five Things You Need to Know

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Are you a new military spouse getting ready for your first time living on a military base? The rules and regulations that affect your new daily life can be daunting. Life in the military neighborhood is going to be a bit different than in civilian suburbia. However, by doing a little research and preparing yourself and your family for life on post, you’ll be able to make a smooth (and relatively painless) transition from your old life to your new one.


Cell Phones

While adhering to a “hands-free” policy while driving and using your cell phone is always a good idea, the Department of Defense has an especially strict policy on the matter. Every driver on a military installation is subject to the hands-free regulation, and driving distracted can have consequences that range from a ticket for a first offense to suspension of your on-post driving privileges for multiple citations. The safest thing, of course, is to make your calls when you aren’t driving at all. But if you absolutely must talk on the phone when you’re moving behind the wheel, the safest thing is to keep those cell phone conversations hands-free!


Saving Money on Household Needs

Living on or near a military post has its advantages, one of which is having easy access to the Commissary and BX (base exchange)/PX (post exchange). These military-owned shopping centers offer food, clothing, household items, and more exclusively to military members and their dependents.

While many of these facilities offer substantial discounts on certain items, and they’re extremely convenient, they’re not always the best deal on every item. It’s a good idea to shop around after moving to a new base to make sure that you’re making the most of your household budget.


Drills, Training, and Other Occurrences

The most important thing to remember about living on a military base is that you live on a military base.

Sounds simple, but a lot of people underestimate the training, PT (physical training) drills, flight maneuvers, and a plethora of other random sudden noises that will become the soundtrack to your on-post life. For parents of small children, this can be particularly challenging. (Such as when a platoon of soldiers singing cadence wake up your toddler at 0500 hours (the time you formerly referred to as “5:00am”). Take a deep breath and relax. By preparing yourself and your family, you’ll learn to adapt your schedule so you won’t be caught off guard by unexpected noises.


Home Care

Keep in mind that your on-base housing belongs to the government and you’ll need to leave it in good condition when it comes time to move to your next duty station. While many military housing units are privatized (meaning that the government leases them from civilians), you’re still connected to your servicemember and represent the U.S. Armed Services. If you don’t properly maintain the facilities, you may find yourself dealing with delays in out processing, or other consequences for your servicemember.


Children on Post

Another seemingly commonsensical issue that seems to surprise people: you live on a military post and your children need to behave accordingly.

Some military installations even have curfew for minors. Before you arrive, spend some time researching your new home to make sure that you and your family understand of the rules. That way, you can put together a plan that will keep you within the rules without throwing the entire family schedule off kilter. Each branch of the military will have resources to help you understand all of the available childcare and educational options