I never wanted to live in on-base housing. I always said I wouldn’t do it. Our family would always rent a house off-post.
My reasons for not wanting to live there were simple. I believed that everyone needs a transition between work and home and a daily commute provides that. I believed that if we lived on base, my husband would always feel like he’s being watched by other sailors. I thought that by living off post we would be more involved in our city and become close friends with our civilian neighbors.
I was wrong.
Two years ago, we had a quick PCS (less than 2 weeks) to get from California to Mississippi. We moved during the winter break, so that our daughter could start at her new school on the first day of the second semester. This PCS was further complicated when my husband told me that he would be leaving for a 6-month deployment less than 10 days after our household goods were delivered.
There wasn’t time to look for a rental home. There wasn’t time to compare school districts. There wasn’t time to review local crime data.
There simply wasn’t time.
So out of necessity, we decided to live on base.
It was one of the best decisions that I ever made.
3 Reasons Why I Love Living on Base
The convenience of living on base and having everything I need nearby was a lifesaver during deployment.
Besides my daughter’s elementary school and our public library, everything else is found on post. I enrolled my youngest at the on-post Child Development Center, which is located less than 2 miles from my house, and it was a perfect fit for her. She adored her caregivers and made friends quickly.
I feel blessed that there’s a fitness center with a pool, an NEX, commissary, gas station, post office, movie theater, chapel, youth center and 3-mile loop for biking or walking at my current duty station.
Did I mention that I can run to the commissary and be back to my house in less than 17 minutes?
I spend less time in my car and less money on gas because I live on base.
On the first day in our new neighborhood, a neighbor delivered homemade muffins, coffee and orange juice. Children were stopping by to introduce themselves and invite my kids to play with them. Military spouses were giving me their phone numbers and telling me “if you need anything, just text me.”
This tight-knit community is what surprised me the most about living on base. I felt welcomed. I felt included. I felt like this was where I was meant to be living.
And during those tough days, like when I woke up with the stomach flu on Mother’s Day, my community took care of me and my children.
When my car’s oil change took longer than expected, my community picked up my daughter at the bus stop.
When my daughters grew out of their toddler dress-up clothes, we gave them to a princess-loving 4-year-old who lives around the corner.
When I made a huge pot of soup that my children refused to eat, I shared it with a family of 6 down the street.
That’s community. I wouldn’t have survived through 2 deployments without it.
Peace of Mind
I feel safe and my children feel safe on base. I feel like my house is safe, even when I’m not there.
During the summers I take my children to visit their grandparents for 6 to 8 weeks. We spend that time catching up with their relatives and enjoying small town life. I’m 3 states away from my house, but I’m not worried.
My peace of mind is worth it to live on base.
In my opinion, living in base housing is like living in a gated community without paying the prices that come with a gated community.
I’m loving my on-base neighborhood so much that I don’t think I’ll ever live off-post again.