10 Great Military Base Perks

Living on a military base affords service members and their families many great benefits.  Here are some of the great perks from living on a military base.

Shopping on Military Bases

Military bases often have competitive prices compared to off base as well as being conveniently located on base. While stationed OCONUS this can be a real treat as the cost of living can greatly affect prices.  There are also products that you are used to having that may not be found in OCONUS areas, except on base. This ranges from books in English, beauty and food items as well.  In OCONUS areas local taxes are often much higher and therefore policies about foreign guests and their purchases on base may be limited or taxed by local customs offices. Retirees, veterans that live in overseas areas may have the right to shop on base but have to pay local tax rates to local customs offices as well. Service members, dependents and government employees in OCONUS areas may use a value added tax form (VAT) for large purchases off base so that they are exempt from local taxes of that country. When stationed OCONUS the base’s customs office can provide in depth details about VAT usage.

Family Fun on Military Bases

Photo by Lance Cpl. Eric Quintanilla
Photo by Lance Cpl. Eric Quintanilla

Military bases provide special events for all holidays and heritages year round to make service members feel close to home and traditions.  Examples of some events are the lighting of giant Christmas Tree, special flower sales for Valentine’s Day, 4th of July fireworks with BBQ and cultural events.

Education on Military Bases

Education on bases are for those who are ID card holders because of service, dependent family members and government civilian workers.  They range from babies to adults as follows:

  • Child Care for babies to kindergarten
  • After School Programs for grade and middle school ages
  • Department of Defense schools for grade, middle and high school in OCONUS areas and sometimes in CONNUS areas.
  • College Education centers that accept the GI Bill and tuition assistance programs for dependents.

Family Support Services on Military Bases

Family support on bases is incredible and range far and wide to provide care for service members and dependents, as well as for government employee.  In general the important services are:

  • Religious services of varying beliefs and counseling.
  • Pre-school and after –school age care.
  • Teen centers that offer help with school work, youth trips during school vacations and other activities.
  • Marriage counseling and volunteer programs.
  • Single service member programs.
  • Family support groups for spouses.
  • Family entertainment centers and dining in base clubs.
  • Emergency relief loans for families in need.
  • Child care services from other approved and licensed military family members on base.

Medical and Dental Facilities on Military Bases

Almost all bases have their own medical and dental care clinics for service members and approved dependents. Government employees, retirees, and veterans can be provided services however members and dependents have priority. The clinic’s capacity, staff and equipment can also affect the extent of services to all eligible specifically by base.

To be eligible for dental and medical care a person would need to be enrolled in the military’s Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System (DEERS) program.  Normally when you get a military ID card your data will be input in DEERS if you are eligible for these services.  Even in the event of marital separation or divorce dependent children retain the right to such services until they graduate from high school or college.  Handicapped children are covered longer without the requirement to complete high school or college.  In the matter of divorce the service member can continue to pay the monthly rate for these services for their children, their former spouse as well if they agree to.

Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Joseph Ebalo
Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Joseph Ebalo

Travel and Recreation Activities on Military Bases

Outdoor recreation centers on bases rent a wide variety of sporting equipment and have many sport and fitness centers and programs to offer. Some equipment you might rent are:

  • Fishing boats
  • Paddle boats
  • Canoes
  • Fishing poles and courses
  • Skis, snowboards and accessory equipment
  • Hunting equipment and courses
  • Seasonal trips places of interest in local areas or ski resorts

Fitness centers offer equipment for weight lifting, racquetball, basketball, tennis, sauna and often swimming pools. These services are usually free of charge for ID card holders, a great plus compared to the costs off base for private fitness centers.

School Age Support Services on Military Bases

School age services vary by base and military population. Some OCNUS bases do not authorize family members because they lack family, school age and other support services.  In OCONUS all bases offer

Photo by Spc. Eric Liesse
Photo by Spc. Eric Liessethese services.

Golf, Arts/Crafts, Bowling, Play/Film Theaters on Military Bases

Though military bases have recently opened their golf clubs to the public they are still affordable and well taken care of. Priority tee times, days and events are still given to ID card holders, as well as special prices.

Arts and crafts centers offer programs for all ages and men and women. Some programs offered may be:

  • Sewing
  • Quilting
  • knitting
  • Wreath making
  • Wood shops
  • Picture and award framing
  • Plaque, trophy, name and other engraving services,
  • Photography
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