Posted on May 27, 2015
Sgt David G Duchesneau
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Base living
The days when "If the Marine Corps wanted you to have a family, it would have issued you one" are clearly over.

The 43,300 military personnel and family members who live on the Marines' major West Coast base enjoy the amenities of a prosperous midsize town — five schools, nine health clinics, a golf course, swimming pools and dozens of child care facilities.

There are a new hospital, a movie theater, two florists, four dry cleaners, three "big box" stores, 20 fast-food restaurants, and, because it's a military base, 13 barber shops and a commissary selling groceries for up to 30 percent less than at civilian supermarkets

So, the question is whether the sheltered, subsidized lifestyle on this heavily guarded mega-base, and others like it, has reinforced the separation of the all-volunteer military from the nation it serves?
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SSgt Donnavon Smith
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I grew up a member of the "Marine Corps Children's Auxiliary" lol. My dad was a 20+ year Master Sergeant in the Marines. When I was older I joined the USAF and spent 2 enlistments with them. I did not realize when I separated that what I would be loosing was my entire life up to that point. I could no longer get on Bases. I could not go to any of my old homes, schools, playgrounds, stomping grounds. I lost the place of my first kiss and "ahem..close friendship ;) ". Honestly it was like Losing my country. still to this day it bums me out! I have been out of the AF for 14 years and to this day I would re-enlist in a heartbeat and I have been trying to get a job with the .GOV since then. Getting out was the DUMBEST thing I ever did, I want my home back.
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SSgt Boyd Herrst
SSgt Boyd Herrst
>1 y
@ SSG. Donnavon Smith : s'times
After it sinks in it really hits home..
I was retired on a TDRL from '78 to '80.. I traveled to different bases and open areas I took for granted,
I couldn't go.. but rules are rules.. There were still public areas like exchange and hospital and base theater.. Commisary.. I usually went there in between paydays. Because payday it was packed.. I still kept my haircut to meet regs so it was easy to go to commissary and not get a funny look from a commissary checker. I remembered to not wear
My ol' 'nam field top jacket. In case someone in military was in the commissary. Technically it was still part of a uniform even if no longer issued... so I follow the rules and visits were stress free. I live so far away from Selfridge now and the CG station exchange in Detroit Is so limited I can't even get in there now.. becsuse supplies are so limited.. (actually I don't even know if it's even open anymore, been a while)... when s'body told me about it, I started going.. saved a lot of miles. From going to Selfridge ANGB, if I didn't need Selfridge for commissary I went to the CG station.. I learned when shift change at NCOOM store was and I waited after I bought my first legal limit and went back and bought another legal limit.. (that was before they recorded what you'd bought..)
I went over to commissary and filled my cooler with some nice roasts..
these would take care of the family
And I for a bit.( being a Chef I knew how to adjust the chemistry.. by cooking and then freezing for a short time and then using before freezer burn can set in.. So I get my product home and refrigerated, some froze.. I wait until dusk to unload 2d half of the goods I bought at NCOOM. Fortunately my folks were still on their vacation..
One of my Veteran friends who was a civilian asked when I was going to Selfridge again. . I told him not for awhile, I had enough to last.. I asked him what he needed.. I told him if he'd stayed in, he'd have the same privileges.. Occasionally he'd press me.. and I didn't even have to give him the line .. "if he'd
Stayed....." I just gave him the look.
Occasionally, not often I went to Wright-Pat. I tried to get there early enough before the museum
To go to the NCOOM store.. s'times I just forgot .. the museum was my main visit.. A friend asked why we didn't go, I told him I kind of forgot.. can we go back? Maybe next time.. I just didn't want to be caught in a sitrep.. if I were alone..
I've shared with Vet friends, had a drink or two.. but no outright giving a bottle.. seriously, if one of them had one of those bottles and no Mi. Tax stamp and they were asked, "Where'd you get this?" The last thing I needed.. was not happening! I had a friend, one of my Chef Instructors from the Community College I attended when on my TDRL. I was on a Christmas leave and stopped by the school(there was a dinner they were putting on for some patrons )
I was taking a chance he was there.
This was before cellphones.. (maybe the big lunky ones). I took him a bottle of courvaseir.. I told him he could share it with Chef Dan... then he told me Chef DAN had been in a bad accident and had passed on.. I didn't want chef get in trouble for opening it so I told him to just take it home and drink one for Chef Dan.. and I left ... I tried to not even think about if s'one seen the bottle w/o a Michigan tax stamp.. (chef called me and told me he changed it into a carafe and got rid of the bottle.. in a most careful way..). That was the last I seen of him.. He went up east s'where..
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1LT Medical-Surgical Nurse
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Edited >1 y ago
Sgt David G Duchesneau. I believe in principle because military families confront and can support each other with shared problems . . . the concept of base housing as an ideal might just be a tremendous benefit. That said . . . the devil is in the details . . . and could easily be the path to riches for some contractors at the cost of creating a ghetto for our families. I might also worry that to the extent there may be any isolation . . . whether kids consider all appropriate job and educational choices. Obviously oversight, inspection, and feedback from families may be crucial to avoiding significant problems. Does anyone still offer kids' cotillion? Warmest Regards, Sandy
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Cpl Jeff N.
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I went to Camp Pendleton a couple of years ago when my son was stationed there at 3rd Tracks and had not been there in about 30 years. I could not believe the development and new amenities on base. It was staggering to see. If these are being sustained by the revenues generated at them then I am good with it which I supect is the case as the Marine Corps is too cheap to do it otherwise.

Does it further isolate the military? I don't know. It is clearly a move to make everyone more comfortable and happy. Yes, the days of "if the Marine Corps had wanted you to have a family they would have issued you one" is over. Time will tell if that make for a better, more prepared Marine Corps.

I would argue thought that the base is not very secure. I drove up in a rental car, showed by Florida driver's license and was granted immediate access to the base, no questions asked.
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Sgt David G Duchesneau
Sgt David G Duchesneau
>1 y
Jeff, if Security is an issue, they will definitely have to fix that problem. That base should be secure as if they were in the Arms of Jesus himself.
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Cpl Jeff N.
Cpl Jeff N.
>1 y
Two of the issues at Pendleton are that they have one fof the busiest highways int he US running through it and it sits right on a long stretch of SoCal beaches open to the public (in pany places). They also have state highways running through the base. That is why you can get on it so easily. They do have restricted areas on the base.

My son told me they would land their tracks on the beach and civillians would come up, take pics etc. A very easy base to get on.
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