4 Rules for Living on a Military Base

4 Rules for Living on a Military Base

Just as the United States is a nation of laws, the United States military is governed by a variety of rules, regulations and procedures. Some of them iron-clad, others more or less unspoken, many of those rules are specific to individual branches within the armed forces. Others relate to what is and isn't permissible on the battlefield (i.e. the rules of engagement) in accordance with international law, which includes the Geneva Conventions. 

But beyond the expectations and norms of day-to-day life as an active duty service member in the Air Force, Marines Corps and the other branches, there are also rules for living on a military base. According to figures from the Pentagon and the Military Analysis network, there are between 400 and 500 active military bases throughout the country. Whether it's the Army's Fort Carson in Colorado, Edwards Air Force Base in California or the Aviation Training Center Coast Guard Base in Alabama, all of them have rules in place for service members. These rules apply to military housing, military family housing, applying for government housing, participating in family events, driving around the base, uniform attire, observing the flag during the playing of the National Anthem and many others. Some of these rules may be specific to the base where you're staying, which you'll learn about in orientation, or INDOC, as you may refer to it as a service member in the Navy or the Marine Corps.

But no matter where you wind up living for a few months or years, there are a few general rules for living on a military base that apply everywhere. Here are some of those rules:

1. Never leave home without your military ID

You don't go anywhere without your wallet, right? The same standard should apply for your military ID. In effect, your military ID is your access card; it's what enables you to get around (and out) as you wish, especially for those areas that are exclusive to the people with authorization. And if you live on a gated installation, you may not be able to enter – even if security recognizes you.

2. Observe the speed limit

Because the speed limits on many military bases tend to be on the lower end, it can be easy to drive faster than you're supposed to, particularly if it's in an area with a lot of housing. The base-wide speed limit at a number of installations is 25 miles per hour. Traffic violations can lead to fines, suspensions and revocation actions. And depending on how fast you're driving over the posted limit, you may be required to see a judge to face the charges.

For example, at the McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey, where most surface roads have 25 mph speed limits, driving 20 mph over the limit results in six demerit points and a court appearance. Driving between 16 and 20 mph faster results in a $123 fine and five demerit points.

3. Be mindful of your neighbors' privacy

This is one of those unspoken rules. As noted by Military.com, unlike private housing, shared spaces are the norm when it comes to base housing, whether your neighbors live above you, below, adjacent or they're on all sides. Because of this fact, try to keep the volume down in your living quarters, especially during quiet hours. Plus, since assignments on active duty can require service members to work third shift, your neighbors may be sleeping during the day. 

4. Register with the housing office before starting a business

In a high inflation environment, starting your own home-based business is a great way to make some extra money on the side in your spare time. But before you do so, it's very important to let your base housing office know about it. The military housing office must first give you the go-ahead to start a business. The military base housing office will also let you know what you may have to change in terms of the services you provide in order to comply with the rules of the base. For example, if you want to do something involving animals, like dogs or cats, some bases prohibit breeders.

Regardless of what military base you call home, a rule among all of them is base living costs money. And if you're in a situation where you need cash fast, Omni Financial can help with a military loan, which we provide for active duty service members and military family members. Several of our satellite offices are conveniently located near a number of military bases around the country. Apply there or online.