Thursday, September 8, 2011

Living the Military Life


It’s true.

At six in the morning you hear a recording of trumpets playing reveille every day during the week.

This is just one of the many things you encounter if you live on a military base.

I know many of my readers are not military so I decided to do a post on what it’s like living on a military base.

As I mentioned before, at six in the morning the trumpets go off. You’ll want to kill the trumpets. Or maybe I just want to kill the trumpets.

If the trumpets don’t wake you up, the jets will. Sometimes they buzz your entire house to the point where you think “earthquake?” Or, you start to panic that it’s going to crash right into your home. I thought this once while in Wyoming and braced myself against the wall.

Not that standing against the wall would help.

At the grocery store (or commissary, as it’s referred to on the base) your items are bagged and wheeled out to your car for you.

You need to tip the baggers though. Otherwise they get cranky.

It’s sort of awkward standing there as someone else puts your groceries into your trunk. I always want to help. I tried once and got my hand slapped. So I’m assuming I’m not supposed to help.

Before you do most things on the base, you’ll need to show your ID card. If you don’t do this, people automatically assume you’re a terrorist.

I’m kidding.

(And your ID picture is rarely attractive. It’s sort of like your driver’s license photo. Unless you actually look nice in yours, in which case, I hate you.)

But really, they stare at you until you show it. You can’t buy a thing without flashing your card. It especially stinks when they do random ID checks when you walk into a store and said ID is at the very bottom of your purse. Then you’re digging through all your receipts and coupons and the person sighs and shifts their weight from one leg to the other all dramatic like.

There’s a store called a BX (base exchange) and it’s like a mini (MINI) Target. Everything is tax free.

This is just a small snippet of what military living is like. I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have.

But for now, I better make sure I have my ID ready to go.


  1. I get a LOT of calls from our military customers who forget their insurance cards and I need to hurry and fax them over to their base... So I know how strict they can be.

    I do love the idea of tax free shopping though!!

  2. I miss military life ... sometimes. :) My ID picture was right over this weird holographic seal, and so it made one of my eyes look really big. Like Popeye. It was crazy.

    When we were stationed at Sheppard AFB, they'd play something (was it Reveille? Taps? The National Anthem? I don't remember) in the afternoon and all the cars would have to stop. The first day I was there I had my windows up and the music blasting and was all, "Why is everybody pulling over?"

    I remember standing outside talking to my neighbor over the chain-link fence and having to just stop talking whenever a jet went over, because you absolutely cannot be heard over that level of noise. When we moved off base, the lack of jet noise was SO weird. It just felt ... wrong.

    Oh, and let's not forget the lovely Shoppette! :)

  3. I live near our small town's airport. it is kind of weird that our little town has an airport, but its because it is a central location for air ambulance in this cottage country area, but also a military base is about an hour away. Sometimes their helicopters land here - to refuel perhaps??

    You can hear the engines firing up and the "whomp-whomp-whomp" of the rotary blades. 3 of them took off and flew over our houses once.....I looked at my neighbour as we were outside with our kids: "are we at war? should we get the kids inside?" It's a weird thing to see one of those bearing down on you. I will leave the tales of very noisy midnight mock air battles/search and rescue drills for another time.

  4. I like that the groceries get wheeled out for you automatically; they don't ask if you need help out, they just do it. Interesting you have to tip them though. My husband grew up military, never lived on a base, but he does remember somewhat fondly dealing with shopping on base, etc. thanks for sharing!


  5. Ahhhhh jet noise. Hubbs lived in Virginia Beach for years and I lived in the Hampton Roads area for 18 years. The master jet base is in Virginia Beach. (Oceana) The sound of jet noise brings me back home. I get all nostalgic thinking about it. Sure, it is obnoxious and shakes the house and the pilots fly as low as they can to be little turds, but it's the sound of freedom, baby! Thanks for bringing me back...and it was always fun to snag those awesome deals at the "mini Target" and my ID picture was very unattractive. And it was always at the bottom of my purse.

  6. I do not miss the trumpets or the loud planes.

    But, yes, my ID pictures have always sucked. Black and white does not flatter me.

  7. I'd help you kill the trumpets. lol I'm an early riser but only on my terms. :)

  8. Tax free is nice....trumpets at 6:00 am? Not so much.

    Your life sounds like the series "Army Wives". Maybe you could get a part on the show!

  9. I never lived on base but my ID was AWFUL! Now that my ex is no longer in the military I miss the commissary and the BX.

  10. I live right next to Ft. Jackson and take the kids out to see the jets and choppers fly over. I have plenty of warning before they fly over b.c of all the noise it makes in my house! Pretty cool for my son though!

  11. Oh boy, I don't know if I could do it. Mainly because I lived in an apartment right next to where the marching band would practice in the morning. Loud music waking me up is not my cup of tea.
    I do like the grocery thing though. I could get used to that :)

  12. I think the jets would scare the heck out of me and I'm not sure I would get use to that one! I also think the ID thing would get me for the same reason you talk about, there are always a million things in my purse hunting would be sort of embarassing! Thanks for a peek into what it is like! I always love to visit your site!

  13. Oof, 6 am is rough! I've nver been a part of a military family but I have a friend whose husband is stationed in Japan. I hear all about the good and bad of living on base on FB all the time.

  14. thanks for stopping by for my SITS feature today. i appreciate it.


  15. i really miss the tax free of military life.

  16. I'd love the jets! But the trumpets? Not so much.

  17. It's always been easier for us to live off base, but I'm sure it's nice having everything right there. Except the trumpets and the jets... I wouldn't be a fan either.

  18. My dad used to be in the Navy so I've visited some bases, but never lived on one. I would totally kill the trumpets!! LoL

    I remember having to wait forever at the office to get the ID card when I was younger.

  19. Our trumpets go off at 7, not 6. Are we just lucky here? lol. Our BX is SUPER small here (though they are currently remodeling) so its nowhere near a mini Target. It's depressing, lol.

  20. When I was a military wife, everything I did, such as making a doctor's appointment, required me to recite my husband's social security no. His SSN was my identity. To this day, I have it ready on the tip of my tongue, if needed, but civilian life appreciates my own SSN. :-)


  21. What struck me when I was first married is how everyone always wants your husbands SSN. For everything. And they don't want YOURS. They don't care about yours.

  22. I miss the tax free BX shopping!
    *And we always told the baggers "no thank you" and brought out our own groceries -- I just think that's awkward... of course, you STILL have to tip them! :)

  23. I think our rev. is at 7am, the anthem is at 4:30pm, and "Taps" aka "The Nigh-Night YOU BETTER GET INTO BED NOW" song is at 10pm. I remember shortly after getting married, I was cruising around on a base road, my windows rolled down, and my music way up. All kinds of cars were pulled over and I couldn't figure out why. This random guy runs into the middle of the road to stop me, comes up to my window and starts yelling at me about not pulling over for the anthem. Boy, did I learn! I love this post, even though I live it everyday. Thanks for sharing!

  24. HAHAHA! My mom always complains about her ID when we go on base. She has a very round face and it takes up THE ENTIRE picture square...she even tried to get them to take another picture for her - no dice.


  25. Yep.

    And you see people in uniform everywhere. So seeing civilians is almost weird. And they need haircuts!!!

    If you think the planes are bad (and they are - I'm prior A.F. myself), you should hear the artillery!!! O.M.G.!!!! Or be anywhere near the ranges!

  26. Trumpets at 6:00am? Really? Seriously? ;P

  27. Trumpets? TRUMPETS???? See, that right there is why I could never be part of the military. Things like that would make me cranky. Every. Day.

    We live next to our town's airport, which while not big, is busier than you'd think. We're also not far from a navy base (In Indiana. WTF?)So we get our share of helicopters and what not...

    Those suckers are looouuuudddd.

  28. I would surely have issues with the ID thing. Unless I wore it on a lanyard ALL the time. It would no doubt end up somewhere else when I needed it.

    Oh, and I am LOLing over here about your post regarding the thong! Now that is really, AIRING some laundry. Hahaha. Very funny stuff, thank you for keeping it real and just being you! I am so inspired to get my Hubby out the door on a real date, not a trip to Walmart for groceries which has become our datenight, with baby!

  29. I would annoy the HELL out of everybody looking for my ID. As it is I've forgotten to have any form of payment on hand a half dozen times after loading up a cart at the grocery store. And yeah, I hate me too sometimes. But if I were awakened at 6 every morning by trumpets? It would get ugly. I mean I know I'd deal, but I would not be a happy breakfast companion.

  30. Oo, or how about the fact that your hear bomber engines ALL the time. I also realized that I am no longer surprised or shocked when I see huge guns randomly walking around.

    The dog next door sings to TAPS every night. It's awesome. We don't have trumpets at 6am thank god, but I'm pretty sure I'd get used to is as well. :)


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