Originally Posted by Djwhitesr
There are over 200 military campgrounds across the US and the average enlisted person, having served 3 or 4 yrs of active duty, is not eligible to use them. Even our combat veterans are barred from using these campgrounds. Doesn't seem right or fair to me.
There are more than 20 million veterans in the US.
If they were issued veteran ID cards, we could then debate the merits of your request. The first thing addressed would have to be security.
Right now, there is no way for a gate guard to identify a veteran. This wouldn't be a problem for MWR facilities off base, but most are on bases.
Don't forget the bowling alleys, outdoor recreation shops, DIY car care centers, hobby shops and all the other MWR facilities. With your logic, why stop at campgrounds?
I think the MWR facilities are designed to serve current service members. Some are under used, for sure. Others are maxed out. (NAS Key West CG on Sigsbee Island in winter for one)
Retirees and DoD civilians (and some other groups) are granted use. Allowing veterans access just might overwhelm the system.
There would also have to be a way to give active service members first shot at a facility. Their R & R time is limited, and the facilities should be available for them when they have free time.
We can't thank our Vets enough, that's for sure. I just don't know if this is feasible.
If this were ever proposed, I'm sure the Pentagon would grumble and it wouldn't go far.
The big question would be cost. Right now, profits from the AAFES - PX/BX system are spent on the MWR system. I'm not sure how much of the MWR budget comes from military spending. I have always heard from DoD civilians that the AAFES money totally runs the MWR system.
So now, maybe Vets should have PX/BX privileges? More money into the pie can be more money spent on MWR? Don't think it will happen. Don't think it will work without MAJOR changes.
Maybe this is something you can propose to your local VFW or American Legion? The changes you are talking about would have to come from above.
Local commanders are granted authority to decide who has access to CGs. I have seen stories about local decisions that open military CGs to a lot of people. Locally, it can be done.
As an aside, I was at NAS Key West last month and was saddened to see an old Vet being turned away at the front gate (pass and ID center at front gate). He was with his spouse. He said he was in the Navy and stationed there many years ago. He just wanted to look around. He was told he couldn't enter without a sponsor and he could sign up for some visitors program offered every so often. Pretty sad what security has dictated.
Several years ago (pre-911) I drove onto Norfolk and parked right next to the USS Eisenhower without even blinking an eye at a gate guard. The base was wide open.
I would have signed the old guy and his wife in to Key West and taken them around with us, but I had my own problems. My DW had let her dependent ID card expire and the gate guard at Sigsbee confiscated it. lol
Getting a military ID card today is an extended process. It can take an hour or more if the paper work doesn't match up with the computer. That ID card is a ticket onto just about any military base in the US system.
The Veteran idea is not such a bad thing but it would be a security nightmare.