Morale: Long Term Parking


July 18, 2009: Since 2003, the U.S. armed forces, mostly the army, has been sending over a 150,000 troops overseas each year. That has created a problem for many troops; where to store their car while they're away. U.S. troops are well paid, especially when there is a war on. Combat pay, enlistment or skill bonuses, plus no taxes on money earned in the combat zone, plus not much to spend the money on while overseas (no sex or booze allowed), means more troops are buying automobiles and motorcycles.

But it's an old problem, that really got critical during the first Gulf War, when half a million American troops ended up in Persian Gulf countries. What had been a minor, but growing, problem, was suddenly a big one. So in 1997, the Department of Defense began paying for storage of vehicles if you were shipped to somewhere that you could not take your car with you. Seven years ago, that was standardized with the military contracting for large amounts of indoor parking space around major military bases.

 The military pays about $210 a month for each car stored. The majority of troops own vehicles, and the storage benefit makes for one less thing to deal with before shipping out. Many unmarried troops live off the base, and they have to put household goods into storage, and take care of mail change-of-address and things like updating the will. Before the military offered free storage, many troops just sold the car, rather than deal with the hassle of finding a place to store it.



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