Peace Time: January 20, 2004

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The U.S. Air Force has changed it's housing policy and now basically encourages everyone, except first term enlisted airmen, to live off base. Before that, the air force built dormitories for all unmarried personnel in ranks E-1 to E-5. By providing more money for off-base housing, everyone who is at least E-4 and not on their first enlistment can usually afford to live off base. The troops prefer to live off base, especially since most of them are working at jobs virtually identical to civilian ones. The only differences are the uniforms that must be worn and saluting and other courtesies that must be shown officers. There is still some marching in formations, but basically, you show up for work in the morning and go home at night. There are some jobs that require a lot of travel overseas, often for months at a time. For that reason, many unmarried enlisted troops prefer to live on base. This makes it easier when you are sent overseas. When you are off base, you have to make arrangements with your landlord and store your household goods and other stuff when you are overseas. This can be a major problem if you are sent off on short notice (as happened to many air force units for the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.) However, the air force considers allowing more people to live off base to be a morale issue, and these kinds of living arrangements are popular with the majority for airmen. 

 


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