Army Opens Military-Only Resort in Virginia Beach
The Army has opened a resort in Virginia Beach to go along with similar facilities in Orland, Honolulu, South Korea, and Germany.
The United States military is adding Virginia’s oceanfront to such destinations as Hawaii and Germany where servicemembers and their families can get some affordable rest and relaxation. The Armed Forces Recreation Center in Virginia Beach joins other locations in Orlando, Florida, Germany, Hawaii and South Korea that have been serving military families and civilians who work for the U.S. Department of Defense since 1946.
Each year, about 750,000 people visit the resorts, officials said. The resorts are open to active-duty and retired military, current and retired Department of Defense civilians, reservists, delayed entry recruits and family members. Each of the resorts features gourmet restaurants, guest services, pool and fitness centers.
The rationale for a
taxpayer-sponsored vacation resort for government employees in the United States eludes me. I can understand having a place where soldiers serving overseas can get away and be among English speakers, although, frankly, doing that takes away most of the personal benefit of serving abroad. But, surely, there are enough vacation spots in the United States where these people could go already.
Not only is this an expensive boon
at taxpayer expense, but it takes money away from local businesses who might otherwise attract these people. Furthermore, isolating American soldiers serving domestically from contact with the society at large is a bad idea on many fronts.
Gorman explains that, “The reason for operating these places was for rest and recuperation for war-weary soldiers and that really continues to be the focus today.” Yet, these resorts are not limited to war-weary vets. Why are retirees eligible? DoD civilians? Delayed entry recruits who should be incredibly well rested, not having done anything yet?
UPDATE: A commenter reminds me that MWR activities are not taxpayer-funded. From the ArmyMWR site:
Revenues from AFRCs are continually reinvested to maintain and improve the physical plant while providing the greatest possible value for AFRC guests. Providing high-quality, affordable resort-style facilities at the AFRCs is commensurate with the Chief of Staff, Army’s philosophy that soldiers are entitled to the same quality of life as the citizens they are pledged to defend. The Army continues to promote strong family values by providing the AFRCs; a reflection of our strong commitment to improved quality of life. AFRC room rates are affordable and based on rank, pay grade, duty status, room size, and/or room location.
I still remain dubious of the enterprise but at least the objection that the taxpayers are funding luxury vacations for government bureaucrats is obviated.
The communistic approach of subsidizing lower paid employees at the expense of those higher in rank/grade is puzzling but fairly common for MWR activities. Day care centers and similar activities on bases typically operate that way, too.
The idea that “soldiers are entitled to the same quality of life as the citizens they are pledged to defend” sounds great, although it’s rather open ended. Are 19-year-old privates “entitled” to the same quality of life as middle aged CEOs? Or only their high school educated civilian counterparts? And why is a GS-5 civilian employed by the Army as file clerk entitled to cheap recreation while one working for, say, the Department of Homeland security is not?