Because I met my husband after he had retired from the Coast Guard, I’ve never considered myself a military wife. I guess Dick didn’t either since he never bothered registering our marriage with the military. But there are valuable benefits to being a military spouse, so we pedaled across town to Moffett Field to get my first military identification card. In 20 short minutes and after a little playful ribbing from the clerk, it was official.
I proudly showed my newly minted card to the guard at the main gate and we rolled onto the base for a quick tour. Having lived for decades next to Moffett Field, I had only been on base and up close to the imposing Hangar One a few times. Built in the 1930′s to house dirigibles, Hangar One is so massive that folks say clouds form inside. Unfortunately, its shell contains PCBs, asbestos and other harmful substances. Once slated for demolition, they’re tearing off the toxic shell instead while they search for someone to fund the renovation.
Then we stopped in at the commissary to check out the selection and the prices. The commissary system sells groceries at cost with a 5% surcharge to cover operating expenses. The first item I saw was Peet’s coffee: $5.99 for a 12 ounce bag. A 20 oz bag of peeled and cleaned shrimp was $6.79. At those prices, we filled the panniers for $56. When I got home I compared the prices online with Safeway: $85. Wow.
For those military families (both young and old) that struggle to make ends meet, a 35% discount is invaluable. When they closed the commissary at the Presidio ten years ago, it must have been a huge blow to families in San Francisco and Oakland. The commissary at Moffett Field is 40 miles south, and the one at Travis Air Force Base is 60 miles northeast. Too far to be worth the trip.
But the most valuable benefit of being a military spouse is that I’m covered by TRICARE, the military health care program, which means I won’t have to pay $500+ per month for COBRA. I haven’t visited the doctor yet, but I discovered this morning that the co-payment on my allergy drugs went down from $30 to $12. Thank you, Uncle Sam! And thank you, Dick, for your years of service to our country.
What benefits or perks do you get from your job that you value the most?