Morale: The Officers Clubs Died For Our Sins

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February 23, 2010:  Officers and NCOs clubs have disappeared from most American military bases. They went away for the same reason over half the bars, saloons and pubs in the United States have disappeared in the last few decades; changing lifestyles. People have bigger homes (to entertain in), more married troops, more wives work (and everyone works longer hours), gyms are more heavily used, people drink less, drunk driving is more severely punished, and there's just not sufficient time or inclination to hang out in a bar anymore. All these changes took place in the military as well. The process was helped along by the government often forcing the clubs to be self-supporting (by withdrawing subsidies, because family oriented activities were demanding more money.) Many of the club buildings were turned into centers for family oriented activities.

On many bases, new bars opened, often in old club facilities. But the new bars were for everyone, and some were particularly family friendly. Some have hours when only officers can get in, but the trend is towards bars open to all ranks, and civilians. This in itself is not unusual, as small bases, in rural areas, often have no officers or NCO clubs, and only one or two off-base civilian bars. Everyone went to these places, and everyone was just fine. But the change is actually the result of many societal changes in the past few decades. Fans of tradition will mourn the passing of segregated (by rank) clubs, as they have many other military traditions that have disappeared in the past. But most of the troops like the changes just fine, because it was the evolving attitudes among officers and troops that caused the changes.

 

 


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