Is it possible to visit a military installation if you are not a retiree, active duty, or disabled veteran, if you are without a sponsor?

Tenacious E

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We will be visiting Boston this summer. I was in the USAF but separated as a captain after 4 years. My wife and I lived on a base in the Boston metro and we would like to visit for nostalgic reasons, and I wouldn't mind having my teenaged son have a look at it to see if it would interest him. After calling the base and the local VA, it would seem this is not possible unless I am a retiree or disabled veteran, unless I have a sponsor there. It has been 20 years since I separated so everyone I would know is long gone. If we are SOL I totally get it, but it would seem after serving 4 years there it might be possible. Thoughts? Tagging @SSG T and @alaskanseminole they seem like they might know the ropes... TIA!
 
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SSG T

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I can't speak across the board, but normally, installations have Visitor Centers at/near the Main Gate and, generally, allow civilians to enter after proper paperwork and questioning.

I'll be honest, I don't know all of the requirements, I've never been without a dependent, Active or Retired ID.
 
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Hoosierhawkeye

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Question and forgive my ignorance but if you where honorably discharged doesn't that make you retired military?
Or do you have to spend a certain number of years in the military to be considered retired?
 
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Tenacious E

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I can't speak across the board, but normally, installations have Visitor Centers at/near the Main Gate and, generally, allow civilians to enter after proper paperwork and questioning.

I'll be honest, I don't know all of the requirements, I've never been without a dependent, Active or Retired ID.
When I was there the base was so lax, you could just take the bus onto base and they didn't even check IDs. The vast majority of people on base were civilians. Yet, that was pre-9/11. I was hoping I could use my DD214 to some effect in getting an inactive military ID which would let me on, but that doesn't seem to be in the cards...
 
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SSG T

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Question and forgive my ignorance but if you where honorably discharged doesn't that make you retired military?
Or do you have to spend a certain number of years in the military to be considered retired?

Retired is either 20 years Active Federal Service or 20 years in ARNG/USAR.
 
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Tenacious E

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Question and forgive my ignorance but if you where honorably discharged doesn't that make you retired military?
Or do you have to spend a certain number of years in the military to be considered retired?
That makes me a veteran, not a retiree. I can understand them not wanting all veterans with access so as to not clog up the Commissary/BX, gym, etc. We just wanted to drive around the base for half an hour (it's not an operational base), look at where we lived, etc.
 

SSG T

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That makes me a veteran, not a retiree. I can understand them not wanting all veterans with access so as to clog up the Commissary/BX, gym, etc. We just wanted to drive around the base for half an hour (it's not an operational base), look at where we lived, etc.

If you qualify for Veteran's benefits, you should be able to get an ID. One of the benefits is shopping at the PX/Commissary.
 

Hoosierhawkeye

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Retired is either 20 years Active Federal Service or 20 years in ARNG/USAR.

Got it, thanks!

Did not know that.

I am guessing that there is maybe benefits like a pension that come along with that retired label?
 

Tenacious E

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If you qualify for Veteran's benefits, you should be able to get an ID. One of the benefits is shopping at the PX/Commissary.
I qualified to have a VA loan when we bought our first house. But I did not serve during wartime. Not sure if I qualify to get some kind of ID.
 

Tenacious E

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If you qualify for Veteran's benefits, you should be able to get an ID. One of the benefits is shopping at the PX/Commissary.
This is what it states you need to qualify to shop at the BX (I guess PX in the Army) or Commissary:
  • Have a service-connected disability rating and were honorably discharged, or
  • Are retired from military service, or
  • Are a former prisoner of war, or
  • Are a member of the Reserves, or
  • Have received a Purple Heart or the Medal of Honor
Alas, I am none of these. I flew a desk for 4 years during peace time, and separated 20+ years ago so I am no longer in the inactive reserves.
 
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SSG T

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Got it, thanks!

Did not know that.

I am guessing that there is maybe benefits like a pension that come along with that retired label?

Yeah. With AC retirement, you draw a % of your base pay immediately upon retirement. It starts at 50% and goes up by 2.5% each year of AFS.

ARNG is based on points accrued each year. Then retirement pay is determined based on a years/points/rank calculation. However, ARNG retirement isn't drawn until age 59.
 

B1GDeal

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That makes me a veteran, not a retiree. I can understand them not wanting all veterans with access so as to not clog up the Commissary/BX, gym, etc. We just wanted to drive around the base for half an hour (it's not an operational base), look at where we lived, etc.
Ive been on many bases by just visiting the visitors office and filling out the forms necessary. You cannot get inside the commissary or exchange u less you have a sponsor but can access the base in my experience.
 

Tenacious E

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OP, get the ID card. You have every right to get on post of any base. Anyone that has served deserves that right.
For some reason Google is failing me, or I am too stupid to ask it the right questions. Based on my criteria above, what kind of ID card would I get and where would I get it?
 

Jimmy McGill

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For some reason Google is failing me, or I am too stupid to ask it the right questions. Based on my criteria above, what kind of ID card would I get and where would I get it?

I was about to say go to your VA hospital, but I know where live (generally). If you ever have ringing in the ears, Tinnitus, you can get an automatic 10% disability rating if you think it was from service.
 

red/green hawk

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For some reason Google is failing me, or I am too stupid to ask it the right questions. Based on my criteria above, what kind of ID card would I get and where would I get it?
The VA...but I don't think that gets you onto any base you want to go on. That is typically reserved for retired and 100% disabled vets.
 

SSG T

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I was about to say go to your VA hospital, but I know where live (generally). If you ever have ringing in the ears, Tinnitus, you can get an automatic 10% disability rating if you think it was from service.

That's one of the many things they rated me for. After they determined I had about half my hearing, they then figured out part of the reason I can't hear is the constant buzzing.
 
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binsfeldcyhawk2

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I can't speak across the board, but normally, installations have Visitor Centers at/near the Main Gate and, generally, allow civilians to enter after proper paperwork and questioning.

I'll be honest, I don't know all of the requirements, I've never been without a dependent, Active or Retired ID.
I know they need a sponsor on Eglin. Most AFB’s do..
 

Jimmy McGill

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That's one of the many things they rated me for. After they determined I had about half my hearing, they then figured out part of the reason I can't hear is the constant buzzing.

There are various reasons for it. Being in Baghdad airport with C-5, C-17, blackhawks, etc, I lost some hearing
 
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SSG T

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There are various reasons for it. Being in Baghdad airport with C-5, C-17, blackhawks, etc, I lost some hearing

Mine was spending most of my career around Bradleys, M1s and howitzers. Go to enough gunnery and Qual tables, especially before hearing protection was a requirement, and the hearing goes away. But hey, I have the buzzing to keep me company.
 
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Jimmy McGill

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Mine was spending most of my career around Bradleys, M1s and howitzers. Go to enough gunnery and Qual tables, especially before hearing protection was a requirement, and the hearing goes away. But hey, I have the buzzing to keep me company.

Neither one of us is different. Both did our duty. I knew what I was getting into, as did you

Just, VA needs to take care of us
 
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Jimmy McGill

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I should point out to both male and females on here. It is not fun to lose hearing, and it typically causes conflict due to communication. Even if it is minimal. No sense in starting an argument.
 
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B1GDeal

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The VA...but I don't think that gets you onto any base you want to go on. That is typically reserved for retired and 100% disabled vets.
VA card is only valid there… and might get you a discount at some stores. You’d need to visit a DOD installation to get a retired ID. This would get you on post/base but also inside the grocery or PX.
 

Moral

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I was about to say go to your VA hospital, but I know where live (generally). If you ever have ringing in the ears, Tinnitus, you can get an automatic 10% disability rating if you think it was from service.

I should look into this. I have 24/7/365 tinnitus.
 

red/green hawk

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VA card is only valid there… and might get you a discount at some stores. You’d need to visit a DOD installation to get a retired ID. This would get you on post/base but also inside the grocery or PX.
So the VA rates your disability and then the base would issue the ID?
 

B1GDeal

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So the VA rates your disability and then the base would issue the ID?
VA is a whole separate thing. Contact VA comp and Pen to ask for an evaluation for any conditions you might have and they will go through that. You could get rated and the levels and such vary. The DOD ID card is for active duty and those retired.
 

Jimmy McGill

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So the VA rates your disability and then the base would issue the ID?

You don't necessarily need a rating. It is a biatch of process. Makes a lot of vets scared. If you get a disability claim, you are good to go. I refused to go for years because I told myself I didn't lose a limb. Stubborn stupid person I was. Now, I push people to go.
 

KuwaitHawk

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Are you talking Hanscom AFB? Is that still an active AFB? If it isn’t active, you may be able to drive on without issue.
 

Moral

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Actually, minimal paperwork. More the hassle of going to get checked out,

I wonder how that goes because I don’t think you can test for tinnitus. I was certainly in a loud job and had to wear double hearing protection at times. I have been around planes so loud that they blur you vision. Not sure how else to explain it, but that loud. Now because of that I can’t hear or understand people if water is running.
 

Jimmy McGill

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I wonder how that goes because I don’t think you can test for tinnitus. I was certainly in a loud job and had to wear double hearing protection at times. I have been around planes so loud that they blur you vision. Not sure how else to explain it, but that loud. Now because of that I can’t hear or understand people if water is running.

There really is no test for it. If you tell them your ears are ringing, you will get it
 
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