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Monday, November 12, 2007

The Old Soldiers' Home

Sheridan Building, Where I Live

Soldiers' Home Founder, General Winfield Scott

Sherman Building

Comrades in Arms:

In response to a request from an individual on the Internet, here is some information about the Old Soldiers' Home in Washington, D.C.

It used to be called the United States Soldiers' and Airmen's Home, but is now called the Armed Forces Retirement Home-Washington.

The Naval Home in Gulfport, Mississippi, known as the Armed Forces Retirement Home-Gulfport, was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, and all of their residents were moved to the Soldiers' Home in Washington, D.C.

I don't understand why these bureaucrats include the unnecessary "Washington" or "Gulfport" in the "Armed Forces Retirement Home" name.

Do they really think folks will be that confused?

The Soldiers' Home is supported by a small automatic monthly deduction from each soldier's pay, plus any fines and forfeitures resulting from military punishment.

Life here used to be a LOT better!

Unfortunately, administrative efforts to lower expenses have drastically lowered the quality of life and the level of medical care.

Further, the Soldiers' Home is located in a very dangerous neighborhood.

A major problem with life in Washington, D.C. is racial, but no one dares talk about that, and the administration here at the Soldiers' Home would never approve of me writing about it.

Therefore, our racial issues continue to fester and worsen, as you can't fix something if you won't admit it exists.

They are currently rebuilding the Naval Home in Gulfport, Mississippi, and I have signed up to transfer down there.

The Naval Home is scheduled to reopen in July 2010.

All enlisted rank military retirees and disabled combat veterans are entitled to live in either of the Armed Forces Retirement Homes, regardless of which service they were in.

Commissioned and warrant officers also can live here, provided at least half, or ten (10) years, of their service was in the enlisted ranks.

As for me, I am well off.

My furnished private room, with toilet and shower, is quite comfortable.

I have a refrigerator and microwave for fixing meals.

I have a large, wide screen, high definition television, which is also my desktop computer monitor, and I can relax in my upholstered rocker recliner.

We get good meals in our mess hall, with all we want to eat.

We have a small Post Exchange, a post office, bowling alley, gymnasium, theatre, library, computer center, automotive hobby shop, woodworking shop, ceramics shop, amateur radio club (FCC call sign: AF3RH), canteens, golf course, fishing ponds, and a bar.

The bar is actually named the Scott Lounge, but everybody calls it the "Snake Pit".

We do have a medical clinic, dentist, and optometrist, but they are understaffed, ill equipped, and utterly overwhelmed.

Our pharmacy works pretty efficiently, as our drugs are issued by Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

We used to have our own hospital here on the grounds, but it was closed down to save costs.

We also have our own National Military Cemetery, which is older than Arlington National Cemetery, and is administered by them.

A sad thing that has happened is the loss of our mortuary and mortician.

Now, when someone dies, we don't get to say goodbye or even know what happens to them, as bodies are sent to local contractors.

Remember, this is a BAD (i.e., very substandard) neighborhood!

Thus, bodies of our deceased residents have actually been lost.

On my amateur radio, I listen to the ambulances constantly going in and out of the Soldiers' Home, hauling away the dead and those who are about to die.

Those who can still walk or have any resources are looking for ways to leave this place.

But, it's not all bad.

The Soldiers' Home is a beautiful place, very historic, with a nice scenic overlook of the Capitol dome and the Washington Monument, although that view will soon be blocked.

Four (04) United States Presidents have used this place as their Summer residence.

Abraham Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation here, and his boys would climb in our trees, and reputedly carved their initials.

There were a couple of assassination attempts while President Lincoln was staying here, and his wife was hospitalized here, after being thrown from her carriage.

On warm sunny days, it's really neat listening to our carillon in the clock tower playing military service melodies.

Flagrantly ignoring all rules, everybody makes pets of the pigeons, squirrels, and raccoons.

In a major betrayal by the Soldiers' Home administration, much of our land has been sold off to developers, who will use it to build embassies and condominiums.

At the moment, there are major redesigns and renovations underway, so I'm not sure what the future bodes.

Thank you.

John Robert "SAIGON" Mallernee, KB3KWS
Official Bard of Clan Henderson
Armed Forces Retirement Home
Washington, D.C. 20011-8400

NOTE: "My unpopular and controversial personal opinions are independent of my Scottish clan."

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