By Kristine M. Sturkie, Public Affairs Specialist, Navy Exchange Service Command
On Feb. 7, Navy Lodge Little Creek-Fort Story, Virginia Beach, Virginia, kicked off the Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM) Navy Lodge Program’s 50th anniversary with a cake cutting. The first Navy Lodge opened at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek on Feb. 6, 1971. “We are excited to share this milestone with all of our guests throughout this year,” said Robert J. Bianchi, chief executive officer of NEXCOM. “What started primarily as a resource during permanent change of station military moves has evolved into truly a home away from home for our military families. Our guests must think so as well! Our most recent guest service scores were 4.8 out of 5.0, which is outstanding!”
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The entrance to Navy Lodge, Gulfport, Mississippi
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A room at Navy Lodge, Washington, D.C.
The Navy Lodge Program was created in 1969 to bolster scarce housing options for military families associated with permanent change of station. Teaming up with the Bureau of Naval Personnel and the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC), construction began on reasonably priced, temporary lodging facilities. Unlike other services’ temporary lodging facilities, the Navy Lodge Program distinguished itself by operating with non-appropriated funds.
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Family suite dining and kitchen area at Navy Lodge Little Creek.
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Fort Story in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
“The service Navy Lodge Little Creek-Fort Story provides to our military members is second to none,” said Cmdr. Brent Fulton, executive officer, Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek – Fort Story. “Last winter, the heat went out in our barracks during a very cold stretch of weather. The Navy Lodge opened up 60 rooms so that our Sailors would have a warm place to stay.”
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A room at Navy Lodge, Gulfport, Mississippi.
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The entrance to Navy Lodge, Monterey, California.
Over the past 50 years, the Navy Lodge Program has grown to 39 facilities worldwide. When a guest checks into today’s Navy Lodge they will find amenities such as free Wi-Fi, a complimentary breakfast each morning and a weekly managers reception. Room choices include family suites with flat screen satellite televisions and fully stocked kitchens. Navy Lodges also have laundry facilities and vending machines as well as outside play areas and workout rooms at many sites so guests have what they need in one location. Every Navy Lodge is accessible. Dogs weighing up to 70 pounds may stay with their owners at most locations. Cats are welcome, as well.
Throughout the year, the Navy Lodge Program will celebrate its 50th Anniversary with a series of events, activities and surprises for guests and the local military community.