Federal Employees Can Now Go Swimming at Ft. Myer

by ARLnow.com April 2, 2012 at 3:58 pm 17,878 44 Comments

(Updated at 4:50 p.m.) If you’re a federal government employee, you’re now eligible to go swimming at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.

The military base announced a policy change today that will open up most recreation facilities there to non-Department of Defense federal employees. Among the facilities that federal workers can now take advantage of are the Fort Myer Bowling Center and the Fort Myer Officers’ Club. The club has a swimming pool, tennis and racquetball courts and fine dining facilities.

Federal workers don’t have to be an Officers’ Club member to use the facilities, but they will have to pay a non-member fee. Official government ID is required to access the facilities. The policy change announced today also allows federal employees to join the Officers’ Club, if they wish.

The fitness centers and child development center at Fort Myer will continue to be for DoD personnel only.

The Officers’ Club and the bowling center can be accessed through the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Hatfield Gate.

  • GreaterClarendon

    It’s a great bowling facility for kids, but could use some updating – but we’ve taken our kids there for years, and we’re not military nor federal employees. May be a change in official policy, but not a change in practice – we’ve been to many kids birthdays there that were not Ft. Myers related or employed.

  • Andy

    I don’t understand. The Ft . Myer bowling alley has always been open to the public (federal employees and anyone else). I have bowled there many times and I have no connection with the military. I do have to stop at the gate and have my car searched, but that only takes 5 minutes.

    What is the actual policy change?

    • Arlington, Northside

      If a person following the rules was working the desk that day, they could always have denied you if you were not with a Servicemember or DOD employee.

      • thatguy

        Wrong I have used it numerous time as well. I didn’t believe my friend when she told me so I called and spoke with someone that had verified it was open to the public.

  • VA

    I’m neither military/DoD nor a federal worker, but in past years (5ish years ago?) we went bowling on Ft. Myer a few times – just had to register with our drivers’ licenses at the gate. Are civilians no longer allowed to go bowling on the base?

  • Arlington, Northside

    I am just looking forward to cheap Military Base Bowling Alley beer again!

  • Rob L

    We have been going to the bowling alley on the base for 10 years now off and on. Many kids birthday parties and just some cheap family fun. We’re NOT military or government. I think this policy must be geared towards the other facilities and the author of the article kind of missed it.

    • Mindermast

      A reporter got facts wrong? Say it ain’t so!

    • This article was the result of correspondence with Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall public affairs personnel. We’re trying to clarify whether the bowling alley is open to the public as an official policy or not. Here’s the exact email they sent us earlier:

      Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall’s Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation now has an exception to policy to benefit non-Department of Defense federal employees residing and working in close proximity to its Clubs and Bowling Center. This exception to policy expands traditional DFMWR patronage privileges to the Fort Myer Officers Club’s swimming pools and tennis courts.

      The exception to policy applies only to DFMWR Business Operations and does not include fitness centers or the child development centers. Non-DoD federal employees still must provide proper identification and can use their official ID cards.

      In addition to enjoying bowling, club pools and tennis courts, those eligible for the extension of privilege can also enjoy fine dining at the clubs or picnic areas, wedding packages and special event equipment rental, including grills and tents.

      For more information on these services, visit http://www.jbmhhMWR.com, call 703-696-0299.

      • We’ve changed the article to focus on swimming while we wait on JBMHH public affairs to email us back with clarification.

        • Rachel

          Come on ArlNow, get with it, tighten up!

        • drax

          I can tell you from personal experience that the bowling alley is open to the public, even non-federal employees, and has been for a while.

          • Maria

            I think he gets that now.

        • The official policy, per a base spokesman:

          “Patrons must be active or retired DoD ID card holders/authorized MWR patrons or their guests in accordance with Chapter 7 of AR 215-1 http://www.apd.army.mil/pdffiles/r215_1.pdf

          Special Note: Through an exception to policy, area Federal Employees can now enjoy all the benefits and services our Clubs and Bowling Center previously authorized for only DoD ID card holders. The exception to policy does not apply to Army Community Service, our Fitness Centers or Child Care Centers. Patronage of ACS and our Fitness Centers are still limited to DoD ID card holders, active and retired. Patronage of our Child Care Centers is still limited to only active DoD ID card holders.

          All others must be a guest of any federal employee or otherwise authorized MWR patron.”

  • Nels

    Until a few years ago as a federal employee I was allowed to join the officers club. Then that policy changed. I’m glad to hear it changed back. How about federal retirees?

    • ArlForester

      This answers my question. We grew up at the Ft. Myer pool and my dad was DOJ.

  • John Fontain

    As I (civilian) kid I used to regularly go to Ft. Belvoir for weekend brunches. I remember those times very fondly. Now, living near Ft. Meyer, I’d love to take my family to brunch but I’ve found the information on Ft. Meyer’s website to be unclear.

    Does anyone have firsthand knowledge of:

    -whether Ft. Meyer’s offers brunch on the weekends
    -whether there are multiple brunch options (different places to have brunch at different price points)
    -who is eligible to take advantage of these brunches
    -how much they cost per person and the hours

    • nom de guerre

      “Ft. Myer”

  • Ty

    Can I expect to find the military version of Lacey Underall at the pool there?

  • sue

    As a Federal Civilain Employee– I was always able to go swimming if I paid the fee. I think someone told me you had to be a GS- level equivalent to that of an Officer. I was (GS-14).

  • Karrie

    Does anyone know how much the non-members fee is?

  • henry bennet xii

    This isn’t new. Except for the Officer Club component.

  • Mark

    Anybody else not finding it ridiculous that we have recreational facilities that only exist for Federal or Military Employees?

    After all it’s it’s our tax money that’s paying for this.

    I can completely understand having these facilities only for the military in foreign countries but in the US that makes zero sense.

    • Anybody Else


    • Sam

      Except when you’re one of the many young men and women who are required to live in barracks on a base….

      • Mark

        I’m not saying close a facility so the argument about living on base is moot. I’m saying why is it not open to any resident in the Arlington area?

        Your already charging Federal Employees more money so there is a system in place to charge a higher fee.

        • Maria

          Have you ever been to one of the county pools on a summer day? It’s insanely crowded. If I had to guess, I’d say Sam was probably referring to how opening it to everyone would IMPACT the people required to live on base.

        • Frank

          Um, I suppose you also think that all military bases should be open to the public…because that’s what you’re talking about here. If recreational facilities on bases were open to everyone, the base would have to be open to the public.

          If that happens, then you would have an unsecured facility…get it?

        • TCE

          So I suppose next you want to open the on base housing up as affordable housing in Arlington?

        • KalashniKEV

          Maybe you can earn a few medals while you’re there too!

    • rosslyn


    • Lady of Ballston

      Know that the military is serving and protecting your country, know that they make a lot less money the most and understand that they can deserve a perk here and there.

    • ArlForester

      Sign up. Swim to your heart’s delight, at the NCO pool though. We are picky at the O-club.

    • AJ


      military life is rough enough, and pay in the officers’ ranks is below similar jobs in the private sector. having a rec facility is a minor perk that makes it a bit more bearable, especially for the families that are already regularly dicked over by the DoD, which only pays lip service to their existence.

      personally, i think opening the pool and tennis courts to federal employees is screwing over the military members. the pool is badly crowded on weekends as it is.

    • Rick

      There’s a health club in the county building you’re not allowed in that your tax dollars pay for…

    • nope

    • Another Mark

      I think facilities in question are not paid for with “appropriated” funds, which come out of your taxes. They are funded with “non-appropriated funds,” which come from user fees.

  • Neighbor

    Ft Myer pool was open to all Feds until about 4-5 years ago when it was suddenly closed to all but military, retired military and families that were members the year before. Rumor had it that the change came from pressure by a general’s wife who didn’t like crowds.

    Sensible views have finally prevailed. There are high fixed costs involved in running the pools and other facilities, and the marginal revenue from more members greatly exceeds the marginal cost.

  • Set the controls

    We belonged to the Officer’s Club (pool essentially) as far back as 2003, only credentials being civilian fed employees. This is no change.

  • Paco Wellington III

    Bad day at ArlNow — another non-story.

  • Novanglus

    Military speak can be hard to understand: ” This exception to policy expands traditional DFMWR patronage privileges to the Fort Myer Officers Club’s swimming pools and tennis courts.”

    In plain English: “Now you can use the swimming pools and tennis courts in addition to what you’ve already been using, whether policy allowed that or not.”

  • Bandersnatch

    We were members of the pool (via DOJ) 2009-2010. Last summer we were denied membership due to the change in policy but were able to use the NCO pool near the bowling alley. Now the policy has swung the other way meaning that we are once again eligible for membership. However, as I understand it, you still need to purchase that membership at the officer’s club to use those facilities.

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but the only day-pass set up that I’ve seen at the club is for guests of members (and it’s steep- like $14 per head).

  • RebeccaK

    I’m a fed and we’ve been members for four years now. There definitely was some flipflopping last year about who they allowed to join, and in the confusion many long-time members didn’t renew. I’m guessing the memo is meant to set the record straight on who is allowed. Not that I want all you yahoos crowding my space. But by and large the OClub is lightly used by Arlington standards. It has it’s weirdnesses, but they’re not too hard to ignore. Here’s a link to some more/other info: http://jbmhhmwr.com/index/Myer_O_Club.html

  • soarlslacker

    There used to be a small PX and Package Store at Ft Myer. My mom (dad was an Army veteran and Fed) used to use her military id and take me in there to stock up on booze when she came to visit. Is there still a package store? Can Feds use the package store?


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