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Enlisted Vacationers Can Save Big Bucks at Retirement Home

By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 10, 2000 – One Internet hotel reservation site advertises "guaranteed lower rates of up to 65 percent off" that run from $69.95 to $155.95 per night in the Washington area.

If those rates look steep, then the U.S. Soldiers' and Airmen's Home may have a better deal for enlisted persons and their families -- $20 per night for up to five nights. And visitors to the sprawling 320-acre "campus" will live in a historical dwelling -- a former convent.

"The convent was built in 1954 for the Sisters of Charity, who used to provide nursing services for residents of the retirement home," said Jean M. Schaefer, the home's public affairs director. It was closed in the 1980s.

Schaefer said amenities are sparse in the 37-room former convent. "You get a bed to sleep on and a bathroom. It was a convent!" she emphasized. In keeping with economy, though, vacationers can purchase meal tickets to eat at the home's dining facilities -- $3 for breakfast and $7 for lunch and dinner.

"We have a full-service cafeteria-style dining facility that features two daily entrees, a short order line, fully stocked salad bar and a variety of baked goods and ice cream," Schaefer said. Vacationers can also use the home's military exchange facilities, which include a lounge and a small store.

The U.S. Soldiers' and Airmen's Home Guest House is available for use by enlisted vacationers of all of the armed services, including active duty members and retirees and their dependents traveling with them, she said. Reservation line is (202) 730- 3044.

The retirement home is in the heart of the District of Columbia at 3700 North Capitol St. NW, about 2.5 miles from the U.S. Capitol. Parking is free on the home's grounds and mass transit is available outside the gate.

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