Access To Admirals’ Row Not A Given For Flag Officers


NORFOLK – Some of the military’s top officers live in beautiful homes on Hampton Roads military bases – but getting promoted to admiral doesn’t necessarily land you a choice house on Dillingham Boulevard.

That’s the street – also known as Admirals’ Row – that boasts more than a dozen historic residences occupied by 18 flag and general officers at Norfolk Naval Station. The homes, each named for a different state, overlook Sewells Point Golf Course and are a short walk to a marina where you can moor, or rent, a sailboat or motorboat. (Of course, they’re also a short walk to piers where nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines dock.)

Beth Baker, a spokeswoman for the Navy’s Mid-Atlantic Region, said 83 admirals and generals are stationed in Hampton Roads. Less than a third qualify for residence in what’s referred to as “executive quarters” – the homes on Dillingham Boulevard, as well as one residence each at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek, Portsmouth Naval Medical Center, Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth and the Navy’s Lafayette River Annex.

Like most military housing in Hampton Roads, all of the executive quarters are managed by Lincoln Military Housing, which signed a 50-year lease on the properties in 2005. The company is responsible for maintenance, so the Navy doesn’t pay any money out of pocket if a ceiling caves in or a moldy floor needs to be replaced.

In return, Lincoln collects the monthly housing stipend the Navy pays each sailor. The stipend covers the cost of rent, utilities and renters insurance.

Regardless of whether admirals or generals live on base, rent a home in town or pay a mortgage, each gets a stipend for housing. In South Hampton Roads, a flag or general officer with dependents gets $2,448 for housing; without dependents, $1,905. Those based on the Peninsula get a bit more: $2,478 with dependents; $2,082 without.

Baker noted that the homes on Dillingham Boulevard were constructed not to house families, but for ceremonial use.

The homes predate the Navy’s ownership of the land: They were built for the Jamestown Exposition of 1907, a monthslong celebration marking the 300th anniversary of the English settlement. The buildings became property of the Navy a decade later, when the base was expanded to include most of the exposition’s grounds.

Each was funded by a different state. Missouri House – one of the few built with a kitchen and dining room – has a two-story portico with verandas on each side. Georgia House was modeled on the Roswell, Ga., birthplace of Martha Bulloch – mother of then-President Theodore Roosevelt. Pennsylvania House, a smaller replica of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, was later used as an officer’s club and is now used for social functions hosted by admirals.

The homes are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

For background on this topic, explored in a Pentagon report prepared for Congress last month, go here.

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