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Same Place, Different Name: Maxwell Club Welcomes All Ranks
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Same place, different name: Maxwell Club welcomes all ranks

Posted 12/16/2011   Updated 12/16/2011 Email story   Print story

    


by Kelly Deichert
Air University Public Affairs


12/16/2011 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Now known as the Maxwell Club, the former officers' club strives to maintain the same quality service, cuisine and social events as it has for more than 75 years.

Col. Brian Killough, 42nd Air Base Wing commander, said, "During the past several years, our Maxwell Club system has transformed from an inefficient, rank-segregated system to the more efficient all-ranks club that we have now.

Changing the name to the Maxwell Club solidifies this change and sends the message that all Airmen are invited and welcome. From our youngest Airman to our most senior general officer, everyone can feel the pride of belonging to our club and know they have an input on how to make improvements."

According to the 42nd Force Support Squadron, "The Maxwell Club is a full service club, providing elegant dining, gracious protocol service, private parties and general entertaining in an atmosphere of enjoyment for all members and their families."

The facility also is available for all-ranks events, such as wine tasting and family night, with discounts for club members.

Membership is open to all military members (active-duty and retired) and civil service employees. The main floor and lounge is open to everyone while the downstairs bar, "The Pit," is officers only. The Stripes Lounge at the Maxwell Events Center remains enlisted personnel only.

The Maxwell Club offers daily lunch buffets with discounts for members.

The name change reflects a trend throughout the Air Force, with clubs adapting business practices according to the installation's needs.

"Our club has to evolve and recruit a new generation of customers through innovative menus, events, and services. Otherwise it will not continue to meet the high fiscal standards required of our nonappropriated fund activities," said Killough.
Reflecting on the changing culture of the clubs, Dr. Robert Kane, director of history for Air University, said, "I came on active duty (in the Air Force) in 1976. At that time, officers' club membership was above 97 percent on any given base."

The clubs were popular with officers and enlisted alike as a place to socialize with co-workers. "Clubs were the place to be," Kane said.

Single officers stopped by the club a few times a week after work to enjoy camaraderie and an inexpensive meal.

"Clubs were packed every Friday and Saturday night," said Alan Landers, staff historian and former Airman. "The clubs were a cultural place," part of the Air Force tradition.

By the 1980s, business began to change. The customer base decreased as more people lived off base and didn't need on-base clubs to socialize. "After work, they go home and stay home," Kane said.

Downsizing after the end of the Vietnam War reduced the number of officers in the Air Force and the customer base for officers' clubs.

The culture of the Air Force changed during this time as well, as the military launched an alcohol deglamorization campaign.

Many officers' clubs around the Air Force became all-ranks facilities to maintain business. "Since the mid-1970s, the on-base demographics changed, so patronage at the base clubs changed," Kane said. "As nonappropriated fund activities, they have to adapt to make a profit."

For example, at Maxwell the noncommissioned officer club transitioned to the Maxwell Event Center.

The clubs were popular with officers and enlisted alike as a place to socialize with co-workers. "Clubs were the place to be," Kane said.

Single officers stopped by the club a few times a week after work to enjoy camaraderie and an inexpensive meal.

"Clubs were packed every Friday and Saturday night," said Alan Landers, staff historian and former Airman. "The clubs were a cultural place," part of the Air Force tradition.

By the 1980s, business began to change. The customer base decreased as more people lived off base and didn't need on-base clubs to socialize. "After work, they go home and stay home," Kane said.

Downsizing after the end of the Vietnam War reduced the number of officers in the Air Force and the customer base for officers' clubs.

The culture of the Air Force changed during this time as well, as the military launched an alcohol deglamorization campaign.

Many officers' clubs around the Air Force became all-ranks facilities to maintain business. "Since the mid-1970s, the on-base demographics changed, so patronage at the base clubs changed," Kane said. "As nonappropriated fund activities, they have to adapt to make a profit."

For example, at Maxwell the noncommissioned officer club transitioned to the Maxwell Event Center.



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