2010-02-05 / Family

Navy housing makes military life a little easier for family

‘As long as (my wife) and the kids are happy, it makes life real easy for me when I’m forward deployed and doing what I’m supposed to be doing.’ — James Jones, Navy officer
By Jeffrey Dransfeldt jdransfeldt@theacorn.com

JANN HENDRY/Acorn Newspapers NEW HOME—Senior  Chief Petty Officer James Jones and his son Robert, 10, help cut the ribbon  to  mark  the  grand opening of the new Navy family housing  community,  Catalina Heights, in Camarillo on Jan. 27. The  Naval  officer’s  family, including his wife, Patricia, and 17-year-old daughter Breanna, are one of 38 families now living in the community off Las Posas Road. JANN HENDRY/Acorn Newspapers NEW HOME—Senior Chief Petty Officer James Jones and his son Robert, 10, help cut the ribbon to mark the grand opening of the new Navy family housing community, Catalina Heights, in Camarillo on Jan. 27. The Naval officer’s family, including his wife, Patricia, and 17-year-old daughter Breanna, are one of 38 families now living in the community off Las Posas Road. The next time James Jones is deployed his mind will be a little more at ease.

That’s because the Naval officer knows his family will be settled in new military housing at Catalina Heights in Camarillo.

The Jones family is one of 38 families living in the community that will include 32 single-family homes and more than 270 town homes once construction is complete.

“As long as (my wife) and the kids are happy, it makes life real easy for me when I’m forward deployed and doing what I’m supposed to be doing,” said James Jones, a senior chief petty officer.

Capt. James McHugh, commanding officer of Naval Base Ventura County, and Mayor Kevin Kildee spoke at the Jan. 27 ribboncutting that officially opened the 51-acre housing development off Las Posas Road.

The Jones family—James, 40; his wife, Patricia, 39; their 10-yearold son, Robert and 17-year-old daughter, Breanna—concluded the grand-opening ceremony by cutting the ribbon.

The Jones’ three-bedroom, 1,900-square-foot home and its location are everything the senior chief petty officer said he could have imagined.

“It’s great,” said James, who has served in the Navy for 23 years. “It’s really nice housing. The older stuff was way outdated, so it’s nice for them to finally get the money to rebuild it and redo it. The community—it’s the best thing overall—it’s just a nice community out here in Camarillo.”

The Jones family had lived in the older homes at Catalina Heights before the community’s remodeling. Initially, they were told they would be able to stay while the construction was done in stages, but later they were given 30-days notice and relocated to a home in Port Hueneme.

Breanna lists the benefits of living in Catalina Heights. She singled out the community’s proximity to her high school and the teen center.

“It’s great,” Breanna said. “My school’s close. My bus stop (is close). Before, when we lived in Hueneme, I had to drive up and back. Here, you have a workout (area), parks. There’s just a lot to do in the community.”

The housing community includes a community center with a workout room, a swimming pool, a small arcade, a teen center and a play area for children.

“Before, they didn’t have that open that much because there wasn’t a lot going on, but now they’re offering jobs here for teens to help out with the younger kids and get paid,” said the Rio Mesa junior, who enjoys working with children and aspires to be a pediatric nurse. “You get work experience. It’s a lot of stuff for us to do.”

Being closer to her high school has allowed Breanna to be more involved with extracurricular activities. She is a member of the cheer squad, something she wasn’t able to do a year ago because of the commute from their temporary home in Port Hueneme.

“It was a hassle for me,” Breanna said. “Here, (it’s) just a lot better.”

The Jones family was one of the last families to leave the old housing.

By the time they left, the Catalina Heights home was in poor condition and in need of repairs— as were all the houses, which is why the Navy bulldozed the old development that had been built in the 1950s and started anew.

The Jones family had patched up the old house as best they could during their yearlong stay there to make it comfortable and allow the kids to continue attending school in Camarillo.

“There was dust coming from the attic that would come down,” Patricia said. “The floors were in horrible condition. Paint was peeling. It was really bad. We did it, though, because we wanted (our children) to be in the best schools.”

While construction was under way, the family lived in a three bedroom, 900-square-foot home in Port Hueneme. The family commuted back and forth to Camarillo. The commute eventually became too much, and they rented a town home in Palm Colony in Camarillo.

Although the family gave notice to their landlord, their movein date at Catalina Heights was continually delayed, so the family lived in a hotel for about two months.

“They kept giving us the deadlines. ‘Okay, it’s getting close. It’ll be ready on (such and such date),’” Patricia said. “Then it would get extended.”

The family was able to move in two days before Thanksgiving and enjoyed the holiday in their new surroundings.

Patricia, an elementary school teacher, has been a substitute teacher while looking for a more permanent position.

James said having his family settled will provide him with peace of mind while he’s gone.

He was deployed to Fallujah for eight months amidst the move to Port Hueneme and afterward had gone to Kuwait for six months. He is going to be deployed to Afghanistan soon, Patricia said.

It is never easy seeing her husband go away, she said.

“You just do what you’ve got to do. We support him 150 percent. He’s worth it. The family hunkers down and we focus toward our goal. But now it will be easier that we’re here, and it will make it a little bit better.”

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