How many times have you had to make your duty station wish list? I’d say for us that it’s too many to count, but I did count. This is my 17th house. How did that happen and where did the time go?
Our time at this house has just come to an end as well. I’ve always been up for adventure and loved moving. We’ve been here for three years now and I keep thinking it has to be time to go. I haven’t lived anywhere this long since I was a kid.
Whether it’s your first time making a duty station wish list or your twentieth, talking about the different options is sure to have you on the edge of your seat. You can request a specific location but don’t get your heart set on it.
It’s always a gamble or perhaps it’s luck of the draw.
Even if you are told you have PCS orders to one location, it can always change.
We just made our wish list and for a brief moment we had verbal orders to our first choice. Then my husband got promoted. That’s fantastic of course, but we lost our PCS orders. There wasn’t an opening at that location for his new rank. We got our second choice. Technically we still have verbal orders so until I see it in print, I’m not signing on the dotted line for a new home.
Have you made a duty station wish list and gotten your first pick?
Making a wish list is not universal across the branches.
For the most part though, you provide a list of your top three choices for your next duty station and a detailer tries to match what’s available. Some people merely fill out a paper, while others “have an in” with the detailer. They have been known to work a bit of magic to get desirable orders. Not everyone gets that chance though. Sometimes service members are given their choices and told to pick. The higher the rank, the fewer choices there are for the most part. That can be good.
I have mixed feelings about our choice. Part of me wants to go on another adventure, but then I also love that this location has so much to offer for families. As we have grown older and had children, our priorities have changed and what we look for when making our wish list has too. What things do you consider when making your wish list?
Here are five things to consider when making your duty station wish list:
Do you want to go somewhere new or are you trying to get back to a place you’ve already been? What was it about the previous duty station that makes you want to go back or what is it about the new place that makes you want to move there?
What is the work schedule like for your spouse? Will you see more of them in one location or will they be traveling more? A few of my friends moved overseas, which is exciting, but their spouses are constantly flying back to the United States for training.
For my family, at this duty station my husband works over an hour away but deploys every six months for six months. We don’t see much of him here and that’s why we live near the city instead of in the middle of nowhere where the military base is.
Is your job transferable? If you work, will you be able to transfer with the company? Consider certifications that might need to be renewed in certain locations as well. Are there job opportunities otherwise or will you not work?
What is family life like in that area? If you have children, what are the schools like? Are there many activities for families? Will the weather be agreeable for getting out of the house to play and sightsee?
Will there be family support? This could be from the family readiness group or family support office. Will there be base events or are there enlisted or officers spouses clubs? Consider groups out in town as well.
Making friends and having a support group is key to enjoying your duty station.
There are many things to consider when making your duty station wish list. No matter where you’re sent, it’s up to you to make the most of it. If you go with a positive outlook, make friends, learn about the area and get to know the place, you will be more likely to have a great experience.
Make your duty station wish list, but be open to a new adventure. Hopefully you’ll get your first pick, but if you don’t, that’s ok too.