Always Waiting on Military Orders to go Somewhere

waiting on military orders (1)

I love a good mystery. Don’t you? Here we are, a little over two months from our deros (departure) date from South Korea and we are still waiting on military orders. We have no idea where we are going next. You would think after more than 20 years, I’d be used to hurry up and wait for the mentality of the military. We have no idea where we are going next.

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Unpacking Always Waiting on Military Orders to go Somewhere

Waiting on Military Orders

 

You would think after more than 20 years, I’d be used to the hurry up and wait for mentality of the military. But I’m not. I’m sitting in my apartment, among all my things. Thanks to the DOD our life in the Army keeps me editing the last page of the story– our military orders.

 

 

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What Does it Mean to PCS?

 

The manual calls it a “permanent change of station” or PCS. But you know it’s anything but permanent. It’s a common drill in the military that takes place, on average, every 3 years. You receive a new assignment (orders). Pack all your belongings. Move said belongs, kids, pets, your life, etc to the military installation listed on your orders.

The soldier needs orders to say he has no outstanding debts or obligations to places like the commissary, post exchange, or library. You need orders to schedule packing and shipping your furniture and car. You need orders to break your lease if necessary or clear military quarters. And you need orders to book transportation to your new duty station. You get the point, you need orders period.

 

 

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The New Duty Station

 

 

This will be our 7th move… from Colorado to Georgia, back to Colorado, to Virginia, to Germany, back to Virginia. And then to South Korea. Almost immediately, you begin the search for a new home. Wait for your stuff to arrive, find new doctors, schools, jobs, friends, etc…

Your stuff arrives and most likely it’s coming from two places. The stuff you stored before you left and the stuff you took with you. The military only ships one car, so you’ve got to get the other one out of storage. And in my case, I left a house full of large houseplants with my mother, who has an amazing green thumb.

Not much has changed in the process over the years. Except now you can use the Internet to research a lot about your new duty station.

 

 

 

Getting a Sponsor

 

 

And if you’re lucky, you’ll be assigned a sponsor. It’s usually a military member and spouse team. They volunteer to answer questions, book temporary lodging, and help you transition to your new assignment. When we moved to Germany, our sponsor picked us up from the airport. They shuttled us around to get food, our driver’s license, and register my kids for school. They even left us with a cell phone and offered themselves up as our kid’s emergency contacts. Our sponsor in Korea met us at the lodging and his wife left us a humungous basket of snacks and drinks in the room.

 

 


Click on the links to read about our little apartments in Germany and South Korea.

 

 

Our next move will most likely be back in the United States. It’s almost 3,000 miles away. So it would be nice to know where we are going sooner rather than later.

 

 

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Life and the Military Move

 

 

This life is filled with lots of passion, good and bad. Many adventures, good and bad. Chance, challenges, and constant change, all good and bad. Amazing friendships that last and some that don’t stand a chance. And as you might expect, more than a few opportunities to tell a great story— good and bad.

I have gotten used to packing up everything we’ve collected over the last 20 years into 2 or 3 thousand pounds shipments because:

And I no longer buy crap to fill up empty space. Certainly, I love my stuff, but these days everything I own means something to me. And it can fit into whatever size quarters (housing) we move into.

I can break it all down and put it back together again in my new house in a week max. Seeing it in new surroundings also gives me a chance to edit further if necessary and make it my own over and over and over, etc.
 
 

 

Final Thoughts

 

 

It’s been a couple of years since I’ve been in the States, it’s “an incredible country with so many attractions, cities, landscapes, national parks, boutique cafes, eccentric towns and the list goes on..” says Katie at Creative Travel Guide. Click here for a great article called 30 Ways to Save Money While Traveling the United States. Feel free to let us know which ones worked for you.

I really have no choice unless my hubby decides to retire or resign his commission. I go where he goes when I can because I promised my mother (and other reasons). As an Army wife herself, she saw many marriages fall apart over time and distance spent apart. And there’s no way in hell, excuse my French, I’d ever let that happen to us. I love our life together.

In the end, no one forces me to rise before the chickens to fix breakfast or hunt for clean PT shorts. I do it because I enjoy watching the sky turn from black to blue, the house is quiet and I can meditate. But mostly it’s because I’m the one who does the laundry, so I know, with a greater degree of certainty, where the damn PT shorts are.

 

 

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Comments

  1. Alex

    My brother is at Fort Bragg, awaiting his orders for his first deployment. He will soon know about your kind of journey! Hope you have a successful and peaceful move!

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Please wish him well for me. The first deployment was the worst for both of us but we got through it. We are headed to Fort Hood Texas next.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      We have always been on the same sheet of music. And thankfully we work pretty well under pressure, so now that we know we are going to Texas, we’ll make it work.

  2. Kyomi Carpenter

    The part about painting the walls and having to paint them back reminded me of the time I chose to paint the walls at our house at Fort Campbell. Luckily, I didn’t have to paint them back to the original color when we moved since they were planning on remodeling them. I can only imagine how that would have added extra stress.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      That happened to me too Kyomi. They are required to paint every 3-4 years and my quarters were due to be painted, so I painted the walls whatever I wanted that time with no intentions to repaint.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      You are stronger than you think. I have two kids in the military as well and I couldn’t be prouder of all three.

  3. Terri Beavers

    My dad was in the service when I was small and I didn’t mind moving around. Now that I’m an adult, I wouldn’t like it. You’re a brave and strong person to make another move.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Thank you, you are so right, it isn’t the life for everyone. And many military spouses think they can handle it, but end up struggling, while the rest of us find inner strength. We are down to our last three moves with the military. I am so proud of my husband for what he has achieved thats it really a little thing when I compare it to his sacrifices for our family and our country.

  4. Sandy n vyjay

    It is very challenging life and work. But kudos to your optimism. Being in the army is a thrilling journey. I love the stories and experience go through while being in the defence forces

    1. duffelbagspouse

      We just found out today we are headed to Fort Hood Texas so no more waiting for me. Now its on to researching the area for a place to live and work.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      I love the traveling, the moving not so much. But its the moving that puts us in a place to travel, so I’m ok with it. I have it down to a science now.

  5. Sandra crespo

    We are constantly moving every 2/3 weeks but it doesn’t compare to your moves one bit ! Ty for serving our country and for sharing the madness in moving process for the military!

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Thats cool too. Are you a backpacker? I don’t think I could do that, at least not for very long. But I’d like to travel all summer one year in the near future, it seems like fun and one heck of an experience.

  6. Thi

    Wow! I commend you for your patience and flexibility. I can’t imagine moving that often… due to all the packing! I mean it’s a trade off, but kudos to you for doing it so many times and still being able to keep your sanity! xoxo

    1. duffelbagspouse

      It is a tradeoff that we’ve really appreciated and learned a lot from. I wouldn’t trade our life for anything in the world.

  7. Ashley

    I really admire your attitude about it all. I know I could not move that much. It takes a special type of person to be a military spouse and I know I could not do it.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      It does take a certain patience to do it, but the perks are really great and the people are some of the best people you’ll ever meet.

  8. Carol Cassara

    It’s a roller coaster ride, if I may say so. I admire you for your determination and your support for your husband. It’s not easy to move all the time. I’m sure your blog will help a lot of military families.

  9. Mustard Seed Money

    Thank you for sharing the insight. I have friends in the military but I had no idea how difficult it really is. I can’t even imagine thinking about what color I can paint the walls only to have to repaint them white before you leave.

    Thank you and your spouse for your service!!!

    1. duffelbagspouse

      I hate white walls, so its worth the effort. There was one time we didn’t have to re-paint. They loved the color and said we did such a great job. But generally any changes we make to government quarters we have to reverse before they will clear us to leave.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      I’ve gotten it down to a science almost. I try to have the movers take as many boxes back with them, unpacking everything even it on the floor. I hate clutter, and I am OCD in that everything has a place and a place for everything. Its fun to see my stuff moved around in different styles of house too.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Its not as hard as you’d expect. We are definitely challenged from time to time, but the rewards far outweigh those struggles.

  10. Helene Cohen Bludman

    You have the best attitude! Having a love of adventure and not getting caught up in the small stuff are definite assets for a military wife to have.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Thank you, I really try hard not to sweat the small stuff. And I love the military lifestyle more than anything else.

    2. Gale Mason

      So refreshing! Instead of keeping a list of more things to buy – the latest blow dryer, the newest eye shadow – you have pared down to meaningful essentials. Your journey has been an inspiration to me and countless others

  11. Author Brandi Kennedy

    I think I would be a nervous wreck waiting for those orders – but I’m sure I’d be excited, too, waiting to see what’s next in life, what more adventures are coming.

    I can’t decide if this post made me nostalgic for the military life I almost had – or glad it never came to be.

    Mostly nostalgic, I think.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      That made me laught out loud. I think its both. Like I told someone else… traveling and moving are not the same thing at all. And unfortunately we gotta suffer the latter to experience the former.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      I don’t mind the traveling so much thats actually fun. The moving on the other hand… not so much. It does change our base of adventures, and we’ve been lucky to have new ones to explore. Hooefully this won’t be any different.

  12. GiGi Eats

    I am currently in the process of moving myself – but only about a mile away from where I currently live. I give you so much credit for moving so much!! It’s NOT easy.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Hi Gigi, its never fun. We moved a few blocks once and that was just as strenuous as moving further. Actually, its kind of worse because you end up making lots of trips that are unorganized.

  13. Amber Myers

    I know how this goes! My husband is in the Air Force. I hope you get your orders soon. We moved to Texas last summer and are enjoying it so far.

    I don’t rise to make him breakfast though. He’s up at 3 AM some days and…no..I cannot. But I wash his PT clothes–not his uniforms though, because he’s picky about how he needs them to look. He’s a MTI.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Its no huge breakfast, but I am an early riser too, so I don’t mind. I was everything, eve his uniform, but he presses. He “complained” once and that was it for me. My mom even gave me the okay on that one, saying that the first time my dad complained he was on his own too. We got wind of where we think we’re headed this morning, but until I see an RFO or orders, I’m not jinxing it.

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