Wednesday, February 11, 2009

PCSing - One Military Wife's Experience

By Erin A. Nash

My husband, son and I just PCSed (Permanent Change of Station) in early January. No big deal, right? Military families do it all the time. But this was our first PCS. I know, those of you who have PCSed are thinking, “So what, lady, we all have a first PCS, followed by many, many more.” What made it different for us was that we had been at our first and only duty station for more than 12 years.

When I tell people we were at one post for 12 years, I always get the same question – “How did you do that?” Long story short, we are part of the special operations community, and that enabled us to have stability.

When I first found out we were moving, I was sad - sad because Fort Benning had become home to us. We moved on post as newlyweds, and left as parents. I was able to have a job at the post newspaper, The Bayonet, for 10 years. I gave birth to my son at Martin Army Community Hospital. We watched friends and neighbors come and go, knowing that some day it would be our turn to be the ones to leave.

That day came when my husband was offered a job at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah. Well, I thought, if we have to move, at least it’s to a gorgeous city. Having grown up in Massachusetts, I was never far from the ocean, so I would once again be just a drive away from the beach.

We took advice from others who had been stationed in the area and bought a home in an adjoining town with a good school system for our son. It is very, very strange to not be living in military housing. I am glad, considering all the stress I went through, to be a homeowner. I do miss the camaraderie of living among other military families, and the support system they provided.

The moving process is not one I care to repeat anytime soon. I’m very thankful that the Army provided movers to do it all – they were a lifesaver, although their fondness for wrapping up everything in paper still boggles my mind. I have gained such a great respect for military families who have to move every few years. I can’t imagine how unbelievably hard it must be, and I give many kudos to the other wives who do it all and hold it all together, through moves, deployments, kids, jobs, etc.

Moving is a reality in the military world. I had been in denial that we would ever move, but now that we have, I realize it was a very good thing. I know in a few years we’ll do it again, and am much more prepared for it!

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Anonymous said...

Erin-You said you left as old is your child/children? I remember as a kid all the times we moved. I loved moving, but my sister was never fond of it. When we moved to the US and off a military installation. I was devastated. It is hard to make the adjustment, but it seems you have done it! Good for you and good luck!

Erin said...

Lauren-my son is 9 1/2. He was born there and was at the same elementary school from Pre-K through most of 4th grade. He was sad to leave the only home he ever knew, but is thriving here. He says this school is much better than his old one, so I am very happy about that!

Anonymous said...

Wow, 12 years at one post, how did you do that (smile). I guess we were the other side of the spectrum 14 years and 5 PCS's and 4 different countries. We were lucky enough to be here for 4 years so my son can graduate next year with his friends he started Highschool with even if it means hubby has to drive 2 hours each way..just shows the diversity of all of the military family..all our different experiences. We are planning for our 6th PCS's after our son graduates next of luck at your new home.