My DH is considering joing the Air Force. We are considering it for both job security and financial reasons as well as his desire to have a rewarding career. I am curious as to what military life is like. We have a 3 month old daughter and I want to do what is best for her. Do the positives outweigh the negatives. I am not naive. I realize it isn't for everybody and is a very hard lifestyle but I would like to hear your oppinions....good or bad. Should we do it?Answer Question
Answer by xxprittykittyxx at 12:53 PM on Jan. 12, 2009
Answer by CooksWife at 12:54 PM on Jan. 12, 2009
So if you and dh are from the same town, you are already off to a good start, lol. My husband and I are both from suburban Atlanta. We met through mutual friends from hs. The great thing about this is that we both have common goals on where we want to retire to (he is going for the full 20 years) and where we would like to be stationed. Sometimes when couples are from different areas it's easier because they have more options to be close to family, but often different goals about settling down afterwards. As far as benefits I can only tell you what the Army does: We have completely free health care. I mean if I go on post, I don't pay a dime even for Tylenol. And I was able to take a class to request things like Tylenol, Motrin, benadryl, you name it for free from the pharmacy. Basically I didn't pay for any OTC or RX medication.
Answer by CooksWife at 1:51 PM on Jan. 12, 2009
Our vision is okay- I get free yearly eye exams and I can take rx on post for very discounted prices on glasses/contacts. Dental is so so. It's an 80/20 plan with a 1200 yearly max that insurance will pay out. Commissary benefit is AWESOME> you pay a small fee (less than you would for taxes off post) for the upkeep of the commissary. Inside? You can save 30-45 percent on groceries depending on what you buy and what grade of product you usually expect. The commissary at our first post had better steaks than the private butchers imo. The salmon was the best you could find for miles. I used to play "Guess How Much" (in my CM group) with my groceries and was able to save A LOT. Also vendors visit the commissary and leave coupons on every aisle.
Answer by CooksWife at 1:55 PM on Jan. 12, 2009
I once paid 13 cents for a pack of Ziplock brand bags :) And I have purchased a whole young chicken (made two meals off of) for 84 cents. Some stuff I have gotten completely free- like a case lot sale on handisnacks that had coupons equal to the sale price. I got a whole case for completely free. Then there is the px. Everything is tax free and there is no extra upkeep fee on your totals there. It sells name brand clothing, shoes, electronics, like a Walmart but with UnionBay or Nike wear. It's great for Christmas for the family! Hubs and I got a 47" plasma tv over a year ago for 600 bucks... They have amazing sales and offer you a military star card which has fairly low interest rates and is very understanding of deployment etc. Basically, shopping in the military rocks :)
Answer by CooksWife at 1:58 PM on Jan. 12, 2009
Most of the AF bases I have known are close to big cities. Army stations people a bit more remote. We have done a lot of small town living (which is different from Atlanta suburbia for us) but it has been nice too. The housing is either paid for directly if you live on post- or you can choose to live off post and get the money yourself- a basic allowance for housing. We live under the price of our BAH so we bank the extra money. On post housing is great or horrible depending on where you go- and there can be a wait to get into it. It's best to call and talk with someone from housing before you move. Find out how long the wait is and see if you can get pictures of the area- maybe contact some CM moms and get reviews.
Answer by CooksWife at 2:02 PM on Jan. 12, 2009
You don't have to worry like other professions- if your husband will still have a job in a few months. And there can be large bonuses for sign on and reenlistment's. If your husband is deployed and reenlists, that money is tax free. So is any money he makes overseas. And you get extra pay for during the deployment, family separation pay, hazardous duty pay, etc. Does the money help the heart ache? No. Not at all. Miss my husband is the lowest, hardest, most isolating things. I hate it. But at least I can be proud of what he is doing, kwim? And I can say that I am married to a man who is doing what he loves. Some MOS (military occupational skills) are more risky than others... some get bigger bonuses or have better odds of promotion. These are things to consider when making the choice. They will give a test to see what jobs are available to each individual based on scores and openings within those positions.
Answer by CooksWife at 2:06 PM on Jan. 12, 2009
As far as kids? Well it depends. My oldest had a really hard time when Daddy went to training this summer. He just turned two in Dec. He had trouble readjusting to Daddy being home too. And even now I notice him act out more on a the first couple days hubs is back to work after a long weekend etc. The kids do have a hard time with it. It's part of why I stay home. I am the stability for our little ones. And there are things you can do like encouraging Daddy time when your hubs comes back from being away- while still being patient and not taking it personally when the kids take a bit to warm up. It's great because in the Army they have tons of support to help with these adjustments.
Answer by CooksWife at 2:10 PM on Jan. 12, 2009
I have never been left high and dry with unanswered questions or resources to cope, kwim? There are support groups- chain of command that is specifically in place to help family members- even military one source (google it) to help with just about any thing. There are often unanswered questions about where you will be in the next duty station, and things can come up and surprise you- I have known many people to get orders to change duty stations with little notice to move. But in the Army they come and pack you up and move your stuff for you- so even that is easier than it could be. Sometimes you can even make money off a move if you plan it right.
Answer by CooksWife at 2:16 PM on Jan. 12, 2009
Should you do it? Idk. It's something you should not only talk about as a small family- but with your larger family and friends as well. I can't count how much we have asked our family for help - I stayed with mil and fil this summer while hubs was training- both baby boys and myself there for three months (good think I love my ILs so much! lol) And you will have more success if you have a supportive home base- although that is jmo. I know I probably wrote too much- lol. I love being a military wife But it is hard sometimes. And I do have my less optimistic moments. But I am a pretty tough cookie and can hold my own. Mostly I love supporting my husband at a job that has so much opportunity and security. Hope that helps! Feel free to ask me anything else :) If I didnt' talk your ear off enough already! *Sorry!
Answer by CooksWife at 2:19 PM on Jan. 12, 2009