One question a lot of people have is if it is better to live on post during a deployment or not. Most Military families know that a deployment or even a time of separation is in their future. They have to ask themselves what would be best.
I think that question is a hard one to answer. For some, on post living is best. For others, it is a different story.
Here are a few things to think about when it comes to living on or off post during a deployment-
- When you live on post, you have better access to what the post offers. This really depends on what your own duty station offers and what the city you would be living in offers. For us here at Ft. Campbell, there is a lot to do on post. Since we live off and I didn't want to drive to post everyday, it was not as easy as it is for those that live there. We don't do as much just because it is harder to put in the schedule. During a deployment you should be able to received some free or low-cost items for your kids. Here we only have to pay $2/hour for hourly care and each child gets money towards SKIES programs. Being on post can help you take advantage of these benefits a little easier.
- Where do the majority of your friends live? For our first two deployments we were either on post or in Government leased housing. We were surrounded by Military which meant that a lot of my friends lived right by me and they too were going through deployments. We were all dealing with it together. This made it a lot easier to get together and we could see each other almost daily without too much trouble. We could make last-minute plans and it wasn't a huge deal. For our 3rd and 4th deployments we lived off post away from others who were going through deployments. I could tell the difference. On the flip side if you have some really amazing neighbors, they might be able to really help you out when your spouse is gone. It just depends on where you live and who you live by.
- It might be best for your to live off post during a deployment if you like your own space. If your spouse is deployed, you might not even need to go on post very often. Some people need that break from the daily Military life. If you own your own home you might enjoy working on your house while your spouse is gone. You have a lot more freedom then you do on post. If your servicemember is planning to ETS right after the deployment, you might even decide to take the kids and move to where you plan to live after the Military.
I know for myself that if I was going to have to do it over again, I would most likely want to be on post for a deployment. I think it makes it a little easier for everyone. I would have better access to the activities and people that would help be get through the deployment.
What do you think based on your own experiences?
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