10 Places You Must Find When You First Get To Your New Military Duty Station
The day after we flew into Germany my husband had to go to work. He left about 5am in the morning. I was so tired that day and the world seemed like a dream. Jet lag is no joke and I was going through it with my 18-month-old. I wanted to get out and explore but I was a bit nervous about doing so. Imagine my surprise when my husband got home that night and told me the Commissary was just a short walk from our apartment.
When you first move to a new duty station, everything is going to be new. Even if you have lived on a military base before, you don’t know your new one yet.
Here are 10 places you should find when you first get to your new military duty station.
1. The Commissary- You are going to want to know where you can buy groceries at your new duty station. If you are in the US, you will be able to get American food off-post as well. If you are stationed overseas, you probably won’t and you will want to know where to go to get it. Once you figure that out you should explore local groceries because you can find some fun regional foods there to add to your weekly shopping.
2. The PX- The PX/BX is like a Walmart but on a military post and tax-free. They have furniture, snacks, drinks, clothing, toys and more. Find out where the PX is and if there is more than one. Our first duty station had a small PX and a PXextra in a different location.
3. The Library- Finding the library is a good idea. You can get things set up so you can check out books and if you have kids you can find out about story time or any programs they might offer. Most duty stations have one and then you should also see what the local off-post community has to offer as well.
4. The Chapel- If you are religious you are going to want to find the chapel. They might offer other programs such as MOPS, PWOC, and Awanas. Some chapels also offer a VBS in the summer time. Chapels don’t just have Protestant Christian services but provide worship times for a variety of religious beliefs.
5. ACS- ACS stands for “Army Community Service.” ACS provides a lot for people getting ready for a deployment, during deployment and post-deployment. They can also offer you information on FRGs, education, financial advice, relocation information and volunteer opportunities. The ACS will also host a lot of events. ACS is a great resource for those who are brand new to the military as well as those who have been in a long time. Although this program is for the Army, there should be similar programs with different names for each branch.
6. MWR- MWR stands for “Morale, Welfare, and Recreation.” They are a quality of life program for Soldiers and their families. They provide a lot of activities for kids, CYS which is the affordable childcare program, lodging, libraries, entertainment and other events. It would be a great idea to follow their page on Facebook if they have one so you can hear about the events that they have going on. The MWR is a great way to find things to do that can help you meet other people at your new duty station.
7. Your Spouse’s Unit- This is a must. Learn where your spouse goes to work. Learn the unit and a general idea of what they do. When you don’t know this information, it can confuse things. There are reasons you will have to go to the unit and it is best to know where that is. Your FRG meetings might be there too.
8. Parks- Parks are important. Most military installations have them. Find them and enjoy what they have to offer. This is especially true when you have kids. Find the local parks and save your sanity.
9. The Hospital or Clinic- You will need to know where to go in case of emergency as well as when you need to go to an appointment. Learn where to go, where to park and when you have to go there you will know what to do.
10. Restaurants- Some military posts have more restaurants that others. There should be some fast food near the PX. There might be a few stand-alone places. The best restaurants on post where when we lived in Germany. We had an amazing German bakery and a restaurant that served German food. These places are great to go and meet your spouse on their lunch break.
When you first pcs somewhere, there is going to be a learning curve. You will need to take the time to find out where things are. Have fun with it and enjoy your new location.