What You Need to Know About Being Stationed at Fort Leonard Wood
Happy to have this guest post by Sierra on being stationed at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. Please visit my Duty station guest post page for blog posts on other locations or more information about how you can write a guest post about where you have been stationed.
I’ve seen it time and time again, spouses who received orders to Fort Leonard Wood FREAK OUT in the spouse forums. Then, the negative comments roll in. I mean, they really paint Fort Leonard Wood A.K.A Fort Lost in The Woods as the worst duty station ever!
“There is NOTHING to do there”
“You’re land locked in Middle America, it’s HORRIBLE”
“The Post Is So Small, You’ll HATE it”
So, in true Positive Patty Fashion, I am here to offer the unpopular opinion about Fort Leonard Wood and I am hoping to let the “New Spouse in Town” know that it’s not all bad after all. We lived in Fort Leonard Wood for 3 years and they were quite honestly the BEST 3 years of our lives!
Fort Leonard Wood is one of the MOST family friendly duty stations.
One of the things that I loved so much about Fort Leonard Wood is how family oriented it was. Everyone knew each other from the top to the bottom of the COC. Organizational days were often and they always made sure to include family members in the fun day festivities. Most holidays you can count on a family oriented celebration (My Favorite is the 4th of July Concert and Firework show) but even on a regular basis, MWR did an amazing job with having events planned. ACS was also amazing. When I was pregnant, they offered free parenting classes for 6 weeks that ended in an Army baby shower.
The post is small which means it is easy to find your way as a newbie. I have heard horror stories about the bigger bases like Fort Hood, Riley and Bragg but in less than a week, you’ll be able to navigate your way through post like a champ. It’s pretty simple North (Main) gate exits to St. Robert and West Gate exits to Waynesville. South and East gate are basically never used unless you live outside of them which is RARE.
Speaking of living arrangements, I never lived on post but I absolutely loved living in Waynesville. People who choose to live off post choose between 2 cities which are St. Robert and Waynesville. They should really be one city if you ask me but that’s beside the point. While St. Robert houses Walmart, chain restaurants like Ruby Tuesdays, Cracker Barrel and Starbucks; Waynesville is where all the charm is. In downtown Waynesville, you find more small town shops and eateries. Please be sure to take advantage of those!
By the way, the small- town restaurants and thrift shops absolutely make Fort Leonard Wood as enjoyable as it is. Indulge in them and you will not be disappointed. Some of my favorite restaurants in the area are: Mamma Mia (Greek Cuisine), Purn’s Thai Kitchen and Ichiban Japanese and Small cakes Cupcakery. If these options don’t cut it for you, Rolla is a short 20 min drive and they have tons of more familiar places to eat and shop.
One of the things I could not conclude the Pros without mentioning is how easy it is to advance your education as soldiers and as spouses. The Fort Leonard Wood area is saturated with college and certificate programs that are yellow ribbon or military friendly schools. I am twice a graduate from Drury University and I absolutely loved my experience. All the schools understand the military lifestyle and they are very accommodating when it comes to our everyday needs and schedules.
I am a bit bias because Fort Leonard Wood was my favorite duty station thus far but like every duty station, it has its share of cons
The summer can be extremely hot while the winter can be an uncomfortable cold. While originally from the south I was expecting Missouri to be bone chilling cold, I was pleasantly surprised that it was not. The cold is just uncomfortable and you would prefer to stay indoors. The weather can also be tricky. It can be 36 degrees on Sunday and 77 by Wednesday, you just never know. Also, it tends to rain a lot in the winter and that makes the rain ridiculously icy.
Next is the wildlife. If you’re driving late at night or early in the morning you’ll come across a herd of deer. They are everywhere, both on and off post and unfortunately, they got my husband right before we PCSd. With no one to blame the damage on, we were stuck with the $500 deductible…YIKES! Also, in the summer the bugs can be kind of crazy. We have seen freakishly large spiders and I don’t do bugs well so you can imagine how that turned out!
The last con would be it’s distance from the city. Being a city girl I loved the change of pace but for some this is a real issue. Springfield is 1 ½ hours away, St Louis is 2 hours away, Branson is 2 hours away, Lake of the Ozarks is 1 hour away and Kansas City is 3+ Hours away. If you want to do some real city vacationing you’re going to have to travel for it but for us, it really made our experience in Missouri fun. Most of our fun stories are based on the day trips we took.
I know you’re tired of reading at this point but I really wanted to defend Fort Leonard Wood and give it credit where credit is due. Like any post, there will be good and bad but Military Life is absolutely what you make it. If you’re heading to Fort Leonard Wood and have any additional questions, please feel free to email me at SierraRedmond95@gmail.com.
Sierra Redmond is the creator of The Daily Impressions Lifestyle Blog. On the blog they offer tips, tricks, stories and advice on the topics of Family life, Parenting, Travel and life in the Military. Sierra is a 22-year-old Army Wife and stay at home Blogger/Mompreneur. Catch her on her blog and social media:
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