When we went in to talk to a recruiter back in 2005, one of the things he told us that has always stuck with me was the advice to live in Military housing at least once. Being so new to the Military I really didn’t know what to expect. Our first duty station together was in Germany and it only made sense to live on post there.
We arrived in March of 2006 (can’t believe that was almost ten years ago) and moved into Army housing. They put us on the 3rd floor of a stairwell apartment in an older building that was very European. We got lucky because our unit had been redone recently and we had our own washer and dryer in our bathroom. For the units that didn’t, they had to do their wash in the basement. Our apartment was small and was on the 3rd floor but it seemed perfect to us at the time. At least, until we had another baby.
One of my first memories of Military housing was hearing two wives talk with each other across the road. It was loud and I couldn’t believe they were doing that. There were also a lot of parties late into the night and a lot of noise. I was not new to apartment living but Military housing was so different then anything else I had experienced.
There are good things about living in Military housing and bad things about living in Military housing. There are many benefits that I missed after we lived off post. There are other things I was glad to leave behind. Overall, I think the recruiter’s advice was right on. It is a good idea to live on post at least once. Why?
To be surrounded by the Military Community
When you live in Military housing, you will be surrounded by other Military families. Your kids will go to school with our Military kids. You will be more likely to shop at the PX and Commissary on a regular basis. You will get a good feeling for the Military community. This will stay with you for the rest of your time as a Military Spouse and that is a good thing. It will allow you to feel a part of everything even if you decide to live off post in the future.
To meet other Military families on a daily basis
Because you will be on post you will always be meeting new Military families. If you see a moving truck in your neighborhood, you don’t have to wonder if they are Military or not. It is easier for you to attend events on post and there you will continue to meet other people. If you are in need of more Military friends, living on post is the way to go. You will always be meeting people associated with the Military.
To know how a Military post works
One thing you will learn after living on a Military post is how it works. You will hear Reveille and Retreat in the morning and evening and will know what to do when you hear it. Your kids will know what to do. After living off post, I realized we are not usually on post when that happens and I miss hearing it. You will get used to watching the service members run around post during PT or going for a lunch break. You will get used to all of this during your time in Military housing and it will be nice to look back on that time with good memories.
To make life a little easier during deployments
Deployments are usually easier if you live on post vs off. This isn’t always the case of course but there is something to be said about living around people whose spouse is also deployed or who have been through it before. When we were in Schweinfurt, our first duty station, almost everyone there had their husband deployed at the same time. This mean we had more people to walk through the deployment with. It was something our whole community went through together. My deployments when we have lived off post were different and I just didn’t feel as connected to others going through the same thing.
If you are not sure if you should live on post or not, think about the benefits and how doing so can help you understand the Military and Military life in general. Some people do have really good experiences off post as well. It really depends on what you are comfortable with and what you want to experience as well as where you are stationed.
In the end, I would tell you to live in Military housing if you get the chance. If you hate it, you never have to do it again but at least, you will have had that experience.
Have you ever lived in Military housing? Did you like it? Hate it?