Duty stations are such a popular topic. People always want to know everything about where they are going to PCS or the differences in duty stations. They want to know all about the best duty stations and the worst duty stations.
I have thought about making a list of the 10 worst duty stations for a while. I know there are certain places where people just dread going, and maybe for good reason. These places aren’t the ideal, especially when you could get stationed at some amazing places.
However, I also strongly believe that you can “bloom where you are stationed” anywhere you might end up. That doesn’t mean you have to love your duty station, but that you don’t have to spend every day hating it, and that there are things to love about every place you might go.
So…what makes something the “worst” duty station? How can you get past that feeling? Well…here you go:
- The duty station where your best friend just moved away from
Finding your military spouse BFF is the best, but when that happens, something else will too, your best friend will probably have to move away at some point. And if they don’t, you do. And that sucks.
What can you do to help? Stay connected with them, even over the miles. Work to meet new people. And remember all those precious mememorues you have had togetger.
- The duty station far from your family
Being away from family can be difficult for some people, especially if this is your first duty station. But there is something special about being out on your own, and making somewhere new your home. Try not to dwell on feeling homesick so much and work to find a place in your new location.
- The duty station you can’t find a job
You have worked hard, went to college, and as soon as it was time for you to find a job, your service member spouse gets orders overseas. Now there is no way to find a job in your field. This can be so frustrating.
You can stay behind, but that isn’t an option for most families. You can look and see what volunteer jobs you can get at your new duty station that you can add to your resume. You can think outside the box and try something different, or even work hard to find that ideal job, despite the difficulties of finding one where you are currently living.
- The duty station that deploys your spouse too much
One question that comes up a lot is “how often is my spouse going to deploy if we PCS to this duty station” but that question is hard to answer. The number of times they deploy, how long they are gone, and anything to do with deployments depends on a lot of factors.
The best thing to do if your spouse is going to deploy a lot is find a good friend circle, fill up your calendars as much as you can, and know you are not alone in this.
- The duty station with awful housing
Sometimes there is nothing you can do about bad housing at your duty station. You just have to deal with it, and try to make it your own. On the other hand, you might be able to move, either somewhere else on-post or off-post. Check out your options and go from there.
- The duty station where you just can’t find your people
You assume that once you move to your new duty station, you will eventually find a fun friend group like you had before. But after a couple of months, it seems like you aren’t going to find your people. This is something we military spouses can struggle with.
If you find yourself in this position, make sure you are getting out there on a regular basis and trying to meet new people. Sign up for things you are interested in, take the kids to playgroups, and be friendly with those you meet when you are out and about.
- The duty station that seems too expensive
There are a few places you could get stationed that will cost more than other places. This can be frustrating. Housing off-post might seem like too much or you might feel like your family can’t go out and do anything because of the costs.
Make sure you are doing your budget every month, find ways to save, and look for fun free events going on in your community.
- The duty station you didn’t think you would end up
Maybe you just assumed you would always stay in the south, but now here you are on an airplane headed to Hawaii. And you are terrified.
Anything out of your comfort zone can be scary, but think of your new duty station as an adventure. Read up on the fun you can have where you are going, or the experiences of people who have lived there. And trust yourself to make the most out of your stay.
- The duty station no one has ever heard of
Sometimes your spouse will get orders to a place no one has ever heard of. These can be smaller duty stations, or more specialty based and because of that, you can’t find much information on them. If you need to know about Fort Hood or Fort Campbell there is a ton of information out there but not so much on a duty station most people have never heard of.
See if you can connect with the FRG (if they have one) or other spouses in your service member’s new unit. If you do have to go in without knowing too much, see what your post or base has available to you to get to know the area. They might have a newcomers class you can join.
- The duty station you have been before and didn’t want to return
Maybe you were stationed somewhere for a few years and hated it. Then you left. Now five years have gone by and guess what? Your spouse just received orders to go back. You are filled with dread.
But remember, the duty station you left in 2014 is going to be different than the one you PCS to today. Duty stations change, people move in and then move away, you could have a completely different experience in the same place. Do not assume that your first time there will be exactly like
What makes or breaks a duty station for you?