I’ve been a military spouse for quite some time, so when my husband is asked to make a duty station assignment dream sheet, my eyes glaze over a little right before they land in a reluctant roll. We’ve never gotten our first choice, so the whole ordeal feels like a waste of time.
Time that could be better spent eating cookies.
Even though we’ve never gone where we thought we wanted to go, we’ve always enjoyed where we’ve been assigned. At some point, the military will ask you and your service member to create a duty station “dream sheet” of all the wonderful installations you’d like to see yourselves at.
But which do you choose? How do you even go about deciding? I’m here to make your life a little easier. If you’re new to the whole process, I’ve developed a list of pros and cons of installations and their areas to help you navigate the task of choosing what goes on the inevitable dream list.
1. Joint-Base Lewis McChord in Sunny Washington
- The Puget Sound provides the ultimate background for pictures of yourself in fashionable leggings and a whimsical scarf for your Facebook page. Your out-of-state friends will be in awe.
- The summers are incredible. With an early sunrise and a late sunset, everyone hits the outdoors. You’ll run into all the neighbors you never knew you had.
- If you love coffee, you’ll love Washington.
- If you’ve ever tried to scrape peanut butter out of your hair, you’ll understand what it’s like to pooper scoop your dog’s poo in your backyard grass.
- The bottom five inches of your jeans will always be wet. Either accept this fact or go crazy trying to change it.
- If the I-5 is delayed or closed, your day will be, too.
2. Hawaii: Paradise or a Place to See Tourists in Swim Wear?
- Spam Misube
- No shoes? No shirt? No problem.
- It’s literally a tropical paradise vacation spot for the rest of the world, and you’re being paid to live there. Soak it up.
- There are no snakes on any of the islands.
- Spam Misube
- Hopefully you like sunny and 78 degrees, because the weather doesn’t stray from this all year.
- Make sure you carry a bottle of vinegar when you’re at the beach because those jelly fish sting.
3. Fort Huachuca, Arizona: It’s a Dry Heat
- Lots of sun means tanning without any effort. My legs haven’t looked that nice since moving.
- On post and off, no one needs to worry about keeping up with yard work. Every house is landscaped with rocks. Seriously.
- Arizona has some of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen.
- You’re an hour away from the nearest Costco.
- You’ll meet some creepy critters waltzing over your tiles at night. Think centipedes, scorpions, and spiders that make a living under your couch.
4. Alaska: Like Frozen, It’s cold, Beautiful, and a Little Bit Weird
- If you like Hipsters or beards or Hipsters with beards, there are thousands of them in Alaska. Thankfully, they’re willing to help you as you acclimate to Alaskan ways—and look cool doing it.
- The wildlife is unlike anything you will experience, and the salmon fishing is fantastic. Don’t worry, bear repellent spray is real, and it’s sold in most gas stations.
- You can put your name on the list to have road kill dropped off at your house. They will butcher it and freeze it for you, too.
- Eventually you’ll have to buy a wool skirt to fit in.
- The weird sun cycle, but you already knew that.
- You and Amazon will forge a dangerous co-dependent relationship.
5. Fort Bragg, North Carolina: Where the Sweet Tea Flows Like Wine
- If you’re old like me and remember One Tree Hill and Dawson’s Creek, you can visit the studios where they were filmed. Whether you take pictures as a dedicated fan or picket outside the studio in defense of actual decent TV, you’re sure to enjoy your time.
- It’s an expansive, hulking, beastly post. Because of this, there is more to do, more to see, and everything you need right there. Plus, you can go out and watch the paratroopers jump.
- Four words: Fantasy Lake Water Park
- The big ones that scurry across your kitchen counter only to stop, peer at you, and wave their antennae at you menacingly. Oh, and they fly.
- It can be sweaty and sticky. You’ll know which girls to be friends with—the ones who always have ponytails. No shame when it’s humid.
- Crowded beaches.
Hyperboles are fun, aren’t they?
Obviously there are many other installations. Where have you been? What would be on your pro/con list?We want to hear all about it! Leave a comment.
Want more info about duty stations world wide? Check out all of our input over at Post with the Most.