My husband and I are brand-spanking- new to military life. His first pcs will be Great Lakes, IL. There's a lot of information to absorb and it feels overwhelming to know we'll be living on our own soon. I'm nervous about the move, especially because we have a young child and a pet coming with us. What were some of the things you did to help prepare yourselves for a move and help relieve the anxiety that comes with it? I'd be grateful for any tips, advice, etc. Thanks.


I lived and worked on Great Lakes for 3 years. Nice area not far from Chicago (you can catch the train). If you can get base housing that would be awsome. They have been re-modeling since 2007 so a lot of the housing is new. I hope you like the snow, winters do get cold. There is a Vet Clinic on base so your pets are in good hands. Contact base housing to get on the list if you haven't already. You can stay in the base hotel for 14 days once you get there. Six Flags is about 15 miles away get season passes. Hope this helps good luck!!
First off - enjoy the process. If your child is very young, draw pictures with them about the new home. It doesn't have to be exact. It does have to be an adventure! If they are old enough to understand (toddler) just talk to them about all the new friends they will have. Your child will rely on you to determine how to react to the move. This won't be the last move - so start young on the big adventure! I have had four PCS moves to GL and each time was different - but all fun. As for your pet - watch the winters. If the pet is not use to snow, you may want to consider snow boots. I know that sounds crazy - but it isn't the snow you have to worry about - it's the cold and ice.
I was stationed in Great Lakes twice, yes I would highly recommend base housing. Although I lived for a year in Kenosha, WI which is a 30 minute drive (Check that- its been awhile) or a nice train ride into base. But, again why I think base housing will be right for you. 1. You don't pay rent, utilities, trash... all is included as part of BAH (which means ample heat in the winter and A/C in the summer without worrying about those bills). 2. You are provided fridge, washer/dryer, probably even dishwasher. 3. The military child development centers are awesome, some even have special programs if dad is deployed or something. 4. You will be around many other families that are welcoming to a new family. Some may be just like you and brand new to the process and some have been in awhile and can teach you everything you need to know. 5. Most bases, more than likely GL have vet clinics so your whole family can get all their medical needs through the military services provided, and base housing allows most dogs without any problems. Good luck in your move and I hope I was some help.
I grew up by Great Lakes and spent the first 20 years of my life in the area. I can't wait to move back after my time in the Air Force is up! There are so many great things to do, both in the local area and with fairly easy access to Chicago. There are world class restaurants, plenty of shopping, professional sports teams, and loads of museums to keep you occupied in your free time. As far as your move is concerned, try to focus on the positives to avoid stressing out. You'll be moving to the suburban area of one of the most beautiful downtown cities in the world and there are so many things to look forward to in a new area. Compared to the previous two stations I've been at, being at Great Lakes is a huge win. The Lake County schools are fantastic and the suburbs nearby (Gurnee, Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, and my hometown Libertyville) are low crime with beautiful housing. The winter weather (except for this year) is typically somewhat cold and expect a decent amount of snow several times a season. Good luck and enjoy your time there! I envy you both!