Picking your next duty assignment isn’t always possible. Once your service member has orders, your new duty station could be considered a blessing or a curse, depending on what seems like luck of the draw. Keep in mind; your attitude can make all the difference. Summer is the busiest moving season. In that spirit, I asked fellow military spouses and military bloggers to share what duty station they enjoyed the most. I also asked where they would choose to be assigned to if they could have their pick. Out of 100 responses from fellow military families, here is what they shared (including my favorite).
Places to consider for your Duty Station Wish List or Hotlist:
Julie: I always would have wanted to go to Hawaii. I visited there once and I think it would have been quite the experience and not a place we would have otherwise been able to move to.
Alejandra: We left Hawaii less than 3 months ago, and I'm already dying to go back. I'm trying to convince my husband that we need to retire there! It's not the perfect duty station for everyone, due to cost of living, traffic, distance from family, and lack of seasons. [Schofield]
Elizabeth: Hawaii hands down! Which is funny because at first I hated living there. Now we're desperately trying to go back!
Jennifer: Embracing what the island has to offer was key for me. I had to stop comparing it to the mainland and now, I cannot wait to go back. We created a bucket list and it really made me fall in love with the islands.
Colorado Springs, CO
Janelle: Colorado Springs, hands down! I so wish we could go back…There are two other Air Force bases there as well (Peterson and Schreiver) and an Army post (Ft. Carson). The city is amazing - lots of nature, free things to do, ways to entertain guests, and so many local, non-chain restaurants! We want to end up there post-military life for sure!
Bailey: I would pick Charleston, SC or Colorado Springs, CO hands-down! I've visited both cities and loved them! I love the history and "Southernness" of Charleston (plus the close proximity to beaches) and the many activities to do (especially outdoors) in Colorado Springs ... I'm still holding out hope for Ft. Carson someday.
Lizann: Our favorite was definitely NS Rota, Spain. Spanish culture was a big adjustment, but so fun and beautiful and we really miss it. I wrote the book Welcome to Rota to help families move there and adjust easily, and get the most out of local day trips. I should add the caveat that when we were there, my husband did not deploy, but for most Navy families it is a deployable station. That might change the experience for some!
Heather: Travel opportunities, culture, food, friendships. I miss EVERYTHING about it. Made some of my closest friends there, learned the language, traveled all over Europe and parts of Africa. The local customs are so freaking cool. The shopping is amazing. The weather is perfect.
Bree: We left Hawaii last year, but would love to go back and be stationed on Kauai this time. Our chances of going back are low, but we are in Monterey right now, and it's pretty amazing!
Kelly: A little bit of heaven and tons of friends from all different services. Beautiful scenery, hikes, food, beaches. Some people say they miss swimming in the ocean but it was okay too just go play down there.
Okinawa/ Yokosuka, Japan
Laura: Technically not 1 base... but Okinawa, Japan as a duty station is amazing!! The Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps have bases here, which is something very different being surrounded by people from different branches… It is also great for traveling around Asia during your tour! We've lived here almost 5 years and LOVE it! There is surprisingly a lot to do here, for it being such a small island. It is also a really great place to raise kids, it is super safe and they have some of the best playgrounds ever!
Ann: Yokosuka. Japan is incredibly safe, unmatched customer service, extremely easy to use and beyond efficient public transportation, fantastic food of every ethnic variety you can think of, amazing travel opportunities, everyday you leave the base is an adventure. It's an amazing cultural mix of old and new. Shopping, especially shrine sales, exploring, great jumping off point for travel in other Asian countries.
Fran: we're currently at what's quickly becoming my favorite place ever. Only one month in, Germany has already stolen my heart. I love how nice the locals are, grocery shopping in the economy is cheap and you can try so many new foods, the food here is yummy, and overall just really love it here.
Courtney: The Kaiserslautern Military Community in Germany is pretty amazing! … I had a rough start to life at this duty station, but now we are doing our best to stay here as long as we can! (Check out Courtney’s other post in Community here)
Erin: Geilenkirchen Germany. Amazing. Tiny NATO base right on the Dutch border. I'd go back tomorrrow! 4 hours from Paris, 2.5 to Amsterdam and Bastogne was just under 2.
Newport, Rhode Island (Naval War College)
You all may laugh, but my favorite duty station so far is our current, Lemoore California. It often makes the lists of worst places to be assigned to, but I am embracing it as a wonderful place to raise young children and have been taking advantage of its central location in California to explore the state!
An overwhelming theme of responses from the military spouses I spoke to, expressed a duty station is what you make of it! You can live on the most beautiful beach in Hawaii and if you don’t have the right attitude, cannot enjoy your time there at all. This goes for less than desirable assignments too. No matter where you live, get out, explore and make the most of your duty station because you never know what you will have missed!
Please share your favorite duty assignment in the comments or join the discussion here! Is your family moving this summer? Where are you headed?
About the Blogger: Briana Hartzell is a Navy spouse, mother to two beautiful girls (3 years and 1 year), a former full time USAA employee and a graduate of Texas A&M University. Briana writes at Being Briana, a blog focused on the joys that military life and parenthood can bring.
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