Saturday, May 29, 2010

Home is Where the Army is taking forever to send us..

Hmmm if home is where the Army takes us I am starting to think the Army doesn't want me in Germany...oooo how I hate you command sponsorship..It has been sitting on the Battalion Commanders desk for a week plus ok more like 2 weeks..just the one signature left and there is a change of command my husband asked his S1 if it would be signed before the Battalion CO changes and the answer was probably not..ugh so that means who knows when the new Battalion Commander will sign it...and to top it off my landlord told me she wants me out by June 30th because her kid is moving back to town lucky for them my leave is up...
Now I am wondering if my husband should just go ahead and schedule a HHG move at single no dependents weight just to get the stuff out of the house because I am going to be homeless come July 1st..most likely moving into a hotel with 5 kids until CS gets signed...I am beyond frustrated they told my husband that there was no reason that we wouldn't be there by the end of June but that was prior to this whole wasted 2 weeks with the Battalion Commander... I just don't understand why they make it so difficult I did the efmp, I have my nofees, everything is signed except the battalion commander..I have no idea what I am going to do if I have to move all my stuff by myself and then dish out money we don't have to stay in a hotel for god knows how long..I am not a quitter or a crier but I feel like doing

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The things that got me through my husbands BCT & AIT

in all honesty I shared my story so other new Army wives don't end up with misinformation like we did so by the time your husband is done with AIT and he were to get overseas you'll be so damn prepared you could walk through the process blind folded.. best advice for BCT is 1. they say reception is 1 week long that is not necessarily true it could be longer before he actually starts Basic training 2. The amount and length of phone calls during BCT are not a representation of calls that you will get during actual BCT 3. It's better to be prepared for no phone calls Sunday or once a week calls are not a guarantee phone calls are a privilege & are earned as a platoon & are completely up to the DS's ..I got 5 four min calls when my husband was in BCT..look at each phone call as a gift cherish it..but don't spend all your time waiting for life, have fun, enjoy your kids, friends, family just keep living ..if you sit around waiting the time goes slower..keep the end goal in sight that is him graduating and seeing you at fam/grad day and AIT is sooo much better lol

actually it is a good thing you asked about should get his first pay 1 month after leaves so if he leaves home June 20th his first check would be July 1st..
As long as he fills out everything correctly you will get BAH immediately separation pay kicks in after he has been gone 30 days so most likely check number 2 possibly check number 1...He does get a food allowance but the entire amount is deducted while he is in BCT since they are feeding him & during AIT they take all of it but $30 or so...
the first couple checks fluctuate sometimes the first check is bigger don't count on that as being an accurate
taxes come off of his base pay they also take out $100 for the GI BILL
make a budget & make sure if you are planning on going to Grad that you set money aside for it...don't know where you bank but while my husband was in BCT I opened a joint account online at USAA it's geared for military families they are great..anyways I then just deposited extra money into it and eventually we will change our direct deposit over to it..I get our car, renters insurance through them...if you decide to open an acct you need to sign up as if you are your husband it makes it easier....
.1 big thing that made my husband super happy while he was in BCT is the day after he left I went to the dollar store and purchased 2 greeting cards for every week he'd be gone for BCT I love you, I miss you, thinking of you, plus any holidays he'd miss get the idea anyways I sent 1 out every monday and friday on top of regular mail...
your husband has to do push ups for mail so your first thought is I will combine mail or not send him as much well that is WRONG the more mail he gets the more push ups he has to do which builds his stamina and endurance my husband was the older guy at 29 he never once failed a physical you can't be there to cheer your husband on or help him physically but you can make sure he is getting all the love, support, encouragement and cheerleading via letters and cards...
BCT is hard emotionally & physically your job is to make sure he knows how proud of him you and the kids are..So you write him, kids write him or draw can send him a small photo album of pics..also he should take his cell phone they will take it from him at first but then give it back to him when they are allowed phone calls..guys with cell phones are able to call home easier cause they don't have to wait in line for the land line phones..

Monday, May 10, 2010

PCSing Advice to keep yourself busy

I bought a notebook before my husband got orders I did research on the Posts he was more likely to get based on his MOS I made a note of the housing office phone number, zip code, BAH or OHA amounts, I browsed the housing site and made notes for each Post if they had nice housing or housing or areas that should be avoided..
then when my husband got orders I was able to flip right to the page and already had info on the new Post..

The fine art of being a Planner in a system where there is no plan..or where you are told when, what, where & how when they get around to it..the Military life
My tip is be a list maker..take 2 pages of your notebook and break it down to stateside PCSing and Overseas PCSing..
Go through your home and list what you want to keep, get rid of & things you might like to buy new 1 for stateside and 1 for overseas..I will tell you it made things easier for me when my husband got his orders to Germany I just flipped to my notebook page marked overseas and have been crossing things off as I go..

I also advise that while your soldiers are in BCT or AIT that you get regular passports..because if you wait until they get orders overseas then you are looking at close to $100 per person for each adds up quickly

additional expenses that you might want to consider and plan for
If you rent you will have to get your carpets cleaned

If you are shipping a POV overseas to Germany your car has to pass an inspection before you can pick it up at Port so you might want to consider this before car repairs will be cheaper in the USA..
Oil change, Wipers, Tires & fluid name a few

in Germany you can get an APO address up to a month before your due to arrive at the gaining unit can ship flat rate USPS boxes to your APO addy for the flat rate costs..
Items to send sheets,pillow cases, towels, blankets (these things are not provided when you get there while awaiting your HHG) as for pillows it's cheaper to get them over there at the PX..
you might also want to send some toys, games or art supplies..something to entertain your kids when you finally arrive at your new Post..
Some tips I just got from a seasoned Army wife..
You should plan now on having about 3-4 "groups or piles". You will have stuff that you will be taking with you such as some clothes you will be taking with you, all your important papers and documents, books and stuff for airplane. 2nd group: The items that you will need asap called Ho Baggage. This should be dishes, towels, bedding, silverware, ... See More extra clothes, pots, pans, etc. This shipment will be shorter than your house hold good shipment. 3rd group: Anything that you want to go into storage: Washer/Dryer, Any appliances I recommend not bring anything like toaster, microwave, blender, etc. Depending on the type of housing you get. If you live on the economy, you will have to buy the most expensive transformer to use your American appliances and it goes for about $200-$250 dollars each. We brought all German appliances when we got there. And in stairwell housing they have a washer/dryer for everyone to use. Government Leased housing, you will be provided with your own washer/dryer and on the economy you will have to purchase a German Washer/Dryer. 4th Group: will be everything else that will be considered your household good shipment. This can take up to 60 days to get to you. You are allowed so much weight for Ho Baggage. And you are allowed so much weight for Household Goods Shipment combined with what you put in Storage. Other advice to offer: make sure they don't pack your garbage, they will if you don't put it outside or put a note not to. Tip 2: Once there buy the book: Never a Dull Moment, This lists almost every village in Germany and what they offer, restaurants, hours open, directions, etc. (its in English and you can find it at the Bookmark). Tip 3: Travel, Travel, Travel. You will hate Germany if you don't see something besides the base you are at

Saturday, May 8, 2010

My Command Sponsorship nightmare

Not sure where to start this tornado but I am good with the time line..

April 16th I was seen at Malmstrom Air Force Base by an AF Colonel who performed EFMP physicals & reviewed my daughters as well as my complete medical records...birth to present date, including, eye Dr, Dental, OBGYN as well as ENT Specialist I had complete well as school records She then faxed the forms 5888 & 7246? to Juanna Jarret (sp?) at the fax # that MS. Jarret supplied to me...

On Monday April 19th I called & left a voice mail for Ms. Jarret she called the next day & said she had not received a fax from any AF Colonel, however during our conversation she did find our medical info online in the system and the notes from the Colonel. Ms Jarret Inquired why I saw an AF Dr..I explained to her that I was informed by her office when I called for instructions on how to complete the EFMP overseas screening that I was informed (by her) that I need to be seen at the closest military installation in my case it was 5 hours away and an Air Force base (she said I was Wrong THAT NO ONE in her office would of sent me to JUST any military installation that being Army I should of known it was implied go to an Army post) then she blamed the (NEW GUY) her term..she then asked me the Base name I told Her Malmstrom and she pretty much laughed & implied since she had never heard of that base it must be made up & who is to say that the physicals or signature were really an AF Colonel.. I asked her to just tell me what she needed to get the EFMP done because my husband was going to Germany in 3 weeks and I needed to get Command Sponsorship DONE.
Ms Jarret informed me that I needed to fax her copies of all our medical records as well as have my local pediatrician write on a prescription slip for all my children under 5 that they were not developmentally delayed...that I would need to come to Eustis for a interview I told her I couldn't because I lived in Montana she then said ok your husband needs to come in & I told her he was graduating & leaving the next day after major attitude she said that she would call me back with a date for a phone interview...for May 1st

April 20th Ms Jarret called me and left a voice mail saying that she had received forms via fax from an AF Colonel, everything was in order, they had everything they needed..and that I needed to call her back to set up an appointment to come in to do the interview OK I WAS IRRITATED I called Ms Jarret back and she had NO IDEA that we spoke the day before I refreshed her memory about previous conversation When I tell her I can't come in because I am in Montana she says well your husband will have to come in and Once again I tell her my husband just graduated & was already out of this time she contradicts the voice mail she had just left and says yes I still need to send in prescription slips for little kids about developmental status..
that my 5888 form is no good so she will fill out a new one and have someone named Mrs Shoemaker sign off on..instead of where the AF Colonel signed the we are on the phone she has me respell all of our names & she fills in a new 5888 form at this time she began crossing off things on the 5888 form that was faxed to her by the AF Colonel...she asked birth order of the children, our familiy member prefix numbers or something like tht and birthdates and ages (at the same time complaining that was too many kids) that she understands my frustration and that she will try to get things going to make up for the misinformation & confusion of having me go to the AFB..

I go to the pediatrician get the slips fax them then call & make sure they have arrived (spoke to the new guy) Ms. Jarrets term for him as she blames inconsistencies and misinformation on him even when she is the one talking...The new guy says yes the faxes had arrived I asked him to make sure she gets them and if I could speak with Ms. Jarret he says she wasn't in the office that day..

April 27th Ms. Jarret calls leaves a voice mail once again contradicting herself once again and NO IDEA who I am she says that they received my form 5888 via fax from AF Colonel & that there are problems with it & she didn't think her supervisor Mrs Shoemaker would accept it & that I needed to call back to schedule an appt to come in for an interview by this time my husband is home doing hrap before he was ro leave for Germany..
I called Ms Jarret back & told her that she has repeatedly contradicted herself to me & I just want a straight answer what does she need to get the EFMP done at this time she tells me about how my 5888 form is no good because someone drew lines through things ( she implied the lines might have happened during the fax process or the form was fradualent) I laughed and told her that she put the lines through the form during our last phone conversation & that she said while we spoke that she was filling out a new 5888 form for me ..Ms Jarret pretty much said I was a liar and that she did not have the AUTHORITY to fill out a new 5888 form and she WOULD NEVER do that 20 mins of arguing she exclaims " oh I have 2 5888 forms for your family, why do I have 2 forms?" I said because YOU were filling out a new one..she then goes "OH NOW I KNOW WHAT I WAS DOING" she then proceeds to tell me my attitude isn't going to speed up the process & that she didn't know if her supervisor Mrs Shoemaker would sign off on the paper work because it has lines through it..She then gave me attitude because the only address we were given to have the paper work sent to was her so she FINALLY set up a phone interview APPT for May 10th..yes I lost 10 days while she went BI POLAR with my EFMP forms..

All I wanted was to complete this EFMP process & get Command Sponsorship.. I am not upset that my husband was misimformed at EUSTIS about ALOT of things here is an example:

1. When he got to Germany his new Command asked where his family was.. EUSTIS said NO CONCURRENT TRAVEL this is BS because other soldiers are getting it we weren't even offered it even when my husband asked about it..
I was perfectly fine flying over with FIVE children myself after my husband.. flying without him wasn't an issue it would of been nice to have some help though.yep not even mad about that...

Other military bases/Posts are referring to Ft Eustis as Fort Useless because of the misimformation your soldiers recieve in AIT in reguards to PCS-ing overseas, EFMP, Transportation..everything...I don't want people saying my husband is less of a soldier or stupid because he graduated from Ft Eustis my husband Graduated Honor Grad & we are a very proud life long military family my father as well as his ..I am not going to bad mouth an enitire military post because of one bad apple..I could of went all Army wife drama on the FB page I have to much respect for the Army to do that I just want this to done and over with.

I have been very tolerant of the crazy EFMP lady & I have done everything I was told to do I don't know if she is over worked, short staffed, just absolutely hates Army families, wives, her job or whatever..

At this point I am now sitting here waiting to hear if it get past this Mrs Shoemaker person & even if it gets sent to Command for approval according to Ms Jarret she doesn't know if it will make it through because of the 5888 form condition & the fact that I went to an AFB..I am not asking alot but maybe a job station shift for Ms Jarret or maybe a refresher course I don't care. My paper work was submitted via fax & email on April 16th 2010 on April 20th 2010 Ms Jarret was able to view the fax & medical records online I would like my Command Sponsorship to be done in the estimated at most 1 month time frame that I was told about I would like to be in Germany before July 2010...After all the Army is suppose to be family friendly can someone help me get my family back together again..because the Army made the hoops & I jumped through them..


To Whom ever is in charge;

I have been patient & I have been polite but today I am hitting my breaking point. My husband was informed during in-processing in Germany that because EUSTIS did not make his orders concurrent or deferred we are losing our BAH..Now not only has EUSTIS screwed us in traveling over at the same time because of that woman & the EFMP hold up now because the uninformed/misinformed/or the I don't care people their at EUSTIS once again did not do what they were suppose to do I have to figure out how to pay rent & bills here at home plus fund my husbands expenses in Germany..

I have heard about this so called Overseas briefing that they got in AIT the SGT or whoever did it gave the guys going to Germany NO INFO at all at one point my husband asked about command sponsorship & he was told he didn't need it because his orders said DEPENDENTS YES on it..then transportation there tells him that is BS and he should of already applied for it..
next when he went to one of the SGT and asked how do I go about doing command sponsorship the SGT replied I DON'T KNOW!!!!
When he started going around & getting things going for the EFMP he was asked by one of the SGT's why are you doing that now??? Your briefings are not providing the necessary information or being given to the soldiers by an informed person. I believe a female sgt did my husbands briefing and he said it was 5 mins long and they learned nothing...They were not told how to PCS, they were not told how to get command sponsorship...

I have NEW ARMY WIVES contacting me from AIT at EUSTIS asking ME how to do command sponsorship because their husbands are getting NO HELP or INFO from SGTS at EUSTIS...PLEASE I am begging you make some changes move briefings up to as soon as they get overseas orders ARMY FAMILY FRIENDLY right? I could of flew over with my husband instead I am flying over EVENTUALLY with FIVE CHILDREN MYSELF!!! My Husband is in Germany and his NEW COMMAND is working on trying to CORRECT the MISTAKES EUSTIS MADE but EUSTIS should be busting its TAIL END to FIX THIS!!!

If this isn't FIXED soon I will not be so EUSTIS ARMY FRIENDLY..It seems like everyday my husband is getting questioned in Germany about how or why EUSTIS didn't do this? or That? So I am putting this to you WHY isn't EUSTIS taking care of these things before you send the soldiers out to their first duty stations?
Not so patiently awaiting a reply

Currently Eustis has done nothing still waiting for a reply to this email to them..
However new Command in Germany is working on there end to correct all the issues & then work on getting us CS approval