Saturday, February 4, 2012

Life After Basic: Tech School


I'm currently in that in-between waiting process: it's a lot closer to normal life than basic training, where you were basically cut off from your loved one, but you still aren't able to talk to them whenever you wish. Distance is typically still part of the equation, which makes this time difficult (although I don't think it has been nearly as bad as the BMT time period!)

My husband is currently at Sheppard AFB, TX where he is training to become a crew chief of KC-135's. The most exciting part of tech school (for me) has been finding out where our first assignment is. From the moment your hubby leaves for basic, people are immediately asking you where you are going to be stationed - you yourself are probably even wondering the same thing. There are many Air Force bases throughout the world; for a complete list, please visit here.

My husband graduated from basic on October 28th and was shipped off to Sheppard to begin his tech training the following Monday (they really didn't waste any time). The new Airmen live in dormitories, much like college, and attend class each week day. They are allowed off base and to have their own vehicles. The amount of time required for your Airman to complete his tech school training will depend on what job he has been assigned. My husband's was 4 months, but some trainings can last for up to 2 years. There are options available to spouses who wish to move to wherever their Airman's tech school is. I chose to stay where I was, move back in with my parents and work. I viewed the basic through tech school time period as a great opportunity for me to start taking some online classes - after all, I was virtually free of distractions with my other half a thousand miles away!

The Airmen are allowed to have their own belongings from the before life at tech school. I ended up bringing down a small rolling suit case of civilian clothes for him at graduation, and once I was home I mailed him a pretty hefty package which contained his Xbox and games, controllers, laptop, an Ethernet cord. If you are shipping things like this - insure your package! The price you pay is worth the peace of mind! Also keep in mind that the Airmen are allowed to have their vehicles.

While my husband has been at tech school, he's been very bored, and I believe that is an understatement. His days are basically all the same and he hasn't met very many other guys that he clicks with - he spends the majority of his time playing video games and I am okay with that (better he get it out now than when we are living under the same roof again!)

We were informed of our first assignment location about the second week of tech school. During basic, your Airman creates his "dream list" of bases he would like to be assigned. To put it quite frankly, do not think that just because you do or do not put down a base guarantees that things will go your way. We were initially told that we would be living in either Nebraska, North Dakota, or Japan! Come to find out, our first assignment is Macdill AFB, FLORIDA!

Once you have been informed of your first assignment and have pinned down a rough guess of a tech school graduation date, it's time to start planning the move.

43 comments:

  1. Hey, I have a quick question. I booked this job and ship out soon and was wondering what options are available for my wife to move to tech school?

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    1. Brian, the first thing you are going to want to determine is the length of time you will be at tech school for-just to make sure the move would really be worth while. You should already be getting paid BAH so you shouldn't need to worry about money aspects of the situation. I'm sure they would let her move into billeting, but I don't know that you would be allowed to move in with her. Let me ask Hubby once he is home so I can get the specifics for you-I'm almost certain you will attend a briefing informing you of all of you and your wife's options. Thanks for the comment and talk to you again soon!

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    2. Alright, here is what I found out for you: You will be paid BAH for whichever state your tech school is located in. That being said, your wife will have to move herself down there (no movers will or can come unless it is paid for out of your pocket). If your tech school is longer than 20 weeks, you will be allowed to move out of the dorms and in with your wife. If you have any other questions once you reach this point, it would be best to contact your MTL. Feel free to give your wife my e-mail address and let her know that if she needs ANYTHING whatsoever do not hesitate to contact me. Good luck to you and your wife as you begin this wonderful journey in the Air Force. Thank you for your service!

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  2. I think you are awesome to do this! My Hubby just left June 5th and is in BMT right now at Lackland. He will be shipping up to Sheppard after he graduates for tech school for a crew chief of the F-16. Not sure how long he will be there but our home is only 2 hours from Sheppard. He will then get out to Luke AFB in AZ for a month or so before coming back here. Do you think when he is allowed a PMV that he will be able to come home on weekends?

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    1. Sorry for the delay in response - for whatever reason your comment got filtered into my "junk" folder :-/
      I'm not sure what you mean by PMV?

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  3. Ok, so my bf is in the airforce BMT right now and does not know his assignment right now he has completed his first week and some change, we plan to get married as soon as he can get a loose to do so, about when will this be? And how soon into tech school can I visit him, he called today and while I was super happy it hurt to say goodbye I'm just lacking information because everytime I think I figure something out he says that I'm wrong so I just need the up and up on the situation thanks

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    1. You could get married after graduation - they have town passes that allow them to leave the base. You could also wait until he is finished with tech school, or visit him while he is in tech school (although you will not be able to stay with him and I am not 100% sure if he is allowed to stay with you in a hotel).

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  4. They have pages on Facebook that could help. AFWM & Airforce basic military training. Anyway there are a lot of people on those who might be able to answer your questions. They have been very helpful on BMT. :)

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  5. hey my husband is in his 7th week of bmt and he is also going to shepherd afb. im wondering when hes done with tech school am i gonna be able to live with him again?

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    1. I'm not sure what you mean exactly, but once your husband has completed tech school, he will receive his orders which will tell him where he needs to be and by what date he will need to report. If you are married, you guys are kind of like a package deal :) You can essentially go with him wherever he goes (with the exception of some TDYs and of course deployments). Hope that helps!

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  6. Hi! My boyfriend is in the process of joining the Air Force. We are both very excited for what our future holds. We are at a point where marriage is getting close. Now he has been told he would most likely go to basic in May. He would like to get married before then. Coming from another point of view, would it be a better (more smooth) choice to set the date before, or perhaps after graduation (because I know he start school that Monday). Also, do you know how schooling for spouses work? If I took a semester off, would it be easy to go back in a different location?

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    1. My husband and I got married right before he left for basic training. It really helped with things at home since the pay and benefits are nice. Plus when he gets his first orders it'll be easier to be able to move with him right after tech school. Not to mention being an Air Force wife is an amazing feeling. I'm so proud of my airman!

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    2. My fiance graduated bmt jan 3 2013. And let me tell you, I'm in the middle of planning our wedding while he is at sheppard afb and it is so hard. The most important thing is that you are his wife. I waited because I wanted a wedding and now it complicates everything. The move the planning EVERYTHING. I wouldn't rush anything but if you know you are ready. I would get married before he leaves because trying tofigure out the how and when and the cost of a move wwithout him here is beyond difficult. Hope this helps:)

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    3. I would definitely marry now if ur positive this is wat u want. Trust me its not easy. My fiance and I are in the same predicament he grad bmt jan 3 2013 and is now at Sheppard afb. Trying to figure out the hows and whens of our wedding is beyond difficult. Not to mention the move will cost us since we were not married before he received his orders for his first duty station. It will make things a whole lot less complicated and more beneficial if you did it before heleaves or the weekend of his grad while on townpass. Hope this helps :)

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    4. To kind of piggy back on what has already been said for you, Hubby and I married a matter of a few months before he left for basic and I feel that it was one of the smartest decisions we ever made, and I will tell you why:

      Firstly, as just a "girlfriend" or "boyfriend," you essentially aren't really truly recognized by the Air Force as much of a relation to your Airman. You are the equivalent of a friend, which in the AF's eyes is more the less a good for you type thing that doesn't get you any special privileges. Next, BAH and separation pay are a SIGNIFICANT amount of money! If you are not a spouse, your husband is considered to be a "single" Airman, which puts him through all sorts of unnecessary hoops including dormitory living and automatic forfeiture of his BAH and cost of living allowances. The Air Force also will not pay for anything related to you and your husband's needs as a COUPLE unless there is an official, certified certificate of marriage somewhere in the picture. Your husband won't have the option to move off base and out of the dormitories until he is of a certain age/rank or married. The Air Force will not pay for you to move. The Air Force will not pay for your housing or cost of living.

      The stress that your fiance will be going through during BMT and tech school are unimaginable for those who haven't been through it. Although I felt that my wedding was a tiny bit rushed and had my doubts, in looking back I wouldn't have changed a single thing. Being a spouse versus just a fiance has allowed me to really be there and support my husband throughout this entire process to the fullest capacity.

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  7. My husband is at Sheppard afb in Texas and is currently waiting to get his orders. His graduation date is coming up in early march and we're in fear of how long it might take to get them. He does have his assignment, however. I was just wondering if it was normal to get orders last minute or how long it could possibly take.

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    1. The military in general is a world if last minute decisions :) As long as you guys know where you are going, I'd recommend starting to make some sort of a game plan as soon as possible - look into base housing, call and see what the waiting list time looks like, research surrounding areas and see if living off base might be the way to go even if it is only temporary. Ask your husband to get a pickup date arranged with the movers, start getting all of your things together and organized for what you will NEED left out for the few weeks you will be living without the rest of your things. Research and plan out your projected route from your current location to wherever your husband is being assigned and plan out stops for each night (if needed) by researching areas with low crime rates, etc.

      It seems like orders tend to take their sweet time in coming, but keeping yourself distracted and getting a general plan and all of these little details taken care of will not only keep your mind off of worrying, but it will also help to make your first PCS a lot smoother. I hope that helps and best of luck to you!

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  8. Do you know how phasing works now? One place I read said that during Phase II Airmen still have a curfew on weekends, cannot go out in civvies, cannot go more than 25 miles away from base, etc. - but my Airman is saying that after two weeks he's going to phase up to ATP and I can come down and visit and we can go up to an hour away from base, he can be gone from Friday at 1700 until Sunday at 1700, please bring him regular clothes, etc.

    Was what I read online outdated info?

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    1. I personally have no idea. I would ask your Airman to double check any information he thinks he saw/heard with his supervisor especially before you take all of the time off/spend the money to visit him!

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  9. Hi everyone, i was wondering if someone can give me some info as to getting married during tech school my fiance graduates bmt mar 21,i cannot go because of high risk pregnancy im due 4-28-13 we want to get married during tech school sheppard but dont know how to do that im in il. Also we have two other children hes claiming as dependants does he get bha just for them since we are noy married yet? Or not at all

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    1. The only real way that I have heard of that you are able to marry by distance is through proxy - essentially your fiance will assign someone to stand in for him at the courthouse during the signing of all necessary documents.

      From my understanding, unless there is a legal document stating that your husband has custody of your children 51% of the time and since the children are currently under your care, he would not receive BAH. The only real exception here (I believe) is if he was approved to be living off base (which he wouldn't be since he is neither married or of rank), he would be able to collect single BAH. Things are pretty black and white as far as marriages in the military go - they really don't make exceptions for people living together or who already have a family. They, simply put, want to see the piece of paper saying you are legally married or not. Sorry I don't have more favorable news for you :(

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  10. hello, so my fiance is going to bmt on may 15. we plan on marrying before he goes in because afterwards he will go to tech school for 10 months in sheppard afb in texas. our concern is, will i have to stay here and wait for his 10 months of tech school to be over with before i can live with him? i have asked plenty of air force wives and all have said, if his school is longer than 6 months i can go with him. but after reading some of these post, have i been hearing wrong? I been thinking that the air force WILL allow me to go to tech school with him and they will also allow us to live together... am i thinking wrong? please no rude comments, i am going to be new to this air force life so im still learning.

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  11. So long as you guys are married, the 6+ month rule for moving to his tech school location applies. However, the cost of this move will not be the responsibility of the Air Force.

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    1. they wont help us with the move, but they will help us with housing cost right? would we only be allowed to live off base or if available, will we be ale to live in base housing?

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  13. I just found your blog and I am so happy I did! My boyfriend and I will probably be married at least a month before he ships out to basic training. (which we still don't know when that will be :/). I will definetly keep reading and come back to this when he leaves :)

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  14. So happy to have found your blog! Right now I am completely stressing out. My fiance is currently in AIT, we were suppose to has been stationed in Ft. Riley, Kansas, but today we got shocking news, his stationed was changed to... K Town, Germany. I'm trying to figure out if getting married here in the states would be better? Or waiting till I finish up school then head up to Germany and get married. To be honest I'd like to finish up school here in the states, but get the paperwork done here because it would be a little less of a hassle then in Germany. So that means, we would be married, but I would stay behind, and he would head up to Germany without me for a while, until I finished up school. Then I would head to Germany. My only concern is, would the military still pay to get me up there, or would my fiance have to take leave and come to the states to get me and it would be out of our pocket. Another thing is, even though my fiance would be married and no longer consider single, would they still put him in the barracks because I am not there or would he get the chance to get a house on post and get everything settle so that when I finish up school I can just head up there and everything would be settled in.

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  15. I leave for Basic in August and me and my girlfriend want to get married after I graduate from basic and with her being 1 year behind me in HS we are waiting till she graduates. Her main concern and mine as well is her going to college. If we get married when would she be able to get instate tuition in a state outside of the state she and I currently live? Also how soon would she be able to apply for things like air force aid?

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  16. hi my husband has plans on goin to the air force.. which im very excited and cant wait .. but i have a question .. how after the training n tech school can i go n live with him with our two children?.. and will we be living on base with him?

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    1. If his tech school is 6+ months, you can choose to move with him. If his tech school is less than 6 months, you would move with him when he receives his first assignment.

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  17. This post is so helpful!! My boyfriend is at Lackland AFB for BMT, and he's graduating in 3 weeks. He told me I could bring his clothes to graduation, but I was skeptical. So I googled it, and I ended up here. Thank you for sharing!!

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  18. What to Air Force wives do while their husbands are at work? Can they work on base? Off base? Go to college?

    Thanks in advance!

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    1. Absolutely anything their heart desires! For example, I work full time and go to school online. I could certainly go on base if I wanted, or I could drive up to Canada just for the heck of it. As a spouse, you are not in any way bound to the Air Force itself directly.

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  19. So my husband left this past Tuesday to Lackland AFB and hes going for a PJ in SpecOps. Idk if his nerves and emotions got the best of him but he told me he doesnt want to do PJ anymore. Is that possible for them to change their job during BMT or do they have to wait and if after BMT can they still do it before starting that specific tech school?

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    1. The fact of the matter is--and this has absolutely nothing to do with you or your husband personally--the PJ training program is among the most elite in the entire US military. The odds of any recruit with the desire to make it through actually accomplishing that feat are extremely slim to none; I am sure you can find the percentages and statistics some place on that. Of the dozen or so guys who work with my husband, half of them were going to go through PJ training, but none of them made the cut.

      I hate to say it, but the military is not a a-la-carte career buffet that you get to pick and choose from. The military will put you where the country needs jobs to be filled, and that's that. Sure you can cross-train, and there are (like I mentioned) instances where trainees don't even make it through the first day of training, let alone the entire program, but with joining the military you are told what you would excel at based upon your pre-enlisting testing, and that's that.

      Best of luck to you both!

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  20. my fiance is actually in Sheppard for tech school as well. next weekend, i will be able to go see him and we are going to go get our marriage paperwork situated. He has been told that in January he will be going to JAPAN! im more than excited to go. But the question is, will i even be able to go? i know it has to be certain amount of time for me to go, will he be able to request more time in japan to make it possible for me to go? Im prepared to attend online college so long as i can stay by his side. PLEASE help!

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    1. There is absolutely no reason why you wouldn't be able to go...as an American citizen alone so long as you have your passport, you're allowed to travel wherever you please. The real issues is going to be whether or not the military reimburses you for YOUR travel or not, which I really honestly am not sure how long it will be. If he has received his official orders already, I understand that they won't add an addendum to include the spouse if it was something that happened after the fact, but this would be something that he would need to investigate around with his supervisors at school about.

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  21. My fiancé is leaving for bmt soon. We have been discussing getting married before he leaves or wait. I am wondering if anyone knows if theres a time frame you cant get married before he leaves? We dont want to get married before he leaves if us getting married is going to mess up his ship out date. Hes been through 3 recruiters and his newest told him he doesnt know since he didnt handle his paperwork so he is waiting on a phone call back from his 2nd recruiter.

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  22. My bf just left for basic this past tuesday. I was wondering while in tech school are they allowed to have cell phones and laptops. I would love to call and skype my love as much as possible. His tech school will be in California. Oh and my name is Rachel also, great name! Lol

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  23. So my boyfriend and i have been planning on getting married he just recently graduated BMT. And now is in Shepard AFB should we wait until he gets his first duty station or after?

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  24. I have a question. My sisters fiance is leaving for BMT. Once he gets out of tech school they plan on getting married. They want to live on base wherever they go but sh has a criminal record, nothing major but I didn't think they could live on base, but I don't know. I'm just doing some research for me. Any comments would be great.

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  25. I have a question also! Me and my fiancé was planning getting married after tech school, can I go with him after we get married to his first job?

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